The replacement window industry is very competitive and it is not difficult to find an abundance of window companies in a large city.
For something so common and universal, replacement windows can be a real mystery for the average homeowner. A replacement window is a strange thing, with very few parallels elsewhere in the house. As the name suggests, it is a window that replaces your current window, but not on an individual basis. What you remove (the old window) is not completely replaced by the new window (replacement window).
When you delete your old window, you only delete the sash and a few other related parts. You do not remove the entire window that was originally installed by the house builder. It is difficult to remove every piece of material from the old window, so that part of it remains attached to your house.
Even if the replacement window is not the same as the original window (also called a new build window), it works in the same way. If it is a double-hung window, it slides up and down. If it’s a casement window, it swings in and out. Even if the replacement windows are smaller than the originals, they usually work better.
It is usually obvious that you need to replace your windows. However, the high cost of replacing windows can cause homeowners to postpone this project year after year.
Replacement window companies fall into two categories. Firstly, you have purely local businesses. These companies may favor a particular manufacturer, but they usually have several manufacturers to choose from. Secondly, you have the franchise or corporate operations, such as The Home Depot, Pella, Andersen or Empire. These larger operations can offer you a variety of manufacturers, but more often they offer their own brand (for example, Pella will install only Pella windows) or a preferred house brand.
Remember that when shopping for replacement windows, you are buying both windows and installation companies, even if they fall under the same umbrella.
Consumer Reports is a good source for evaluating the performance and quality of windows. For general information on the energy ratings of windows, visit the website of the National Fenestration Ratings Council (an industry-supported lobby). You can check Angie’s list or similar contractor review and referral sites for contact information and ratings for local window companies and installers.
The replacement window industry is very competitive and it is not difficult to find an abundance of window companies in a large city. As in many areas of home improvement, sellers can mislead about the amount you can save by replacing your windows (thanks to energy savings), and not all companies are completely honest with their estimates. It’s worth doing your homework and shopping around. A few tips can help you get started: