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Window Replacement Contracts

What Is An Estimate?

An estimate will typically offer a single price, a generically described product, a color and no options. This is traditional and legitimate. But it isn’t consumer-friendly.

What Is A Proposal?

A proposal is a tentative agreement for a project. It offers a choice of products by brand name, prices, services and even designs. Many other provisions may also be included such as change order conditions and financing options. The homeowner should expect three product choices. These could be presented in the typical range of good, better and best. Appropriate product literature and samples should also be offered. In conclusion, a proposal is consumer-friendly.


Most contracts for window work are simple and straightforward. The larger or more experienced contractors may have longer, more detailed contracts. Regardless of the form of the agreement, you should read all of the specific items in the contract carefully.

Code/Ordinance Compliance

 Will they be observed? Are permit costs included? Who will obtain the permit? What about provisions for posting zoning notices? Have inspections been planned?

Product Choices

Have you been offered a choice of good, better, best windows? Are they identified by brand and manufacturer name? Is there a clear reference to the warranty which will cover the windows to be installed? Is the manufacturer’s name for the window you are buying stated in the contract? Do you understand the difference in the aesthetics from one window manufacturer to another (including not only color but also style, glass options, grids, lock colors and handle styles)?


Start and stop dates are difficult to pin down due to the unpredictability of the weather. But you can control exceptions. For instance, negotiate a “no-later-than” clause. Be reasonable, but do make it clear that these terms will be enforced if necessary.

If early completion is important, offer an award for completion by an early date in addition to a no-later-than clause.


This clause establishes a time period in which the homeowner can cancel the contract without penalty. Some states require such a clause in contracts. Check with your local authorities.

Three days is usually the time period given for a right-to-rescind without penalty. If the homeowner cancels the job after the right-to rescind period has elapsed, then the contractor may request a certain dollar or percentage value of the contract in return.  This is especially true with custom made windows that cannot be returned, if you cancel your job after your windows have been ordered from the factory.

Payment Terms

Schedule, terms and method of payment should be written out fully with no room for misunderstandings.  It is customary for a replacement window contractor to ask for a deposit, typically 25%, to cover the cost of the materials up front.  Another payment may be negotiated at the start of the job, with the balance due upon completion.

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Energy Efficient Windows

Double-Pane Windows

You will look at many types of double-pane windows, and when you compare types of glass and gas fill, it may seem at first like they are all the same. However, all Energy Star windows have different degrees of performance.

The National Fenestration Rating Councilis a non-profit organization which ratesEnergy Star windowsaccording to the following features: 1) Solar Heat Gain Coefficient – How the window blocks or keeps out heat. The lower the number better, which shows less solar heat is transmitted through the window. 2) Visible Transmittance – How much natural sunlight is let in. In this case, the high numbers are better. 3) Air Leakage – Represents how much air passes through the small joints and cracks in the window. Here, the low numbers are better. 4) Condensation Resistance – Shows the window’s ability to resist condensation (water build up or fogging). For this, the high numbers are better.

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When To Replace Your Windows


Replacing a damaged, warped, or broken window sash or frame is almost always preferred to attempting a repair. Even if the windows are still operable, they can develop problems. Do your windows fog up? Are they drafty? Do they stick when you try to open or close them? Do they refuse to stay open? If your windows are communicating in those ways, they’re telling you to replace them.

Reduce Your Energy Bill

Windows provide some heat in the winter by letting in sunlight. But drafty windows can cause your energy bills to be about 10% to 25% higher, according to Energy.gov. Replacing your windows with energy-efficient ones can reduce your heating and cooling bills. Bonus: If you’re considering listing your home for sale, those new windows — and the resulting energy cost savings — can be a big selling point.

But don’t assume all windows are the same; it’s important to consider your specific needs. One factor? Your location

Home Makeover

Windows are one of the most prominent features of a home, and if they look worn, your house will too. Look to see whether the color is fading or the window material is warping, or whether old screens or storm windows detract from the curb appeal of your home.

Post-Severe Storm

If you live in a hurricane impact zone or another area prone to severe weather events, you’re probably prepared for the possibility of damaged windows. In fact, just living near the coast can do a number on your home’s exterior, including your windows.

Renovating Historic Home

Maybe you moved into a historic home that suffers from vinyl replacement windows that detract from the home’s historic charm. The wrong window can dramatically change the overall look of a historic home and can even interfere with its integrity. If your goal is to install historically accurate replacement windows, a company that can handle custom requests should be your go-to.

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