Ever notice that there are practically no window manufacturers that do NOT say their products are “quality” products. Yet, we all know -- many of us from real, personal experience -- that not all windows that supposedly are quality products actually are.
So, how does the consumer know which window products are truly quality products. And, what exactly IS quality. Whose definition of quality should be used? Maybe the manufacturer’s definition is that a quality window operates as it was designed for one year? Or that the exterior frame won’t fade in three years?
Let me throw out a few ideas about window “quality” here, and I welcome comments and discussion on these points. First of all, in terms of time, I believe quality products should provide “decades” of reliable service, not just a few years.
I also think “performance” is a valid measure of quality. In terms of windows, that means a window must offer excellent energy efficiency – again for decades, not just during the first year or two. A well-made window will have the integrity to maintain its original energy efficiency for decades.
Integrity in terms of all aspects of the window is critical. The frame and sash surfaces must hold up to constant use, cleaning and time! They shouldn’t mark or scratch easily, and they shouldn’t begin to fade within a year or two. Most homeowners don’t even realize that, like anything else, there are different grades of frame material. Not all vinyl is the same. A high-grade vinyl material is smooth and nonporous under the microscope. Dirt collects in the pores of poorly made vinyl and the frames and sashes begin to deteriorate and look dirty after a few short years.
Don’t forget the hardware. If latches, handles and locks break or become difficult to use, you are not looking at a window that was made with quality in mind.
You may already know that sometimes you can’t always tell a good quality window from a bad one when you’re looking at samples in a sales presentation or showroom. You can’t even always go by Consumer Reports, which rates only the windows of the largest manufacturers. Plus, although CR is a fine organization, it doesn’t actually test windows over time – and time is the real test of a window.
So how do you know if a window is a good one? With the vast amount of information available on-line, start your research on the internet. See what homeowners and even window and remodeling professionals are saying about manufacturers and the products they make. Ask others you know and trust – especially friends and family -- what their experiences have been with window they’ve purchased. Not only will you learn which products to consider, you’ll also learn which to avoid. You will also want to learn as much about windows in general as you possibly can. There are some very good manufacturer web sites – yes, gorell.com is one of them -- that provide a wealth of information about windows. The more you know, the better you’ll be in a position to make the right buying decision.
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