New windows will make your home more energy efficient, reduce noise from outside and increase the value of your property. However, it is one of the most expensive renovation projects you can undertake, so researching product quality and installation costs is key to feeling good about your investment.
Jim Sully is the founder and CEO of AB.EST Window – American Made, Beautiful, Energy Efficient, Powerful, and Time-Tested. They have offices in South Portland and a manufacturing facility in Scarborough. They’ve been in business since 1985, and since they offer a comprehensive 20-year warranty on their windows, he knows the quality. According to Sully, these are the questions you should ask when shopping.
Where are the windows made and who will install them? Knowing these answers will help you manage your expectations about delivery times, feel confident about what your windows will look like, and work when your project is finished. National manufacturing companies often use subcontractors to install their windows. As the only Maine company to provide end-to-end service, from consulting and measuring to manufacturing and installation, AB.EST takes responsibility for every step of the process.
Does the company have a showroom or offices? In a world where so many purchases happen or start online, having a realistic experience is more important than ever. Seeing a physical space and asking for customer references are more straightforward ways to learn about a seller’s reliability than reading online reviews.
How long will the installation take? Custom-made replacement windows should take a day or two to install. New build-style windows only come in stock sizes and can incur unexpected costs for carpentry, interior trim, exterior trim, stucco, sheetrock, and paint.
What is the guarantee? Don’t even think about installing a brand new window without one. Reputable brands should offer a 10-20 year warranty, either as a manufacturer’s warranty covering parts or a blanket warranty that covers parts and labor.
What is the classification of windows? The American Association of Architectural Manufacturers rates windows on a scale of 15 to 60. Quality products should have a certification label on them, or you can ask the seller for documentation that shows the pitch of the window.
Will these windows reduce my energy bills? Row 60 windows are the best in Maine’s changing seasons. Low-E climate control glass reflects radiant heat back to its source, inside and out, so it helps keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Surround insulation is just as important as the window itself. The AB.EST process uses sealants that eliminate the need for storm windows.
Can I clean the window from inside my house? If you’re doing the work yourself, you’ll want something easy. Most advanced windows allow you to tilt both strokes to easily clean glass surfaces from the inside; No dangerous stairs or corners required.
Will you make my house quiet? If you live on a busy street, replacing some of the windows facing traffic can make all the difference. The double pane windows have argon gas between the glass units. Argon is heavier than the air we breathe, so it helps dampen sound from outside.
Am I pressed to buy it now? Jim Soule has excellent advice when shopping for anything expensive – avoid the hard sell and don’t get caught up in the great price that ends up quickly. “It’s the Maine way: Get three quotes, and then go with the person you feel most comfortable with,” he said. “I don’t mind if people come to see us first or last.”
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