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Windows: Why Product Quality is Important

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For many, buying a home will be the most expensive purchase of their lifetime.

Whether you're buying pre-owned or building your dream home, you've got to carefully consider the products and components that go into the structure. Now, we aren't just saying this because we're the Window Geeks – the right windows and doors truly make a huge difference when it comes to comfort, efficiency, energy bills, and even resale value.

Consider your product choice an investment in your home and its longevity. When you look at things that way, you realize that cutting corners to save a few dollars isn't worth it, and that applies whether you're planning to sell up or stick around and make it your home for life. It can even be worth phasing the project if that means you can get quality windows that will do their job properly. You can look at windows like any other consumer product – there are grades that range in terms of both quality and affordability. We've seen increased demand for vinyl windows, and that has translated to a significant increase in manufacturers offering various product qualities, including some where the word quality doesn't apply at all...

Here are some questions to ask when choosing the right windows for your project:

What are the vinyl frames made from?

Not all vinyl is created equal! There are two main types: newly-made (Virgin Vinyl) or re-ground (recycled vinyl). Virgin vinyl trumps recycled vinyl, because...

  • There will be no discolouration issues over time
  • Contains lower amounts of VOC’s (volatile organic compounds)
  • Offers better impact-resistance and increased dimensional stability
  • Can be safely recycled/repurposed later in life
  • High stability as the construction materials are simple: just vinyl

What’s in the window?

When you cut a vinyl window frame in half, you'll immediately notice the thickness of vinyl as well as the structure of the frame. The thicker and heavier the vinyl frame is, the higher the quality and performance you will experience. Multi-chambered heavy vinyl frames of 2.2mm or greater offer added strength and help to prevent the frame from sagging. Manufacturers of high-quality windows can also add steel to further strengthen oversized prodcts. A multi-chambered frame will result in superior thermal break efficiency, but it’s important to realize that it may cost a little more upfront, with energy and cost-saving benefits showing throughout the life of the window!

How are the window frame's corners?

The corners of a vinyl window can tell you a lot about the quality. A good quality frame will have fusion-welded corners. By welding the corners together, just like welding metal, the result is an impenetrable joint that maximizes energy efficiency. Good corners will also have the excess vinyl from welding removed. As a consumer, you should ensure the window corners are not simply screwed together or chemically welded as these methods will break down over time, resulting in reduced performance and maintenance or even early replacement costs.

Will the product function well?

There are a few hardware-related items to focus on when determining a product's functionality. If you’re looking at sliding windows, brass rollers offer a smoother glide over their plastic or neoprene counterparts which are typically found on lower-quality products. Metal locks will also hold up longer and be more secure than plastic locks.

If you prefer casement windows, roto-cranks are important. A folding handle will not interfere with your blinds and it offers a far cleaner look. The internal gears should also be metal as opposed to plastic, which tends to strip prematurely. Remember, you’ll use these features every day so it’s important to consider these options and get them right.

What type of glass is in the windows?

All windows, as enforced by law, come with LoE coatings. These coatings either reject heat gain or encourage it depending on the time of year, and getting the right ones is crucial to making sure your home is as comfortable as possible without requiring the use of A/C or heating all the time. Sealed units using double or triple LoE coatings with argon gas can meet or exceed local code requirements and offer EnergyStar ratings. 

Does the company have a good warranty?

As consumers, we need to understand that companies close down for various reasons or there can be changes in ownership which result in the voiding of all warranties. Any company can offer a lifetime warranty regardless of how long they have been in business – but how many actually stick around to see it through? Find a company that you're confident will be around in 20 years to ensure your investment is sound. Take a look at online and third-party reviews, the overall direction of the business and its performance, and the fine print in their warranty. Lifetime warranties that are “limited” or “pro-rated” are not what they appear...

Centra Windows is proudly 100% Employee Owned, meaning the ownership structure is constantly renewing, everyone must be an employee to own shares, and no one person (even leadership) can own more than a certain amount of the company and sell it off. This, along with the company's rapid expansion, gives customers the peace of mind of knowing that we'll still be around to fulfill their warranty if anything needs looking at 15 or 20 years down the line.

We often get hung up on the upfront costs without considering how good a product is and how long it will last. If you lose 25% or more in energy costs on a cheaper product, you will need to add that cost onto the initial cheaper price as well as your monthly energy bills for however long the windows lasts – which may not be nearly as long as it would have been if quality was the number one priority in the first place. As Benjamin Franklin said, “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of the low prices is forgotten."

We Are Your Certified Window Geeks!

We love to talk windows! We’re here to help, so if you have a question about your window project all you have to do is reach out. Contact us early in the process so our experts can make sure everything is correct from the get-go.

For more information on this topic (and many more!) contact our local Employee Owners at 1-888-534-3333 or drop us an email at Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to learn more about what's happening with Centra Windows. Join the club and become a Window Geek yourself by signing up for our newsletter, which provides news, advice, and tips about the window industry and upcoming events, and test your window knowledge by following us on LinkedIn.

Written by: Windows Geeks
Updated by: Les Ferris , July 30, 2021
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