If you encounter a problem with a door or window in your home, the first step toward resolution is to look at the warranty you were given when you purchased the product. Maybe the product is under warranty and you are lucky. You call the door or window dealer and in a few weeks your problem will be corrected. Sadly, it’s not always that easy so here are a few steps to navigating through the process.
After looking at the warranty, and determining if you are still covered, contact the company from whom you purchased your windows. The only exception to this is if the dealer is out of business then you could contact the window or door manufacturer.
What Happens to a Warranty When the Company Closes?
Many door and window companies were forced to close due to the dramatic housing bust around 2007 and the years following, and unfortunately these customers were left with no one to handle their warranty claims. Luckily for some of these homeowners, a few companies may handle a claim for products that aren’t even theirs.
“When I used to do workshops, etc., I always would ask manufacturers if they have replaced a window that isn’t theirs and I almost always had one hand go up,” window expert Mike Burk told Door and Window Market magazine in 2010. “I’m always amazed by that. It’s like taking a Ford to a Chevy dealer.”
“It just comes down to doing the right thing,” said Dave Koester, for Weather Shield Windows and Doors in that same article. “When people buy windows, that’s a huge investment whether it’s on a new build or a remodel. Certainly that customer will talk to people when the job is done and hopefully [the customer is] happy.”
It’s this industry mentality that attracted Chip Gentry, lawyer at Carson Coil, to begin working closely with door and window companies. He says it all comes down to consumer perception and who they remember when it comes to their window jobs.
“I routinely see [instances] where a company replaces an entire new batch of windows [in which] there wasn’t a problem with the product, but rather [a problem with] the way the windows are integrated with the project,” he adds.
Handling warranty claims is a partnership between the manufacturer of the window and door product and the dealer who sold the window to you the consumer. Start with the window dealer and if they are unable to help you could approach the window manufacturer as well.
How Long Do Warranties Last/Do They Transfer to New Owners?
The length of time a company stands behind its written warranty varies greatly. Many experts say 10 years is a minimal norm that many producers exceed. Still, warranty length is extremely variable within the market. In fact, you may have purchased a door or window that came with a lifetime warranty.
“It’s probably done more often than it’s not,” says Gentry.
Most manufacturers do transfer the warranty to the new owners if a house has been sold. Be sure to check the paperwork and ask this before closing if you are purchasing a previously-owned home.
A warranty of 20 years for glass is fairly standard (10 years for non-glass parts), but always check the fine print.
Following are a few examples of warranties from different manufacturers and different materials that are offered within the industry:
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