One of the first things to consider is the warranty. Not only what it covers, but also for how long. Since we mainly do residential, that is what we will focus on since commercial usually as a completely different warranty. Often times Window Manufacturers have anything from 10-20-year warranties and even a few have a lifetime warranty on Low-E and seal failure. Those are the two most common problems that can affect your glass, while seal failure is easy to spot (looks fogged up), Low-E failure is a little different but easily seen from the outside as it will have a color change, much like oil on water. And YES, I have seen this happen in Brand NEW windows.
The next thing is repairing if something does go wrong, for example, one manufacturer has a code on every window which you can call and give the code and they will send out a replacement part, while another locks up ALL replacement parts and you have to use their provider. Personally, I prefer windows that your local handyman can fix if needed or the home owner themselves. In the ‘mechanical’ side of the warranty, check with the company and see what exactly is covered, as couple companies will cover this as well.
So you’ve picked your brand, you’ve picked a date for installation, now what. ALWAYS inspect! And don’t make the mistake of testing the window and calling it good. Go outside and look for that color change (low-E failure). Also inspect with certain angles of light. Light scratches can and Do happen, these can be hard to see till later down the road. Check to make sure they are secure in the frame and the operation is smooth. A poorly installed window will be tight and not work properly. Check the caulking, both inside and outside (if needed).
After all of that, the most important thing is to enjoy your new view! But don’t forget to maintain that view. With new windows your going to want to keep them clean. Although we do recommend hiring a professional with the first few cleanings, as this will help remove fabrication debris which can scratch the glass if not cleaned properly. It is important to mention, that ALL window companies have a clause in their warranty that does not cover damage caused by fabrication debris In fact this can void all warranties. Written by James Long with Innovative Glass, Knoxville,Tn.