All homeowners have to face the day when a window replacement becomes a necessity. Since you’re reading this, your time has probably come and you’re looking to find best window contractor for your home renovation
Over the decades working with hundreds of contractors, we’ve seen some good contractors and some that really shouldn’t be in the business.
Here’s a list of 10 important questions you SHOULD be asking before hiring your next window contractor to ensure you get the most bang for your buck.
1. What guarantees can you give me on these windows?
It takes careful planning, research and budgeting to be ready for your home renovation.
You want a reliable and trustworthy contractor who knows the ins and outs of the business and can deliver on time, with the highest quality. And most of all, you wouldn’t want them to rip you off with crazy rates!
To solve that problem, you’ll want to know that your purchase is backed and guaranteed to give you what you expected. Essentially, guarantees communicate the company’s commitment to stand behind the product or service they provide.
It could come in the form of a 30 or 60 day money-back guarantee; a guarantee on service/quality that if they don’t deliver, they’ll credit money into your account; a 24/7 customer support guarantee, amongst many others.
For example, at Sapphire windows, we provide the longest guarantee available in the market – 10 years! And we have a 100% satisfaction guaranteed policy, meaning we’ll do whatever we can until you are satisfied with your windows.
2. What certifications does your company hold?
The first certification you should be looking for is the ISO-90001 certification. It is an internationally recognized certification which ensures the quality of products and services of a company.
ISO 9001 certification requires the training and development of staff. Also, it provides the necessary tools for them to do their jobs such as procedures, instructions, and metrics. With this cert, you’ll know your contractor has got what it takes.
The second certification is the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) registration. In Singapore, all windows must meet a minimum performance standard and contractors must be adequately trained and tested. As most would know, regulations in Singapore are strict, so it’s to your advantage to get a contractor who’s licensed by BCA.
bizSAFE is also another accreditation that reliable companies would hold. This certification ensures the company practices workplace safety and health. Best practices are adopted, precautionary measures are put in place, and with each staff passing the audit, accidents and mishaps can be avoided.
When buying energy-saving windows, you’ll want to know it really works right? So it only makes sense that you look for a contractor that is certified by the Singapore Green Building Council! Eventually, all buildings in Singapore are moving towards the green initiative, hence, do think ahead and plan for our future, together.
3. Are your installers trained?
Windows are tricky to install and require expertise. Falling windows, cracked glass, broken hinges, damaged walls…these will be a nightmare for you.
We believe that this is your property and you should never compromise on your safety.
This is our standard:
At least one team lead should have a professional window installation certificate.
New personnel begin training with the team lead by learning…
- Basic window cleaning
- Window protection (applying protection tape properly)
- Cutting the window profiles
- Screwing the steel into the profiles
- Installing locksets and hinges
- Applying beading in the glass
- How to cut the glass and handle the glass
- How to handle welding machines
Only after all these trainings, do we allow new personnel to go for on-site training.
During the on-site training, the team lead watches over them while they practice.
- Safe window removal
- Hacking windows
- Bracket and wallplug installation
- Applying sealant
- Installing the outerframe
- Installing the sash/innerframe
- How to polish the windows properly
Even after they have finished this training, all window installers have weekly in-house team trainings with the team lead.
We are very strict on safety, discipline, and accuracy. Because it’s your property and we care about you and you deserve the best window contractor for your home renovation.
4. Is there a showroom where I can see your products?
You’re going to have these windows in your home, protecting you. Shouldn’t you have the right to see for yourself the different windows available, have a feel of how the windows work and understand from the company if it’s a good fit for you?
If the contractor does not have a display of the products, it should sound an alarm. Are they hiding something from you? If they have no samples, how reliable are the products?
Rather than blindly spending money with a company and taking that risk of receiving a low-quality piece, it’s always a good idea to test it. Online 3D rendering images aren’t good enough.
Take a car showroom, for example, you wouldn’t buy a car without seeing it in person and taking a seat inside. Why should windows be any different?
5. Can I customise my windows?
Customisation plays a huge part in ensuring a long-lasting set of windows.
Choosing the material isn’t the only benefit of custom windows. You’re able to get the perfect size to fit your window opening.
Having any gaps between the wall of your home and your window frame allows water leakage and unwanted heat to enter, which will hurt your home’s energy efficiency.
You can customise the size to however big or small you need, you can customise the glass type to whatever your needs are, you can even customise the handles and locks according to your preference.
House faces the sun and it gets too hot? Customise!
House is along a bustling road or near the airport and it gets too noisy? Customise!
Have children and pets whose safety you need to ensure? Customise!
Need a little more privacy, yet want to enjoy ventilation and light? Customise!
This is your home, your windows should suit your needs. Customising your windows should be a basic need that your contractor should satisfy for you!
6. What is the warranty on the windows, and does your company offer additional warranty coverage?
It is important that you buy only from companies who offer comprehensive and long term warranties on their products. Of course, you should compare different brands, the prices, the product range and the warranties they offer.
Many window installation companies and contractors don’t offer warranties. But when they do, their warranty is generally for a year. And that’s a problem!
Because most window issues start cropping up only AFTER a year, and when they surface, it gets bad. By that time, you’ll be frantically scrambling to find a fix.
When there is an installation problem – and no installation warranty – the cost of repairs can end up costing more than the windows originally did. Avoid this with warranties.
7. What’s does my estimate include?
You know the common phrase, “read the fine print”? In this case, what if there’s no fine print to begin with?
Understanding what is and is not included in your window estimate goes a long way in preventing any unpleasant surprises when you receive your final bill.
Imagine your windows quotation is $5000. Super cheap right? But for delivery, you pay an extra $300. Now they’re at your house and they tell you if you want your old windows removed, you pay an extra $800. And then you’re told, there’s another $800 charge for installation. And suddenly you realise the windows can’t move. To make them operable, an extra $500.
Obviously, this is an exaggeration, but you get the idea.
A reputable business should be transparent about the costs that are included in your estimate, as well as what additional outside costs you should take into consideration. Everything should be explicitly stated in writing.
8. How long will the installation take from the time I sign the contract with you?
It can be worrisome to open up your home to unknown people for an unknown amount of time. Furthermore, you need to know how to arrange your day or even your week.
The contractor’s experience will play a huge part here. Poorly organized contractors could delay the delivery process with the manufacturer and you’ll be stuck waiting.
Depending on their responsiveness and whether they keep in touch with you, your project time may also vary. So be sure to set some rules on touching base, updates and basic timelines for deliverables.
Do you live in a one storey, two storey, or three storey house? How many windows do you need installed? How big are they? Are they all customised? These also play a huge role in determining how long the project will take. That’s because it takes longer to build and ship customised windows.
We would recommend that you talk this through with your future contractors so you can set reasonable expectations on both ends.
9. What references and past clients have you done similar work for?
One of the best ways to gauge a company’s performance is through third party reviews, recommendations and real-life references.
Any company can tell you how good they are and boast about what they can do. It would be foolish to trust them just based on those claims. The next time you approach a contractor or installation company, be sure to ask for case studies on projects they handled that are similar to yours.
Even if they have never done a project on the same scale as yours, it’s still a good opportunity to judge their work ethic and learn about their project operations.
Not long ago, we had our first request to build a 6m high door. It was HUGE and we were honest with them. We admitted that we had never done anything on that scale before. However, we did a mock up sample for the client to experience, which led us to clinching the job. Finally, we ensured the job ran smoothly and proved it with results.
Check out the cool story and see how we built it!
10. What if I have questions or need repairs after installation?
If your contractor provided good workmanship and conducted a proper installation, there should be no reason for repairs after installation.
But in the event that you might need help, make sure the company you are buying from is able to give you the support you need and are responsive to your requests. They should get back to you within 24h, whether it’s via email, call, text or an online messenger. That’s basic customer service standards if they value you, as a customer.
Because installation is just as important as the product, it is only right that you check, check, and check some more. Lucky for you, we did the dirty work so you can go right ahead and use this as a resource!
We hope our experience and insights will be able to help you avoid unpleasant experiences in the future with regards to windows installations.
Ready to talk about your new windows?
If it’s time to replace your windows, feel free to talk to Sapphire Windows. Ask us for a quote, visit our showroom to take a look at our entire product line, or even invite us to your home to take a look at your existing windows and offer recommendations.