Windows are one of the most expensive investments a homeowner can make. Whether you’re building a new home, taking a hard look at the condition of your existing windows, or considering getting your windows replaced, it’s worth it to understand your window warranty completely. Many homeowners spend thousands on new windows — you want that investment protected. Your window warranty is what keeps your investment safe, and your windows in their best possible shape. So, what exactly should you be looking at in your window warranty, and how do you know if your window warranty is good?
Key Features of A Window Warranty
Every window warranty will be different depending on who manufactured and installed your windows. Even different windows from the same manufacturer can have vastly different window warranties, which is why it’s so important to understand what a window warranty means, and what you need to be looking for in yours. Here are a few key things to look for when you’re reading any window warranty:
Complete Warranty or Lifetime Warranty
This is the best possible type of warranty, as it means the manufacturer will cover every component of your windows for either the lifetime of the windows or for a specific period of time. Look for 20 years if you can find a complete warranty, but 10 or 15 years aren’t bad either, as complete warranties are hard to come by.
Limited Lifetime Warranty
Most windows from reputable manufacturers come with a limited lifetime warranty. It’s important to know that “lifetime” doesn’t mean your lifetime, but rather the lifetime of the product. For this reason, it’s always good to ask the manufacturer or supplier exactly how many years the manufacturer considers to be a “lifetime” for the windows you’re purchasing.
Typically, a limited lifetime warranty will cover any defects that affect the aesthetic or performance of the window. For example, some window manufacturers advertise the durability of their window’s exterior finish. If the window was to flake or chip, within the parameters of the limited lifetime warranty, the manufacturer would likely replace the window for you.
It’s also good to note that when it comes to a limited lifetime warranty, most manufacturers won’t cover labor. So while they’ll replace the defective part or window, they won’t cover the cost of having the new one installed.
What’s a Good Limited Lifetime Warranty?
Well, it depends. Typically, you want to go by the number of years. High-quality windows can be warrantied for as many as 15 years or more, so it’s a good idea to look for something between 10 and 20 years. That said, if you find a window warranty that’s slightly shorter but that offers more coverage, those benefits could be worth the trade-off.
A warranty on installation or a labor warranty is separate from the warranty on your windows themselves. Take a look at your window warranty to see if the installation or the installation labor is covered. Some manufacturers will provide a warranty on the installation of the window, usually so long as the windows are installed by one of their accepted installation professionals. Otherwise, whoever you’re having to install the windows should offer a labor warranty. This aspect of the warranty will cover any damages due to poor installation. Let’s say the installation crew missed a nail on one window or forgot to caulk one side of a window, and you notice the window is leaking. The labor warranty will work to get that issue fixed.
What’s a Good Labor Warranty?
Most window installation companies will only cover labor for a few years. Five years is the best you’re likely to see, but quality manufacturers with a labor warranty will guarantee the labor for at least a year.
Glass Breakage Warranty
A glass breakage warranty covers you in the event that the glass in one of your windows breaks. If you’re investing in high-dollar widow units that cost a few hundred dollars each, it’s worth it to choose a manufacturer who does offer a glass breakage warranty. That said, not all manufacturers offer this type of warranty. This is a component that’s slightly more difficult to come by, but well worth it if you can find it.
Hardware & Moving Parts
A warranty on the hardware and moving parts of a window will cover items like the locks, the sliding and unlocking parts of a window, and just about anything else that moves. You’ll most often find these types of window warranties on windows that don’t have complete lifetime coverage, because otherwise, these pieces wouldn’t have to be called out individually. Most often, small working parts of windows are the first to go, which is why manufacturers offer coverage for them. If one of these parts breaks during the warranty, the manufacturer will either replace the part or the window unit — whichever makes the most sense for your situation.
What’s a Good Window Hardware & Moving Parts Warranty?
If your warranty has a specific hardware & moving parts warranty, look for at least five years of coverage. If you can get more, that’s great, but manufacturers will typically only consider these parts “faulty” at the fault of the manufacturer, for the first few years.
A coastal coverage warranty is fairly common, especially for manufacturers who do a lot of work in coastal areas like Florida, the Carolinas, and more. Since these windows are likely to face greater wear and tear and are occasionally installed in hurricane zones, some manufacturers will offer a special warranty, and it’s not always in favor of the homeowner. If you live less than a mile from an ocean or a body of water that is controlled by tides, you might qualify for the coastal coverage warranty, which isn’t always as good as the general limited lifetime warranty.
The last key thing to look for in any window warranty is its transferability. Transferability refers to your ability to transfer your window warranty to the next homeowner. This is especially important if you’re renovating or fixing up your home to sell. If your warranty isn’t transferable, that means any damage that happens under the new owner will not be covered. When you’re looking at windows, be sure to look for warranties that are fully transferable, so you don’t have any problems if you decide to sell your home a few years down the road.
Are There Any Examples of a Good Window Warranty?
If you’ve made it this far, you’ve absorbed quite a lot of information. We know that product warranties aren’t the most exciting topic, and they can also get a bit confusing with all of the different components that are or aren’t covered. If you’re looking for a quality window brand you can trust to offer a decent warranty, here are a few good options. We’ve provided a short summary of their window warranties, but you’ll want to visit each brand’s website and read through the entire warranty yourself for the complete picture.
North Star Windows and Doors
A leading manufacturer of vinyl windows and doors, North Star Windows and Doors offers one of the most comprehensive warranties on the market. Here’s a quick breakdown, but be sure to visit their full warranty page for more information.
North Star Window Warranty
- Transferable to a second owner
- Lifetime warranty on white window frames and sashes
- 20-year warranty on interior and exterior colored laminates
- Lifetime warranty on window hardware
- Limited lifetime warranty on Super Spacer sealed units
Known for their innovative, architectural windows, Marvin Windows is a leading manufacturer of wood windows, though their vinyl options are equally as impressive. Since wood weathers slightly differently than vinyl, Marvin’s window warranties are more dependant on the exact series of windows you invest in. That said, here are a few key points of their warranty, and a look at their complete warranty for Signature, Elevate, and Essential Collections here.
Marvin Window Warranty
- Fully transferable warranty
- Glass component coverage for up to 20 years
- Non-tempered glass up to 10 years
- Exterior cladding covered for 20 years
- Interior wood finish warranted for 5 years
- Interior aluminum finish warranted for 20 years
Andersen Windows and Doors
Another household name for windows, Andersen Windows and Doors has been providing exceptional products and services to clients for more than 115 years. As can be expected, their warranty is part of what’s made them such a consumer favorite over the years. Andersen Window warranties will vary depending on the window series you purchase. Here’s a brief overview of the warranty for their 200 and 400 series, with the complete document linked here.
Andersen Windows & Doors Window Warranty for 200 and 400 Series Products
- Completely Transferable
- Limited warranty on most glass components for 20 years
- Non-glass components warranted for 10 years
- Non-glass components of wood windows warranted for 5 years
Still looking for windows with the best warranty? Look no further! Zeeland Lumber & Supply carries windows from the best brands out there, all with extensive warranties that protect your investment. Additionally, Zeeland has a full time service team that offers a 1 year warranty on labor for any windows bought through them. If its time for you to invest in windows for your new or existing home, get in touch or stop right into one of our showrooms to look at the options that might be best for you.