Replacing your home’s windows is one of the smartest, most beneficial upgrades you can make. Not only does it help reduce your utility costs by creating an extra layer of energy efficiency, it returns a massive value to your home and makes the exterior look prettier as well.
The Complications of Window Replacement
On the surface, window replacement is a straightforward and relatively simple process. You take out the older, inefficient, and uglier windows that adorn your home, and replace them with newer, better versions. Simple, right?
Unfortunately, the process is a bit more complicated than that. For one thing, not all replacement windows are the same. There are hundreds of variables to choose from, including different brands, different lines, different materials, and different styles.
On top of that, you have to decide on the best contractor to install them. How can you be sure you’re making the right choices?
How to Avoid the Classic Decision-Making Mistakes
The first thing to remind yourself with regard to window installation is that there aren’t any objectively “right” or “wrong” decisions. Every homeowner starts with a unique set of circumstances; you can only qualify your choices based on how appropriate they are for your particular circumstances.
Accordingly, the biggest potential decision-making errors have little to do with your final choice, and everything to do with how you ultimately arrived at that decision. Most homeowners end up making at least one of the following mistakes, so try to prepare yourself to avoid them at all costs:
- Not doing the research. It takes time and effort to do research, but it’s almost always well worth the effort. How can you possibly be sure you’re making a good decision when you aren’t even certain which brands of window are available? During the early stages of your decision-making process, you should be learning all about the basics of window installation, including how your old windows should be removed, how new windows are installed, and which components of new windows are the most worthwhile to consider. Get this information from unbiased sources, and don’t take shortcuts — really learn this stuff.
- Trusting someone else’s judgment. This is your decision, so don’t let yourself be goaded, bullied, or influenced by someone else’s opinion alone. This can happen in a number of contexts; for example, you might work with a contractor who tries to convince you there’s only one “right” window for your home, or a family member might insist on telling you there’s a single, certain approach to your situation. It makes sense to gather and listen to outside opinions, especially professional ones, but at the end of the day, it’s your decision.
- Rushing the decision. It’s understandable to want the process to be over as quickly as possible, but that’s no excuse to rush it. This is a major upgrade to your home; it’ll cost you thousands of dollars and might last for decades. It’s not like choosing which candy bar you want in a supermarket aisle. Don’t be afraid to take your time, weigh your considerations carefully, and avoid making a move until you’ve fully explored all possible options.
- Assuming that all windows are the same. Even after doing your research, you may be tempted to think that all windows are largely alike. This is an especially easy error to make if you’re upgrading from seriously old windows because literally, any window would represent a massive step up from what you’ve been living with. However, windows vary dramatically in terms of their materials, brand, workmanship, and design. There are hundreds of options for every budget, so you’re doing yourself a disservice of you lump them all together into a single category.
- Picking a window based on price alone. Sure, price is almost always going to be a prime consideration, but it certainly isn’t the only one. Even if you have a strict upper limit to your budget, it’s usually possible to arrange a financing plan for replacement jobs that reach beyond that budget. Because window replacement is such a high-ROI investment, it can be to your long-term advantage to spring for a little extra and avoid the need to upgrade your windows a second time in another decade or two.
- Not knowing your main goals. There are several good reasons to upgrade your windows, from improving your home value and the aesthetics of its exterior to reducing energy costs. If you don’t know what your main goals are in pursuing a window upgrade, how can you possibly choose the right windows for your home? Think carefully about what you’re truly after.
- Upgrading for the short-term. There’s only one scenario where it’s okay to upgrade your windows for a short-term consideration: when you’re about to sell your home. Even then, the strategy remains questionable. In any other scenario, it’s far better to invest in the windows that have the greatest long-term payoff; we’re talking decades here.
- Failing to consider aesthetics. To a functionalist homeowner, the aesthetics of a window may seem beneath notice, but remember, you aren’t the only one who will necessarily be looking at it. Windows that have a better design and aesthetic value will help your home fetch a better sales price when you’re ready to move.
- Going with the first contractor you find. Your selection of contractor is important; you’ll want to secure a fair price, ensure responsive communication, and find someone accountable enough to get the job done right (and reliably). Shop around to find different prices, and by all means, don’t hesitate to ask for references.
Try to avoid committing any of these decision-making errors when deciding on replacement windows for your home. Remember, there’s no right or wrong answer, but you have to make yourself as informed as possible if you want to end up with a set of windows that are appropriate for your property, your budget, and your goals.
If you’re ready to begin looking for quotes, or you just need more information to make your final decision, don’t hesitate to contact us at Lakeside Exteriors today. We’ll be happy to help you make the right decision for your home.