When to Replace Builder Grade Windows

Published December 17, 2021
Style Line Windows close up white
Lake Washington Windows & Doors Favicon

Lake Washington Windows

Windows are a key part of any home, and they play a major role in both the appearance and functionality of the property. While most homeowners may not think about their windows too often, it’s important to keep them in good condition so they can continue to serve their purpose. In some cases, this means replacing builder-grade windows with more high-quality windows. Here are a few tips for knowing when it’s time to make the switch.

What type of windows do builders use?

Contractor-grade or builder-grade windows are typically less expensive and less durable than other types of windows. They’re often made with lower quality materials, and they may not meet the same energy efficiency standards as more expensive options. While they may be appealing to a homeowner looking to save money, these windows often fail to provide the level of comfort, energy efficiency, and noise filtering that homeowners expect in their home.

How long do builder grade windows last?

Contractor-grade windows and most builder-grade windows typically last for around 10 to 15 years, but this can vary depending on the quality of the windows, the type of weather they’re exposed to, and how well they’re maintained. What’s more, if a bad installation caused them to fail early on, you might not be able to get the same performance out of them once they’re replaced. Unfortunately, it is inevitable, builder-grade windows fail over time too.

Common signs of failure

When you have failing builder-grade windows or see that your old windows are starting to show signs of wear and tear, act quickly and find a window replacement company to help install a new unit. In general, it’s a good idea to start thinking about replacing your builder-grade windows if you see or experience the following:

  • Water spots that don’t clean
  • Drafts are more apparent
  • Noise levels have increased
  • Seal failure
  • Entire window malfunctions
  • Energy bills increase

If you’re not sure whether it’s time to replace your builder-grade windows, get in touch with a window replacement expert for advice. They’ll be able to assess the condition of your windows and give you a better idea of what needs to be done. When considering new windows, research higher grade windows, triple pane glass, and how to avoid poor installation techniques. To avoid costly go-backs, always hire a professional and experienced window contractor.

What is better than new construction windows?

If you’re replacing your builder-grade windows or new windows, you have a number of options. One option is to replace them with the same type of window if they’re still available. If they need to be completely replaced, there are two main types of windows: custom windows and replacement windows.

Custom windows are unique because they’re designed specifically for your home. A replacement window, meanwhile, is a standard type of window that’s built to fit multiple sizes and designs of homes.

Replacement windows are generally less expensive than custom windows. They’re also easier to install because they come with the hardware needed to put them in place—custom windows require more specialized tools, which can increase the cost. Renewal windows are available in a range of styles, materials, and colors.

Substitution windows also offer more features than custom windows do, like double panes or multiple panes to improve insulation. One drawback is that renewal windows generally don’t go above 4/12 roof pitch—custom windows can be installed on steeper roofs.

If you’re looking for a more energy-efficient window, a replacement window is probably your best bet. Talk to your window replacement specialist to find the right style and material for your home.

Clean family room with white leather couch and large windows

Is there a difference in window quality?

Window quality can vary greatly, even among substitution windows. It’s important to do your research and ask lots of questions before you decide on a window replacement company for your house.

Look for a company that has a good reputation and offers a warranty on their products. They should also have experience installing windows in your type of home. Ask to see examples of their work, or if they have a showroom where you can see the windows in person.

Replacement windows are generally considered better than custom windows because they’re easier to find, purchase, and maintain. If you decide to install renewed windows in your home, make sure you do plenty of research beforehand so you know how to pick the right type for your needs.

Benefits of upgrading to premium windows

You might have noticed that builder-grade windows are often made from low-quality materials. Because of this, they’re more likely to break, leak, be loud, and age poorly. Replacing them with high-quality premium windows can help you save money in the long run.

Premium replacement windows are made from materials like vinyl or fiberglass. They’re often treated with a coating that protects them from the sun’s UV rays, which can cause damage over time. Vinyl and fiberglass windows are also resistant to rot, rust, and other types of weathering. High quality windows often have multiple layers of glass, protective coatings and laminates, are quieter, and have a very complex design that increases energy efficiency.

If you decide to replace your builder-grade windows with premium windows, you might be eligible for a federal tax credit. Replacement windows qualify for a $200 tax credit in 2021.

Puget Sound Energy also offers a $50 rebate per window when you upgrade single pane windows to energy efficient double or triple page.

Should you order replacement windows now or wait?

You will get the maximum benefit by upgrading windows as soon as possible, because you only start realizing the benefits from the moment they are installed. Remember, low-quality windows/glass can lead to higher energy bills, hardware failure, broken seals, and only last a few years. Homebuilders will choose windows based on several different factors. When you want to maximize profits/ROI, more attractive curb appeal in your brand new home, choose the best windows or upgrade options available in your budget. This helps avoid issues with faulty locks, an elevated energy bill and so much more for homeowners.

If you decide to install replacement windows in your home, make sure you do plenty of research beforehand so you know how to pick the right type for your needs. Always avoid lower quality windows, inexpensive windows/glass, an unknown window manufacturer, low-grade materials, and be sure to research the most common complaints about your selected product. A new window should come with all the appropriate hardware, glass, frame, and built-in insulation. Companies like Lake Washington Windows and Doors will recommend at minimum two panes of glass and will have the certified technicians needed to get your windows installed properly.

Lake Washington Windows and Doors Logo Black

Written by Lake Washington Windows

LWW October Offer 2021 - No Payments Until 2023 0. Down 0 Interest 0 Payments

  • Free Window Consultation

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Explore Buying Guide & Windows Articles

AAMA Window Certification Explained

AAMA Window Certification Explained

We all want the best for our homes and we all want to know that what we buy is going to last. AAMA stands for American Architectural Manufacturers ...
Window Locks 101: Styles, Grades, Fit

Window Locks 101: Styles, Grades, Fit

One way to increase security in your home is by using window locks, latches, bars, or hasps on closed windows. It’s important to know which type of window ...
When to Replace Builder Grade Windows

When to Replace Builder Grade Windows

Windows are a key part of any home, and they play a major role in both the appearance and functionality of the property. While most homeowners may not ...