10 Questions to ASK
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Get informed before you request an estimate
At AMSCO Windows, we feel that providing you with as much knowledge as possible about windows is the best way to a satisfied customer. So before you meet with a windows sales person, arm yourself with these 10 important questions. If they are not prepared to answer these truthfully, you’ll know what to do.
Q1. Are your windows certified by AAMA and NFRC?
- Are your windows certified by AAMA and NFRC?
- Is your vinyl formulated for the harsh Western climate?
- How are your windows assembled?
- What do you use for your vinyl window reinforcement?
- How many chambers does your vinyl have?
- What warranties do you offer?
- Are your installers trained or certified?
- Are your installers insured?
- How long will it take for my windows to arrive?
- How long will it take to install my windows?
Make sure the windows you purchase are certified. The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) has produced standards for vinyl and composite window construction that are certified by independent testing laboratories. These specifications are very technical and deal with issues concerning durability and safety. Windows must be constructed using certified components, such as high quality vinyl or composite material, glass, weather stripping and hardware. For more information on the AAMA standards and what the certification stickers look like, click here.
Windows and doors are also certified by the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). As a non-profit organization, NFRC administers the only independent rating and labeling system for energy performance of windows, doors and skylights. Energy code requirements for windows and other glass products in residential and commercial construction began in the 1970’s. For more information on the NFRC ratings and what the certification labels look like, click here.
All AMSCO windows and doors are certified by AAMA and NFRC. In fact, AMSCO meets or exceeds the criteria involved in the certification process.
Q2. Is your vinyl formulated for the harsh Western climate?
Not all vinyl is formulated the same. Western climates with arid deserts and high altitude where the sun can be more damaging can cause lesser vinyl, or vinyl formulas designed for the East Coast, to yellow or degrade. Lesser quality vinyl allows more of the sun’s UV rays to pass through the vinyl which attacks the chemical properties of the vinyl causing deformation and color shifts.
AMSCO Vinyl: Less light penetration
Other Vinyl: Too much light coming through
By using a specific blend of materials, AMSCO’s vinyl is formulated to meet the intense demands of our region. AMSCO uses color-stabilized vinyl to prevent discoloration and keep windows looking new. In addition, AMSCO field-tests all its products for quality in an independent desert testing facility to ensure its vinyl formulation can stand up to the extreme elements of Mother Nature.
Q3. How are your windows assembled?
There are two basic methods for assembling vinyl windows: mechanically fastened and fully welded. Both types of assembly can pass the rigid testing as outlined by the AAMA specifications.
Fully welded construction takes advantage of the chemistry of vinyl. AMSCO’s vinyl windows are mitered and fusion-welded, creating an airtight seal that prevents air and water infiltration.
Mechanically fastened vinyl windows are assembled by using screws, brackets and caulk at the corners of the sash and frames. Because vinyl windows have hollow chambers for energy efficiency there is not a lot of material to hold screws. Connections can loosen or fail during the trip from the factory to your home. And, as we all know, caulking deteriorates over time allowing in air and water, defeating any gains in energy efficiency.
With composite windows, where the frame material has a solid core, AMSCO uses wood-type joinery methods. Mortise-and-tenon sash and tongue-and-groove frame corners provide structural strength emulating the look of a wood window.
AMSCO mortise-and-tenon sash corner
AMSCO tongue-and-groove frame corner
Other composite materials, such as fiberglass, require additional support in the corners, known as corner keys, in order to stabilize the window. Extra precaution is needed during transportation and installation to prevent connections in fiberglass from loosening.
Q4. What do you use for your vinyl window reinforcement?
AMSCO uses extruded aluminum reinforcement in all its windows’ meeting rails. When the size of a window is over five feet, additional aluminum reinforcement is used. Some window manufacturers may use steel inserts. However, if the steel is not fully encased, your vinyl windows may actually start to show the rust.
Q5. How many chambers does your vinyl have?
Quality vinyl windows are constructed using frames which have multiple hollow chambers. The different chambers help prevent the passage of heat through the frame. As an exterior chamber is heated, it must overcome the next chamber’s temperature before it can influence the temperature of the following chamber. AMSCO’s vinyl windows are constructed with three or four chambers of varying widths.
Colors represent the different insulating hollow chambers
Q6. What warranties do you offer?
Warranties can differ greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer. Be sure to ask to see the manufacturer’s warranty for the products you have selected. AMSCO is proud to stand behind its products by offering you a Lifetime Warranty which covers any defects in materials or workmanship for as long as you own your home. For further information on AMSCO’s Lifetime Warranty, click here.
Q7. Are your installers trained or certified?
The money you invest in quality windows can be compromised by poor installation. Poor installation can cause air and water to leak around the windows, make operation of the window difficult to use, prevent locks from engaging and cause weather stripping to not seal properly.
Dealers should follow manufacturers’ recommended installation procedures. Ask your dealer about their installation training program or if they use certified installers. Ask about the program and the company behind any certifications. While other certification programs are available, AMSCO Windows offers certification classes to its dealers through InstallationMasters™, the training program developed by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA).
Q8. Are your installers insured?
As you know, we live in a society where lawsuits are everywhere. Contact your insurance agent prior to your remodeling project and discuss what insurance risk you may be taking on. You may be liable for any injuries occurred on the job or any damage caused to your home during installation. Ask your insurance agent about what levels, if any, of liability and workers compensation insurance coverage your dealer and/or installer should carry.
Ask for copies of the insurance certificates from your dealer/installers to prove coverage and get all promises in writing. If your window dealer relies on sub-contractors for the installation make sure that they are covered under the dealers’ insurance or prove that they have their own insurance.
Q9. How long will it take for my windows to arrive?
The length of time from order to finished installation includes many variables. This timeframe could take anywhere from 2 weeks to 12 weeks depending upon the complexity of your order, inclement weather, installation lead times, etc. Your dealer should provide you with a typical timeline that you are comfortable with and agree to.
A typical process starts with your signed agreement with the dealer. Your order is then sent to the window manufacturer to build your windows. The manufacturer builds and then ships your windows to your dealer. Upon arrival, your dealer will schedule your installation date.
AMSCO is proud to offer one of the best lead times in the industry when it comes to building windows. AMSCO’s highly efficient manufacturing facility will build and ship your windows to your dealer in a timely manner that won’t negatively impact your overall timeline provided by your dealer. From order entry in AMSCO’s production system to ready-to-ship—can take as little as 5 business days. Some dealers will pick up your windows at our will-call dock while others may receive an AMSCO truck daily or weekly.
Q10. How long will it take to install my windows?
A typical AMSCO window can be installed in about 2-3 hours. However, it depends on the installation method, the extent of any prep work and finish work around the windows as to how long your installation project will take.