Your Window Warranty, Explained
It can be difficult to understand what your window warranty covers. So whether you’re buying new windows or having trouble with your current ones, it’s good to know your options.
Be aware that each manufacturer words their warranties in a different way. Use this guide for a basic overview of your warranty, but resort to your manufacturer for specific language.
Different Types of Window Warranties
A typical window warranty covers all parts of a window for a specified timeframe. Coverage often includes all moveable parts and materials, glass packages, and errors caused by professional installation.
But most window warranties only cover manufacturer defects. For example, if your window won’t open or shut after a year, that may be considered a defect and be protected. On the other hand, if you knock the glass out of the window with a baseball, that’s not a defect and may not be covered. Also, if you modify the window in any way, it can void coverage.
Most lifetime warranties cover all replacement parts – aesthetic and functional – for a predetermined time. The manufacturer determines the length of a lifetime warranty, with typical ranges being 3-15 years.
Limited Lifetime Warranty
A limited lifetime warranty means coverage is limited. For example, some manufacturers may only offer warranties for aesthetic pieces of the window and not cover the glass.
Most limited lifetime warranties range from 3-15 years, depending on the manufacturer.
A transferable warranty can go to the next owner if you sell your home. These warranties sometimes have provisions, only covering a fraction of replacement costs for non-original owners.
Double Lifetime Warranty
As it sounds, this type of warranty covers windows for double the amount of time as a standard lifetime warranty. So, if the standard lifetime warranty covers replacement window parts for ten years, a double lifetime warranty will cover them for 20 years.
Prorated Provisions within Warranties
No matter the type of warranty you have, check for prorated provisions. Some manufacturers decrease what they’ll cover over time.
Here’s an example of a prorated warranty:
- Years 1 -5: Warranty covers 100% cost of replacement parts
- Years 6-7: Warranty covers 75% cost of replacement parts
- Years 8-10: Warranty covers 45% cost of replacement parts
Most installation issues are covered within a specified time frame if you use a manufacturer-approved installation company. If you installed the windows yourself, installation errors aren’t covered.
Check for a contractor’s warranty if an independent contractor installed your windows. Most contractor warranties offer workmanship protection for one year.
Home Warranties and Window Replacement
Most home warranties don’t cover replacement windows. Instead, these warranties cover home appliances, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems.
Window Companies with Top Warranties
It’s impossible to say which company has the best warranty because it depends on the line of windows. For example, expensive high-end windows often come with the longest-lasting warranties, and a budget-line window may have a less comprehensive warranty.
Here’s a rundown of window warranties from the biggest manufacturers. Please note that a manufacturer can change their warranty, so check before purchasing.
Andersen Windows Warranty
The Andersen Window Warranty varies based on the product line. Here’s a look at the warranty for their most popular window: The 400 Series. (The warranty also covers the 200 series windows and doors.)
The 200 and 400 Series come with a limited lifetime warranty. The Limited Lifetime Warranty covers the glass package, divided lite grilles, and Finelight grills to be free of manufacturing and workmanship defects for 20 years.
Non-glass parts, including the lock, sash, hinges, handles, insect screen, weatherstripping, exterior trim, and frame members, are warranted from manufacturing defects for ten years. Non-glass pieces with wood exteriors are warranted for only five years.
Windows USA Warranty
Windows USA doesn’t put their complete warranty information online. But, they have a warranty form on their website, stating they cover seal failure on the glass, accidental glass breakage, and bent screen frames.
Champion Windows Warranty
Champion is a full-service vinyl replacement window company that offers a limited lifetime warranty on all its products. The warranty covers all parts of the window, including parts, glass package, labor, and installation.
Pella Windows Warranty
The warranties for Pella windows depend on the frame type. Most of their lines carry a ten-year limited lifetime warranty on non-glass parts and a 20-year limited warranty on glass. But specifics vary, so check warranty brochures before purchasing.
How to Choose the Best Warranty
There’s a lot to think about when window shopping and a good warranty is essential if you’re worried about longevity. When getting quotes, ask the salesperson to explain the warranty to you. The warranty for double-pane and triple-pane glass is often longer than a window’s frame and moving parts.
And even though wood frames are one of the most expensive materials, the warranty on wood pieces is often shorter than on vinyl or fiberglass since wood can rot if not well maintained.
In addition to reading through a warranty, check the company on the Better Business Bureau website. When customers have problems redeeming warranties, they often file complaints.