How to Vet a Potential Windows Contractor During a Phone Call

In recent interviews with Modernize, 90 percent of homeowners requested a checklist to help them find and vet contractors. One of the most important steps of that process is your first phone call with a potential contractor, during which you will vet this contractor against the others you’re considering. While finding someone you feel comfortable talking to is significant, it’s not all an abstract exercise. There are some questions you should definitely ask during this phone call to be sure you’ve covered foundational bases before moving forward with a windows replacement contractor.

Use the question guide below and adjust it to your own circumstances to ensure you get everything you need from your windows installer vetting phone call.

How long has the windows replacement installer been in business?

Simply put, the experience is tantamount to good work. And window replacement is no exception. Years of experience could mean local expertise and technical knowledge that will elevate the quality of your installation or upgrade. Less experience isn’t necessarily bad or telling of a low-quality installation, but it does mean the rates and warranties should be lower, leaving you room to negotiate on pricing.

How much experience does the contractor have with windows installation or incentives?

When it comes to the quality and efficiency of windows replacement — which will determine the effect your project has on the increased value of your home — existing financial incentives could further increase your savings after installing windows.

Be sure to ask your contractor for an individualized assessment of your windows installation. A trustworthy contractor will examine your current utility bill and study the physical properties and opportunities your house presents — like local, regional, or federal financial incentives — to best save you money after installing windows for your home.

What is the windows installer’s project estimate — what happens if it changes?

Once you have an estimate of the project’s tentative costs and duration in your hands, you need to understand how it was conceived and what happens if anything in it changes. Be sure to get clarity on these details and don’t be shy to ask for an explanation if you feel you don’t fully understand something.

Agree that any unexpected project expenses will be presented in writing. Surprises, in other words, shouldn’t surprise you or your contractor, and they should definitely not surprise your investment.

Can the windows contractor provide a list of references?

While this windows replacement or installation could stay with you (or at least your house) for decades, it will also build, or continue to build, their reputation into a prosperous business. Ask the contractor for testimonials from past clients and don’t feel shy to ask for contact information so you can call those references yourself and get a take on what their experience was like.

Connect with trusted windows installation contractors in your area with Modernize. This is an important investment you’re making, and the more information you have about the company you’re giving your hard earned money to, the better.

Can the windows installation company provide proof of insurance for personal liability, worker’s compensation, and property damage coverage?

When home improvement projects result in accidents, windows installation contractors You want to rest assured that your contractor is fully insured for personal liability, worker’s compensation, and property damage coverage. Even with a clean slate of past accidents, it only takes one to harm your project’s outcome and, more importantly, your personal savings.

Warranties will also impact your quoted cost. Most installers offer manufacturer’s warranties that protect you from faulty equipment. Some might offer additional guarantees for the installation, as well, covering potential damage to your house. Be sure the quoted warranty is clear in what it covers—and in what it doesn’t.

The Modernize Contractor Checklist will help you vet a trusted contractor, so you can relax knowing your windows project is in good hands. You can access the interactive checklist by visiting the Modernize Resource Center or by Modernize Contractor Checklist.

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Laetitia Casta Unveils Printemps Christmas Windows

CORSICAN ZEST: There won’t be milk and cookies for Father Christmas at Laetitia Casta’s house.
“It’s a Corsican tradition — I put out a mandarin and a glass of red wine,” said the French cinema star, breaking into smile. “A bit of comfort after the difficult voyage.”
The Boucheron brand ambassador was on hand for a ribbon-snipping ceremony to inaugurate the Christmas windows for Printemps, along with the Paris department store’s director Paolo De Cesare and Boucheron chief executive Hélène Poulit-Duquesne.

Franck Banchet, Laetitia Casta, Paolo De Cesare and Helene Poulit-Duquesne. 
Stéphane Feugère / WWD

Before adding her touch to the annual rite of festivity and glamour on the Boulevard Haussmann, Casta reflected on the season from a velvet sofa several flights above the street.
“For me it’s an important holiday, even as an adult, I still want to believe in it,” she said. “I want the people around me that I love to be comfortable and happy – I make sure they have a wonderful evening.” The food, table setting and dressing up are central to her approach.
Notable memories?
First Christmas celebrations with her children.
“It’s pretty magical and reminds us of when we were little…it’s all the stories we tell during Christmas time,” she said.
“The best

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Detect Leaks and Caulk Windows

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, reducing the amount of air leakage in your home is a cost-effective way to decrease heating and cooling costs, improve durability, increase comfort, and create a healthier indoor environment. To prevent air leakage, homeowners can use caulk to seal, or reseal, their windows from the outside elements. Caulk is an affordable, flexible substance used to repair cracks and gaps less than 1-quarter-inch wide. This easy DIY task can save homeowners up to 14 percent on home heating and cooling costs, according to General Electric.

While caulking can be applied to interior and exterior of windows, it’s important to understand which window areas benefit most from this home improvement— and what areas should be avoided.

Detecting Leaks In Your Windows

Window leaks can occur when window seals are broken, or pulled away, due to aging or long-term weather exposure. Leaks allow air inside your home to escape. Drafts and rain can also seep into your home through the cracks.

There are multiple ways to detect leaks around your windows:

  • On the outside of your home, check the area where two different materials meet. This includes your window corners and frame.
  • Look for cracks in the window panes.
  • Examine the existing caulking and weather stripping. Make sure both are in good condition— leaving no gaps or cracks.
  • Give your windows a little shake. If they rattle, it is a sign that the frames are not secure and air is likely leaking.
  • If you can see daylight around a window frame, there is a leak.
  • Shut a window on a dollar bill. If you can effortlessly pull the dollar bill from under the window, the window is not airtight.

Types of Window Caulk

For one window, homeowners will likely use a half-cartridge of caulk. The U.S. Department of Energy shares the most common caulking compounds on their website, which vary in strength, properties, and price.

Applying Caulk to Cracks and Leaks

Once you’ve selected the best caulk for your home, follow these best practices:

  • Clean the areas to be caulked, and remove old paint or caulk. A putty knife, screwdriver, or even a rough brush can be used to help clean the area.
  • To avoid sealing in moisture, make sure the area is dry. It is best to apply caulk during dry weather with low humidity.
  • Apply caulk to all joints in the window frame, and the joint where the frame and wall meet.
  • Hold the gun or product at a 45-degree angle, and caulk in one continuous stream.
  • Make sure the caulk sticks to both sides of a crack.
  • If caulk comes out of a crack, use a putty knife or screwdriver to push it back in.

Special Concerns for Replacement Windows

Replacement windows are typically well-sealed, so interior caulking is often optional. Instead, homeowners should pay attention to sealant is around the frame, where the window fits into the wall opening.

Windows typically come in standard sizes, but when replacing a window, the wall is often altered for the new model. Sealing those gaps is vital to your home’s comfort and energy consumption. Talk to your window replacement contractor about any questions or concerns you may have.

Be Careful With Caulk

While it may be tempting to seal any and all gaps around your windows, windows require some ventilation to prevent excess moisture from accumulating.

Avoid caulking:

  • The window’s weep hole: This small hole at the bottom of the exterior frame in windows allows moisture behind the window to exit through the frame. If you plug this hole, you could cause mold or rot to grow unchecked.
  • Moveable parts: Caulking moving parts could seal your windows closed. Avoid affecting operable parts, like sashes in a double hung window.
  • Trimmed out windows that sit above the siding: This style is common in many modern homes, where the cladding is carried out to the edge of the window frame. For this design, it is not necessary to seal the joints. Doing so will harm your windows since trimming helps carry excess moisture away from your siding and windows.
  • Above the window frame: This is a spot to avoid, no matter what kind of window you have installed. This spot is known as a drip edge, and it helps usher rain and snow away from the windows and siding. Closing off this joint can cause moisture to become trapped behind the frame and the edge of the siding.

Here are some other helpful pages to help you through your replacement window project.

Best Window Brands 

Cost for Window Replacement

Measuring Replacement Windows 

Standard Window Sizes

Types of Window Frames

When to Replace Windows 

Window Glass Repairs 

Window Rebates & Incentives 

Window Replacement Information

Window Replacement Contractors Near Me



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How to Make Small Windows Appear Larger

If your home has multiple high egress or small windows, it can be difficult to leverage natural sunlight and distract from your interior design. Many homeowners have this struggle. Small windows are a frequent feature of homes built in the ’60s and ’70s. But like shag carpet, this trend is no longer stylish.

There are multiple options to disguise, reframe, and dress windows that can dramatically impact your home. Color, trim, and cleverly hung treatments can all improve a room with small windows.

Ditch the Dark Curtains and Shades

If you have a room with less-than-luxurious windows, you need to maximize the natural light available. Avoid dark curtains and shades, which can block out or absorb light. This can make your windows appear even smaller. Opt for sheer or light-colored curtains to let the light shine through.  

Manipulate Height and Width  

There is no hard rule about hanging curtains three inches above the frame. Create a floor-to-ceiling effect by installing long drapes just below the junction where the ceiling meets the wall. You can also add more width using a longer curtain rod, and hang the drapes at each end. Both effects play tricks on the eyes, making it difficult to decipher where the window starts and ends.

This tactic can also be used with blinds. Look for blinds that measure three to four inches longer than the window on each side. This technique is a great choice for odd-sized windows, especially if you want a material that can’t easily fit custom spaces, like woven blinds.

Add Embellishments to Moldings and Trim

Decorative window moldings, like an entablature and side casing, help add gravity to diminutive window styles. If Victorian is not your style, consider a wide Craftsman molding or flat, ranch-style casing. Both provide a more subtle and minimalist look that still allows your windows to pop.

Install Plantation Shutters Over the Window

Installing a set of tall, wooden interior shutters over a small opening fools the eye into thinking there is actually more space. Try this trick on very small windows where other window treatments wouldn’t work— like a basement access window or a small privacy window in a bathroom.

Play With Patterns

Horizontal stripes in clothing are not ideal if you’re trying to appear extra svelte, and the same principle applies to your window treatments. If you want a window to look taller, opt for long, vertically-oriented patterns that will draw the eye upward.

Want to make a window appear wider? Select horizontal patterns that will give that extra-wide, luxurious appearance.

Harness the Power of Mirrors

One of the biggest disadvantages to tiny windows is that they can put a damper on your room’s light. Reflect the sunlight you do receive by installing a large mirror beneath or across from the window. The glass reflecting the light tricks the eye into thinking that there’s more, creating a lighter and airier space than before.

Place Furniture Wisely

A small, high window can appear out of place without the proper furniture surrounding it. Placing a desk, hallway table, or bureau just below the window helps frames it and makes it look like the window is exactly where it belongs.

Paint Trim the Same Color as the Walls

Contrasting trim is a staple in most homes, but with smaller windows, painted trim can shrink the appearance of windows. Instead, choose a color that matches the wall. This will give your wall a more fluid, integrated feel. Without multiple elements breaking up the space, it will seem larger overall.

Purchase New Windows

You don’t need to settle for teensy windows in your home. Window openings can usually be expanded to accommodate larger models that will provide a wider, more expansive feel. Large picture or casement windows will add more sunlight to your home, and improve the overall value of your home as well.

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