Almost any replacement window product you purchase will come with a warranty. The coverage of that warranty can range from as little as one or two years to as long as a lifetime (or two). But just like any other document written by a team of lawyers, warranties include lots of “fine print.” The fine print in window warranties usually includes multiple items that will limit or completely nullify the warranty’s coverage. Here are some of the most common ways to render your replacement window warranty useless.
Improper installation is a surefire way to nullify your replacement window warranty, which makes sense because improperly installed windows are more likely to fail. Replacement windows have a different installation process than windows installed in new builds, so make sure you hire someone who is specifically experienced in installing replacement windows. Your best bet is to go with a replacement window company that uses their own team of trained replacement window installers, as opposed to a company that uses independent contractors or general laborers. Some replacement window manufacturers will also require that your windows be installed by an authorized dealer of their products, so make sure you read the fine print and ask questions of your replacement window installer.
Failure to Maintain Your Windows According to the Manufacturer’s Instructions
Vinyl and fiberglass replacement windows are generally designed to be low maintenance, but that doesn’t mean you can avoid maintaining your windows altogether. Your warranty should come with specific instructions for cleaning and maintaining your windows, which need to be followed to the letter. Things like cleaning your windows with caustic chemicals or high-pressure hose nozzles will often void a replacement window warranty.
Abusing Your Windows and Screens
New windows and sliding doors that are properly installed should open and close freely, without much effort. If they don’t, refrain from trying to force them to open and close, since doing so could be considered “abuse” and will nullify your warranty. If you are unable to fix the problem on your own by cleaning or lubricating your window or door tracks, notify your installer, who should come out and fix the problem.
If your window warranty covers your screens (some do and some don’t), do your best to keep pets from clawing at them. Most manufacturers won’t cover screens damaged by pets.
Failure to Complete the Proper Transfer Paperwork
Some of the better replacement window warranties in the industry will offer coverage to a second San Diego homeowner. The warranty does not usually transfer automatically from the original purchaser of the windows to the subsequent homeowner, however. The original purchaser must typically fill out a transfer form and send it to the manufacturer within a certain amount of time (usually within 30 days of the sale of the home). Failing to do so will nullify the window warranty for the San Diego home’s new owner.
Not Reading All the Fine Print
Every warranty has its own specific set of limitations and exclusions, so be sure to read it carefully. If something in the warranty is unclear, ask your replacement window dealer or installer for clarification.