When a builder orders windows for a home, he is looking at the bottom line. Which from a legal standpoint means getting through the Warranty period. Good windows come with a price and require some knowledge of product performance. Since that company is on a tight production schedule and there are so many balls in the air, the original windows on a home are likely to be lower grade materials.
They may look great when new, but they’re a ticking time bomb and within a short time you’re going to start having problems.
Most will use whatever is available at the local ABC Builder supply which may have a 5 year warranty on fogging of the glass units. But, it may be leaking air for some reason, have spring bars break and won’t stay open, and is probably drafty in the Winter and the heat blazes through it in the Summer.
Is the glass not as clear as it used to be? Is there water between the glass that can’t be cleaned? This is “seal failure” and is common with cheap new construction windows.
And, that’s if they’re installed correctly. Likely, it wasn’t a window installer, but the framer who was trying to close up the area for security purposes. They don’t weather proof it. They don’t square it or level it, but just pop it in and put a few screws in the flange. In addition, no one is going around an putting foam insulation around the windows. The framer is followed by the sheetrocker and the guy who does the moulding and sill and it’s skipped. The windows often aren’t caulked and flashed properly on the outside so you can actually feel air coming in. Drafty windows are in the Top 5 complaints in Texas in new homes.
These are the ones you need to rip out of your house because it costs more to keep them. They’re 4 X less energy efficient than a modern window– and ones from before 2009 likely have not heat reflective glass what-so-ever which means the monthly cost is massive and may be appropriate on the garage, or the barn.
There are many options to choose from for replacement windows and over 40 different manufacturers with a range of quality. Seek a company that has done their research homework and can consult with you to find the best answer for your home and your budget.
In today’s market, there is a true shortage of quality installers with few of the new generation wanting to understudy and thoroughly learn their craft. The installers are the front line of any quality company and can make just as much difference as the actual window unit.
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Sometimes I come off as Happy-go-lucky guy. But I know there is no standing still in this life. One must always strive to be a little better, learn a little more, give a little more.
A friend asked me to explain why it seems some builders don’t “dot their ‘I’s and cross their ‘T’s”.
There can be a number of reasons, and some aren’t intentional. I will point out that new construction is so much easier than remodel work and therefore takes a seasoned hand.
The following parable touched me the first time I heard it… so pardon if I get on my soapbox…
There is a story/parable I first heard from a close Freemason friend about a retiring carpenter who had told his employer of many years that he was ready to hang up his hammer and spend his time with his wife and family.
His boss was disappointed to hear his best and most loyal worker was leaving him and asked him to build one last house before retiring.
Disappointed, the tradesman agreed anyway, although his heart wasn’t in it. He let his commitment to quality fall: cut corners; ignored details; and failed to correct the workers when he saw shoddy workmanship. He even looked the other way when some of them substituted cheaper materials and pocketed the difference.
When the house was finished, his boss shook the carpenter’s hand,and with a huge smile gave him an envelope in which the carpenter found a “Thank You” card and the deed to the house he had just built.
He was ashamed he had misjudged his old friend and that he had to live in that house with leaky roofs, creaky floors, and a weak foundation.
The story of a Story of Character and about how the life we live in is built piece by piece by our daily choices.
Don’t we hope the builder who built OUR home built it as if he was going to live in it himself?
Is that our reality? Even with best intentions, the builder often isn’t supervising the jobsite every day. And, mistakes are made.
After a recent major hailstorm in San Antonio, I was visiting a jobsite and the foreman, short on workers, had hired his brother to help. At that moment his brother was showing how perfect he had butted the siding planks together without even a hair’s breadth gap.
At which point, his brother chuckled and said, “And it will be perfect, after you take it all down and re-do it, because it must have an expansion gap or when it gets hot, it will break. Sorry, brother.”
His brother meant well, but just didn’t know.
If you have ever done major remodeling or construction, you know that there are defined goal posts that, when reached, release more funds to the builder and his various teams.
The Foundation, Framing, Dry-In (the Roof is on and walls in place), Rough-In ( when the electrical, HVAC, Plumbing mechanicals are ready for inspection before the walls are closed), etc.
On site, there is a strong push to get to the point of “Dry-In” because the inclement weather can no longer stop construction, and there is the ability to “Lock the house”– so less likely materials and tools will be stolen.
At this point,the tradesmen on site are mostly framers and their contract is most often to the point of “Dry-In”.
So, in short, it’s because of “Jobsite Security” that the windows are put in place. Details are not considered and the framers certainly didn’t get formal training installation. He’ll use his nail gun when it should be screws, not waterproof, seal or insulate. Then, the dry wallers and finish carpenters will close it up unfinished and the exterior may not be caulked and sealed and weatherproofed before the siding crew closes it up.
If this sounds unlikely, note that in Texas drafty windows are one of the top complaints in new homes. And, while 100% perfection is unattainable– I’ve never had a large scale remodel without a “Punch-list”– pride in workmanship should always be evident.
Talk is cheap, right? I happen to have a review right to these points on a project I may detail on another post because it required an immense amount of personal growth and implementation of techniques of a very specialized type.
Build it Smart. Build it Right. Build it Once.