Caveat Emptor

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Exterior window clips on a value window

Let the buyer beware indeed, and for this simple post, I’m going to pick on a popular window company, although not by name. They make a good value window in that it is a good price for a reasonable window, they have a good brand, and name recognition, but when you still have to be careful when purchasing from them.  Why?  It’s simple, if you live in an impact rated hurricane zone, you need impact windows.  They reasonable quality windows are not impact rated standard, but they can be upgraded at a reasonable cost and people assume they are still getting a high quality and value product.  While it is true that the windows meet the standards, it is also true that people are not getting what they expected.  To make the windows meet at the value price, the manufacturer had to install exterior clips (shown in the picture attached, at the bottom of the sash and at the check rail.)  These clips aren’t the end of the world, in fact, they’re often not noticeable and the manufacturer’s catalog does show them, but I’ve had many clients felt they got a bait and switch after they were installed because they don’t like them and didn’t realize they were there from the standard catalog.  There are also interior clips that are also somewhat unsightly, and more damagingly, have to be engaged before they window is fully impact resistant.  This is a whole lot easier than installing plywood over the window, flicking out 4 simple tabs, but it is also not the piece of mind many owners envision when upgrading to the impact resistant windows of never having to worry about storms.  I raise this today not to punish the window company who does provide a good product and does not seem to attempt to trick consumers as their higher priced lines don’t have these issues, but to remind my readers to always beware and keep in mind that construction prices are often the bottom line.  You rarely get the same quality for less money, and while the trade-off may be worthwhile, there is almost always something you give up to save money while building.  Always be sure your designer understands the importance of budget versus finish and craftsmanship to maximize the value of your job.