Installing impact windows? Before you start making calls or pull out your wallet to pay a contractor, make sure you’re making an informed decision on whom to hire for the job. In most parts of the country, you’ll have at least a few options available—but the biggest divide will be between local installers and installers working for or with big box stores.
Let's take a close look at what you should expect from each when buying and installing impact windows.
Accountability is typically a non-issue with local installers. However, it can be a big problem when working with big box store teams. Often when you’ve paid the store for the work, it’s subcontracted to a team it barely interacts with to manage your installation.
This can make it a big headache to both file and make progress with a complaint because you didn’t hire the team—the store did. That means you have more steps to deal with should the job not finish perfect - none of which is quick or easy.
The consistency of output from big box stores depends on how the store manages its installers. If it holds all work to strict guidelines, you can get surprisingly consistent results even in the face of unexpected headaches, different teams, etc.
On the other hand, some big stores simply contract out to whatever installer is available and leave the question of outcomes to luck. Terrible installers probably won’t have work for long, but mediocre ones—even ones with the occasional major failure—may slip through the cracks.
With a local installer, you’re only dealing with one potential team held to one set of standards in most cases. That’s usually going to be a good thing if you did your homework on picking a local installer.
Big box store teams may not have experience with installations specific to your needs in terms of environmental factors, local ordinances, and other regional factors. They may also have limited experience with impact windows in particular if they’re a general contractor—though some big stores will have specialized teams with job-specific expertise.
With a local installer, it’s much easier to get a sense of whether or not they have experience relevant to your impact window installation. Prior work is easily sourced to the people actually working on your home, business, or property.
Whether a big box store or a local installer will cost less for your impact window installation will vary by region and unique factors related to your installation. Generally, big box stores set a price and try not to deviate from it—but this price may not account for the unexpected, and costs can creep quickly in the face of adversity.
Local installers may not be able to cut costs as effectively in as many places as a big box store team, but will usually be able to give a more accurate and thorough estimate and avoid the unexpected—and the extra expense of surprises.
Teams working with big box stores are generally going to have impact window supplies limited to that store’s logistics chain, for better or worse. That can mean limited options for your home renovation project. However, if the shop only works with certain manufacturers, it may also mean good prices on certain materials and products.
Product availability for local installers can vary significantly and should be something you ask about when looking at potential contractors. At their best, local installers can get the best prices for the greatest variety of items, to better match your needs, but at their worst, they’re as limited as a big box store but more expensive.
Contracting with a big box store can be cost-effective, straight-forward, and painless if you’re lucky—but the potential for unexpected problems, limited selections, and sub-par work with no easy recourse should be thoroughly considered before you hire one to install your impact windows.
Local installers are accountable to you, they’re small enough to be researched and assessed accurately, and they know exactly what you need for your home. Just make sure you do that research and get a team that you can rely upon.
Alco Windows and Doors provides the highest quality hurricane impact windows South Florida has to offer, at competitive prices. We pride ourselves in offering the top brands on the market including PGT Windows and Doors, CGI Windows and Doors, ES Windows and Doors, and Eco Windows and Doors. Take a look at our options to keep your home looking beautiful and eliminate the need for unsightly shutters.