When it comes to my actual window or door installation experience...

Christina Lewellen
October 10, 2007


The Talk, Page 2...

Survey Results for 10/10/2007:

When it comes to my actual window or door installation experience,...

...I don't regularly install, but I've ventured into the uncharted teritory on occassion.





...I've installed so many, I could teach a class about it.





...I've never installed one, despite my relatively heavy involvement in the industry.





In the category of “ask and you shall receive,” I have some great stories to share after last week’s poll question. I wondered whether, as folks who are significantly involved in the window and door industry, our readers have actually installed the products they’re designing, making and selling. You can take a peek at the results above, which are split among the categories, but I want to get to the good stuff and share some of my favorite responses (and in the spirit of true confession, the submissions are anonymous):

“Your article caught my attention because I too have seen, literally, hundreds of fenestration products being installed in my 25 years of being behind a camera lens. Big difference! Last year I attempted to install quite a large slider in my son’s home. Ouch. I could see in my mind’s eye all the nuances related to such an installation but doing it? HA! Different story. I found myself muttering (among other things), ‘How do they (installer) do that so easily! This is hard!’ And coverage? Ya, right. Disaster.

However, the experience certainly provided a new perspective of the type of person that home improvement contractors need in order to continue the sale in the home and, provide their customers with the peace of mind that was also purchased. There are installers and then there are installers. Congratulations to those quality installers in the cold, heat, sun, wind, snow, rain, etc., etc., etc., that are striving daily to install products that give the dealer and customer a quality installation, no matter what.”

“I have come across the opportunity to install replacement windows for friends and people I know. While I have little time for such projects, I have done several over the past fifteen years. I really enjoy the challenge of the process that goes into installing windows. Each application has so many variables that go into taking out and putting in new windows, that homeowners should not try this on their own. Not only do the windows need to be measured correctly for the application, but installing them plum and square is harder than one would think. With shimming, squaring up the opening and proper caulking and cladding, I’ve seen even experienced installers botch up a job from time to time. But there is no better satisfaction than knowing you’ve done a job right, and seeing your finished work.”

“As recently as this past weekend, I helped install a new outswing French Eagle door for my father-in-law. In the past I have installed windows for myself and other family members. I have been in the building materials business for over 18 years and can definitely state that talking to a customer be it a builder or homeowner about installation is one thing, but actually doing it is all together different. The most important thing that I can stress, not only as a salesman but as a sometime installer, is that it is absolutely critical to follow the installation instructions as closely as is humanly possible. With all the competing design pressure ratings out there and consumers increasingly educated about products—the ‘tried and true’ methods of installation no longer apply. If I had a nickel every time I have heard, ‘I’ve been installing windows for 20 years, so you don’t need to tell me how to install anything’ I wouldn’t have to work. Installers that don’t use shims, or rely on high-expanding foam to seal the window in the opening, or not nailing every nail in the nailing fin, to making sure the window is plumb and square - I unfortunately seen all this and more.”

“I follow installation instructions myself and strongly encourage those who install as a living to do so as well—it can require a huge change in how they go about their business, but the end result will be a more satisfied customer, a better performing window, greatly reduced callbacks, and a better reputation in general.”

“…The installation of the window is the easy part of the installation. The actual trimming of the window is the difficult part at least for someone that does not do it for a living. That is my two cents and enjoyed your article.”

“I’ve been in the window industry for 25 years. I installed my first window 10 years ago and have seen and replaced so many I could write a book. Windows are in my blood. Every conversation I have with friends and family starts off with how are you doing and end up with are your windows performing properly? I start by telling everyone I train here, ‘You will never look through a window again.’ I enjoy my job, but like to break it up by working in the field. In the past four years I have taken this knowledge and used it explain to our dealers and their installers the importance of squaring and shims in order to give their customer peace of mind in the years to come. I could go on. There are too many issues to name. I need to go—there are windows that need my help.”

“Yes, some of us veteran window and door millwork guys have actually installed a window and a door into a real rough opening. The windows are easier to shim, plumb and level. On the other hand, entry doors are a more difficult install due to racking in the rough openings, settling, and water leakage issues. You should actually try it yourself sometime with professionally trained installers. There are now more instructions and accessory products available today to make a window/door installation more successful with less call backs for suppliers and contractors.”

“As an AAMA certified InstallationMaster Trainer, I have a confession to make that I suspect isn’t as rare as it might sound. I’ve installed too many test windows in test bucks to count and have installed nearly as many display and sample windows during my time in the industry. But, I’ve only installed one window in a home in my entire life. I changed a single hung window to a casement window to meet egress requirements, as part of a remodeling project to add a basement bedroom for my college age daughter.

It went just as planned... I’m currently making plans to replace the remaining windows as a result! ...It’s just like most anything else. Do your homework, take your time and follow all the steps without exception (no shortcuts from your well meaning retired-contractor/father-in-law!) You’ll do just fine!”

Contact Christina Lewellen, senior editor, at clewellen@glass.org.


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