3 Ways to Tell Quality Windows from Average or Cheap Builder Grade Products

Simply put, quality matters. Windows and doors help to allow you to maintain an optimal level of comfort in your home during all of our seasons. Their performance or lack thereof can have a significant impact on your heating and cooling costs. That’s why industry experts tell you not to go cheap when purchasing windows or doors.

Here are some tips to help to determine whether you are looking at quality products or something you should probably not purchase.

Window; The Materials

Vinyl/PVC, Wood, Wood/Aluminum Clad, Hybrid Pvc Clad, Aluminum and fibreglass are the most common material used today with PVC/Vinyl being the most common. Frame depths are usually 3¼ or 4’9/16 with the latter being far superior. Don’t be fooled by outlandish claims company’s make about re-inventing the window. Cellular PVC has been around for years. Companies like Windsor Windows and Ostaco Windows have been manufacturing cellular PVC windows for decades, yet a local company is currently advertising everywhere stating “its new technology” which is complete blasphemy!

Go out and have a look. Ask to see cutouts (windows & doors cut in half), look for think walls and multiple chambers in windows. Check the weather-stripping. You want neoprene and multiple layers/applications of it in each window. Stay away from brush type as its inferior in every way. Look for powder coated or stainless steel hardware. Stay away from anything that isn’t as it will rust and cause you grief down the road. Avoid plastics locks, keepers and other cheap hardware. Compare manufacturers and their products. Visit at least three showrooms to compare offerings.

Read EVERY word of the warranty! The good ones have very little fine print. Be wary of “Lifetime Warranties.” If you take the time to read it, you can be assured the term “against manufacturers’ defects” will be hidden in the text. Might as well throw it in the garbage at that point as that statement is their way of denying just about any claim!


Ask for them or go online and look for yourself. Have someone explain what they mean and how the tests are conducted. Make sure the product is Energy Star Approved. Ask about installer training. WindowWise certification is recommended.

Name Recognition and Company Reputation

Do your research! Companies change names, Google Capital windows now Capital Windows or FM Windows which is now Clara and you understand why they changed names. Some of the larger area vendors actually have people on staff that are paid solely to bury bad reviews. Many make boastful claims and say any manner of things to get you to believe they are the best. If you are a wise consumer, you’ll find a company with a long-term local presence, and a successful track record as you may need warranty or service 10-15 years down the road. Ask the supplier or sales representative if they are a manufacturer or re-seller. If they are a re-seller, chances are they are offering cheap products to remain price competitive as they are marking up someone else’s product trying to compete with a local manufacturer. Most area re-sellers offer products manufactured in Toronto or the US. Also, inquire as to whether or not they have a local office or showroom. If not, you may want to steer clear.

Most importantly, don’t make a hasty decision and don’t cheap out! Don’t let salespeople pressure you to make a decision on the spot. Some local vendors quote right in your house with the goal of having you sign right there. They usually say things like this price is ONLY good if you sign right now which is total baloney. These high-pressure sales reps are generally the ones that don’t show you their product or let you read you their warranty.

There is a reason that they want you to sign right then and there!

In short, do a little research in advance of having people come to your house to quote. At minimum pick what you believe are 3 reputable companies and contact each to provide a quote. Please feel free to include us as Scheel Window & Door has been manufacturing, selling and expertly installing quality, energy efficient windows and doors in Ottawa and the surrounding areas for over 70 Years. Our products are rated amongst the BEST by Energy Star. Our Warranty covers both parts & labour for 25 years, and our installers are experts. We are family and locally owned. All of our employees are from the area, and our owner can be found at our plant/showroom in Arnprior on a daily basis. Give us a call!

We’re certain you’ll be glad you did.