Crash! You hear the sound, instantly knowing what it is. Someone has broken one of your windows. Since you did not install them yourself, you suddenly face a horrible decision. Do you replace just the broken window, risking the danger that the windows may not match, or do you replace all of your home's windows at once, a process that is likely not within your home improvement budget? The good news is that you do not have to choose between these two options. If you can identify the window's manufacturer, you may be able to get an identical replacement, allowing you to replace the broken window without disrupting the overall look of your home, or your carefully balanced budget.
Additionally, many windows have a warranty, and you may not know of this warranty if you did not install the windows on the home. The warranty may also pay for replacement parts, such as broken seals or latches, not just broken glass. Some manufacturers even provide lifetime warranties on their windows, so identifying the manufacturer is essential before you pay out of pocket for a replacement. However, it is not always as easy as you might wish!
Look for Stickers
Newer windows, particularly those with warranties, will have stickers on them. These stickers have model and manufacturer's numbers that you can use to identify the manufacturer. If you can locate this sticker, contact a builder or building supply store in your area to see if they can help you identify the manufacturer using the information. The sticker is usually located at the top frame of the window. This is required on modern windows, but if the window is older it may not be there. Also, it may have been damaged over time. Windows that are covered under warranties typically have identification stickers that are easy to find.
Look for Numbers and Initials
If there is not a window sticker available, look all over the window for any numbers or initials. Some windows have an aluminum spacer between the panes, and there may be a number or some initials engraved on this. Sometimes this can help you track down the manufacturer.
Talk to the Builder
If your home is a relatively new construction, contact the builder who worked on the development. There may be records as to what company they contracted with to install the windows. Of course, this only works if the windows have not been replaced since the first installation occurred, but it is worth a try.
Contact a Local Window Installer
If you cannot find a sticker and the builder is not helpful or is no longer available, consider contacting a local window installer. You can describe the window's features and any numbers you could find on the window, and they may be able to identify it. If not, they may be willing to come to your home, for a small fee, and look at the window to see if they can identify it. After all, they may end up with your business to replace the window if they help you out.
What to Do if You Cannot Identify the Manufacturer
If you cannot identify the manufacture, consider repairing the damage to the window without completely replacing it. You can replace a broken latch or window pane, or have a professional do it for you, and this may be more affordable than replacing the entire window. On the other hand, if the windows are generic in appearance, you may be able to replace the whole window without destroying the overall look of your property. Again, talk to a window installer or a building contractor to determine what your options are as you work through this process.
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