In part 1 of our warranty blog series we talked about the warranty that is typically referred to as the best warranty available — “Lifetime Warranty, Including Labor.” What we learned from our first blog post is the assumption that a “best” warranty can work for some homeowners, but when we look under the surface at the real time exposure this type of warranty offers as presented from the manufacturer’s view point we discover that it’s not necessarily a perfect fit for all homeowners.

In part 2 of this series, we examined the long standing 10/20 warranty typically associated with mid to high-range level window & door manufacturers. This typical 10/20 warranty covers 10-year full product with 20-year coverage on the glass against seal failure. This warranty has been around for 10+ years and is offered by most window and door manufacturers who build wood interior windows with either aluminum clad or vinyl clad exteriors. For the first 10-years a homeowner with this warranty coverage should expect to receive replacement parts that have worn out or stopped working. And for 20-year replacement glass or sash for units that have seal failure. Now, unlike the “Lifetime Warranty-Including Labor” window warranties, the typical 10/20 warranty does not cover labor charges. So, parts come free of charge, however most homeowners need to have a skilled service technician replace the part which results in an out-of-pocket expense.

Now in 2014, current window materials and improved manufacturing technologies now allow manufacturers to step up the 10/20 warranty into both a 10/20-20 warranty and the new 30/20 limited warranty.

10/20-20 Window Warranties:

The 10/20-20 warranty is offered by mid to high-end window and door manufacturers of extruded aluminum clad with wood interior windows. The main aspects of the 10/20 warranty that has been in the marketplace for many years still applies to this warranty, however, technological improvements, research, and sustained products in the field, the standard 10/20 warranty has recently been beefed up to include not only glass replacement for 20-years but warranties for the exterior cladding finish against chalking, color fading, and finish peeling or failure. So, as we discussed in our previous two posts, we know that manufacturers base their warranties on real time product retention rates in the mid to high-level product range. Based on this previous lesson we can deduce that the exterior finish is meant to meet or exceed this warranty coverage time frame.

What kind of raw materials are put into this exterior finish to move a manufacturer to add the additional warranty time into their written warranty? For those of us in the business the answer is easy: because the paint and the material it’s applied to is the best quality available. So, obviously, when the raw materials that are used to manufacture products are of the highest quality, it’s easy to increase warranty coverage time. The manufacturer has already invested and built the raw materials into their products, so acknowledging this is the next step to adding additional coverage to their warranty text. There are exclusions to the warranties which mean that owners of the finished products are required to follow regular care and maintenance schedules and manufacturers’ addresses this aspect within their warranties.

30/20-year Window Warranties:

There is now another warranty in the field of window and door manufacturers that is referred to as the 30/20-year warranty. Similar to the 10/20-20-year warranty, the exterior finish coverage is extended to a period of 30-years. From a homeowner’s viewpoint, the first thought is “Wow! This is the best yet … 30-years coverage against color fading, color changes due to chalking … this is great news!” On the surface this does sound like great news, but remember the manufacturers standing point and their exposure to replacing product. Yes, the specific exterior paint finishes that this warranty coverage provides does include 30-year residential warranty against cracking when viewed from a specific distance. Color fading is also included in this 30-year period, and as we have already learned today’s technology, along with testing real time in-the-field units covered under this warranty type already meet and or exceed the extended 30-year coverage limit on some manufacturers’ warranties. What the layman homeowner needs to understand is that regular care and maintenance is required. The accelerated time frame and fade rates past 20-years are measured at different rates than the first 20-years of coverage, meaning here again the manufacturers are warranting materials and finishes that are meant to meet and or exceed the time frames of their warranty coverage.

There are other aspects to the lifetime, 10/20 year and the newest warranties of 10/20-20 and 30/20 that are just as important as hardware, glass and exterior finishes which will need to wait for another blog post in the future. For this review we have focused on the main issues which include: the exterior finish, hardware and glass. We do want to state that these posts are not meant to replace or capture any particular warranty offered by manufacturers and this blog series does not imply that SolarGlass is replacing any written manufacturer’s warranty. We are simply offering some layman wording to help buyers understand what they should expect from a typical manufacturer’s warranty coverage. SolarGlass does recommend reviewing and purchasing windows and doors from a distributor who is forthright in manufacturer’s warranties and who takes the time to address your warranty questions and not only knows their own products but one who is knowledgeable about their competitors too. Ask questions, and read the fine print in manufacturer’s warranty details. Look into the raw guts and materials that are being utilized to build the windows and doors that you will live with for either a lifetime or 5-7 years.

Posted August 4, 2014 by Signature Windows + Doors
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