Courtesy of JELD-WEN
Courtesy of JELD-WEN

When it comes to windows and doors, few homeowners have a strong brand consciousness. "At most, half have some awareness of brand differences," says Joe LeFlore, vice president of South Florida Millwork in Naples, Fla. To the rest, a window is a window. They want energy efficiency, good looks and durability, and when planning a remodel, homeowners rely on their contractor for advice.

Of course, professional remodelers are loyal to brands whose products offer the features and benefits they need for their projects. With doors and windows, most ensure this by choosing one or two brands that meet their performance specs, that have proven themselves to stand the test of time, and that they know the dealer and manufacturer will stand behind. However, the remodeler needs to justify window and door selection to the homeowner.

Courtesy of JELD-WEN
Courtesy of JELD-WEN

Unfortunately, the Internet has made it easy for homeowners to become misinformed. "They'll look online for information that compares the performance of different window brands, but those online sources don't always give the whole picture," says LeFlore. "For instance, they usually don't say where the windows are being installed, but just because one window excels in the cold, wet Northeast or in cold and dry Colorado doesn't mean that window will do the same in a hot/humid climate like South Florida."

The remodeler may have to provide education that counters these misconceptions. To do so effectively demands an intimate understanding of window and door products.

A good manufacturer is an invaluable partner here. "You need to spend time with the manufacturer," says Tim Winter, owner of Paradigm Building Group in Fairfax, Va. Winter is a big proponent of plant visits. "I recently visited a window manufacturer. Before that, I didn't realize how many parts and pieces go into a window. That knowledge has made me better able to sell these products with confidence and to help clients understand why we have chosen to work with a particular brand."

This knowledge also helps him better understand the reasons behind the manufacturer's installation procedures, which are critical for the window's long-term performance.

Courtesy of Paradigm Building Group
David Alberto Molina Mesa Courtesy of Paradigm Building Group

Providing the homeowner with some hands-on experience can reinforce the advantages of a brand and help the homeowner select from different window and door models. Since most remodelers don't have a showroom, Winter recommends that the remodeler send the client to the dealer's showroom. "We try to get our buyers to visit the dealer to look at window samples. They should get a feel for how they operate." He says that buyers who do this are happier with their final choice.

A close relationship with the manufacturer also helps the remodeler understand what products will best match the windows most often used in the local market. "We need wood profiles for additions to traditional homes. We generally look for clad windows on a more contemporary home, like a modern farmhouse."

Courtesy of JELD-WEN
Courtesy of JELD-WEN

For more resources designed for remodelers, visit JELD-WEN’s professional portal.