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This Old House Reviews Team Windows Review Methodology

Author Icon Written by Jessica Wimmer Updated 12/18/2023

The This Old House Reviews Team is committed to providing comprehensive and unbiased reviews to our readers. This means earning your trust through transparent reviews and data to support our ratings and recommendations. Our team does comprehensive research to make our recommendations, including analyzing company websites, conducting mystery shopping calls to providers, engaging with on-site chat functions when available, reading more than 50 reviews per company, surveying homeowners, and interviewing industry experts. This allows us to confidently recommend the companies we feature.


Window Research Process

Our windows research focuses on understanding each provider’s reputation, product quality, customer services, pricing, and availability. 

Customer Insights

We look at point ratings and customer reviews across multiple credible review sites to gauge customer experiences with each provider. When available, we read at least 50 customer reviews per company we recommend. We look at reviews and complaints on sites, including the following:

  • Better Business Bureau (BBB)
  • Best Company
  • Consumer Affairs
  • Google Reviews
  • Trustpilot
  • Yelp

We also analyze proprietary survey data. We surveyed 1,000 homeowners to understand their experiences with window installation. This gave us insight into homeowners’ window conditions, purchase motivations, and preferences for brands, payment options, and warranties in addition to their overall window satisfaction. 

Secret Shopping

In addition to listening to customers, we interact with companies’ websites and customer service teams as a homeowner would. Here are some of the steps we take:

  • Browsing company websites
  • Chatting with a representative if there’s a chat feature available
  • Requesting an online quote
  • Calling customer service to ask questions or get a quote
  • Reading sample contracts 

We request quotes from every window company we research. We then compare average prices to determine which providers offer the best value for homeowners. 

Industry Interviews

We interviewed window experts and other industry professionals to give us further insight into real-life applications and window business trends.


Factors Evaluated To Compare Window Companies

We apply our gathered data to our review standards and use it to rate companies. We evaluate each provider in nine comparison categories: installation process and provider benefits, warranty, BBB rating, Google rating, pricing, customer service, window features, window line offerings, and window variety.

Each of these categories include common company features that we assign a point value to. We total these points for an overall category score, then add up the category scores for an overall provider score. These standards are on a 100-point scoring system, with the categories outlined below. Total scores are divided by 20 for a final 5-point rating scale.

Window Variety

This is our most heavily weighted category. We believe a company should offer several window types to provide customers maximum flexibility and convenience. Offering a variety of window types also demonstrates that the company is experienced with many different windows. We give a provider two points for each window type it sells, such as bay, casement, single-hung, double-hung, etc. 

Installation Process and Provider Benefits

This is our second-most heavily weighted category. It includes the following subfactors.

Energy Star Certification

Our survey data shows that energy efficiency is the second-highest reason homeowners replace their windows. We evaluate whether companies’ windows are Energy Star-certified to ensure our readers can choose energy-efficient products. 

Cleanup

We expect professional installers to dispose of old windows and materials and clean up the job site when completing a window installation project. We deduct points if a provider does not offer this. 

Certified Installation

We prioritize window companies that have their own certified installers who have experience installing the brand’s various window lines and uphold their company’s professionalism standards. 

Retailer Availability

We add points to companies that sell their windows at popular retailers, such as The Home Depot and Lowe’s, for our readers’ convenience. 

Free Consultation

We deduct points if a provider doesn’t offer customers a free consultation. 

Door Products

Customers shopping for windows are often interested in upgrading their home’s doors, so we score companies higher if they also manufacture doors so our readers can have a one-stop experience. 

Maintenance Education

A good window company provides its customers with window care instructions. We add points for this service.

Warranty Options

We carefully review warranty options to ensure customers will be covered if they have issues with their windows. We look for the following warranty types. 

Manufacturer Warranty

We check to see if a provider offers a warranty on its products.

Labor Warranty

We also check to see if providers offer a warranty on installation.

Google Rating

We score a company highest for 4.5 out of 5 stars and above on Google. We subtract two points for every full star ranking below that.

BBB Rating

We score a company highest for an A rating from the BBB and deduct one point for every letter rating thereafter. We weight BBB scores slightly lower than Google ratings because companies must pay for BBB accreditation, and we feel Google provides a more accurate, unbiased rating of customers’ experiences.

Pricing

We give higher points to companies that have lower product pricing. Our highest point value is for companies with windows priced under $500 each, and our lowest is for companies with windows that cost more than $800. 

Customer Service

We want to ensure our readers have a positive customer service experience with the companies we recommend. This first means looking at the contact options for each provider. 

Online Service Request

We provide points for companies that give customers the option to submit a service request online.

Call-In Request

We provide points for companies that clearly list a phone number for customers to call about service requests. 

Window Features

We look at two feature offerings.

Customization

The most helpful companies offer customized window sizes and shapes, so we assign higher points to these providers. 

Low-E Coating

Low-emissivity (low-e) coatings are a microscopic coating that makes windows more thermally efficient. We give points to companies with windows that have low-e glass. 

Window Line Offerings

We want variety for our readers, so we check whether a provider offers a range of products.

Luxury Lines

We give a company points for having a high-end, architectural window line for those who want to spare no expense on their windows’ look and performance.

Affordable Lines

We also give points to companies that include window lines that are more affordable, such as a vinyl window line.


Factor Weights for Rating Windows Companies

Here are the designated weights for each of our categories:

FactorPercentage of Total Score

Window variety

20%

Installation process/provider benefits

15%

Warranty options

10%

Google rating

10%

Pricing

10%

Customer service

10%

Window features

10%

Window line offerings

10%

BBB rating

5%

How To Interpret Company Ratings

We consider companies that score a 90 or above excellent. Those that score between 80 and 89 are still good companies as far as reputation and services but may have lost points for factors that are less consequential to some readers, such as not manufacturing doors. We rarely recommend a company with a score below 80, though when we do, we include an explanation of why the provider lost points and why we still feature it on our list.


How To Choose the Best Window Company

Use these considerations to choose the right window company for your needs:

  • Availability: First, check to see if a window provider is available in your state.
  • Window selection: Next, check to see that the provider offers the window type you want.
  • Customization: If your home requires a nonstandard window size or shape, verify that the company offers customization.
  • Warranty: We recommend looking for both a manufacturing and a labor warranty. 
  • Price: Browse window prices online or get a quote online or over the phone. Compare prices across at least three companies to get the best deal. 
  • Customer service: We suggest reading a company’s customer reviews to gauge customer satisfaction. It’s also a good idea to call and speak with a representative to get a feel for service standards.

About the This Old House Reviews Team

The This Old House Reviews Team is an independent editorial team of subject matter experts who champion the categories and home services we recommend. From the beginning stages of research to the published review articles, our team works diligently to center your interests by identifying common pain points, connecting with people with firsthand knowledge and experience, and crafting content that meets the needs of our audience. We aim to help first-time homebuyers, potential sellers, budget-conscious homeowners, and others from all walks of life streamline their decision-making process for selecting their home services.

To share feedback or ask a question, send a note to our Reviews Team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.