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Find the Right Contractor for Your Window Install

Installing new windows has big, tangible benefits, increasing the value of your home as well as for its energy efficiency. That makes it one of the more popular home improvement projects.

But it's not a simple (or cheap) job, so finding the right contractors to install your windows shouldn't be taken lightly. Here are the top tips for a successful window installation:

Choosing a Window Installation Professional

* Most communities have a home builders association in the phone book; this is a great place to get recommendations for contractors to work on your window installation. If you purchase your windows at a major home improvement center, ask a sales person for a recommendation.

* When you have a list of names, interview several contractors from a couple different sources. Ask for references, and check them, and visit a previous job and inspect their work.

Some contractors have special training for installing windows and doors; ask during the interview whether they have such training. You can also request a list of contractors from the manufacturer of the windows. These contractors have completed training for installation, or met the manufacturer's criteria in other ways.

* Make sure everything is spelled out clearly in a contract before any work starts. Be sure there's a clear warranty spelled out in the contract. Also have your contractor detail the responsibilities of both the homeowner and contractor, including the time the job takes, payment arrangements and trash cleanup.

* Get proof of insurance ahead of time to ensure you're protected from any accidents that might occur on your property.

* Don't pay the full amount up front. Be sure you are happy with the job before you write that final check.

Choosing Your Windows

First, decide what style you want. Sliding windows are the most common now, but casement and double hung windows are more energy-efficient. It will save you the most money if you install the same type of windows that were there before.

Although there are many options available in windows today, "R-Value" is the most important. Simply put, R-Value represents how much heat can be lost through the windows. The higher the R-Value, the more resistant the windows are to losing heat.

Check with your utility company and see if they have a rebate program for people who install energy-efficient windows in their home.

Finally, when buying your windows, bear in mind that every state has different building codes and requirements. This is important if you buy your windows out of state, such as through an online source. Check that your chosen windows meet code in your state before buying them.

Kathy Wilson is a home and garden writer, author and consultant and is the home decorating expert for LifetimeTV.com. Visit her for more home and garden ideas at http://www.TheBudgetDecorator.com and

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