Why worry about the warranty?

I was having coffee with an industry friend and the subject of warranty came up.

“Emilio,” he said. “I can’t think of how many times I’ve lost jobs to a company with a ridiculous warranty that I know is worthless from that company, but what can I say to a homeowner without sounding bitter?”

I could only nod in agreement, because this is a real issue in the window and door industry. Legitimate, responsible companies like ours wonder why customers are so impressed with a piece of paper, when often a little research will show that it doesn’t really provide security.

How good is a “Lifetime” warranty from company that has only been in business a few years. Oh, they may look like they’ve been around forever. They may even advertise catchy phrases such as “99 years of combined experience”, which is a dead giveaway that it is an unproven company. Often an installation company will seamlessly change into a new corporation, allowing the owners to stay in business, but “scrub” themselves of any legal warranty ramifications. Watch out for companies changing from “World Famous Windows Ltd.” to “World Famous Windows & Doors Ltd.” Not the same company anymore!

Even a warranty from a manufacturer is only as good as their willingness to acknowledge a problem and fix it. Manufacturers can also come and go and not all are willing to be proactive for homeowners who trusted them and bought their windows or doors.

Olympia Windows & Doors has existed as a company for over a quarter century. No smoke or mirrors, name changes or games to hide from our customers. We’re proud of our record! Not only that, but we have a line-up of suppliers at our door who would love to sell to us. Our choices of companies such as Vinyl Window Designs Ltd. and Northern Lights and Doors Inc. are not just based on their product. These choices are also based on a history of demonstrated responsibility to homeowners for the quality of products. Like Olympia’s own warranty on our workmanship, their warranties are more than just a fancy piece of paper.

Get professional help and advice on replacing your windows....

Looking for new replacement vinyl windows? If so we can help with advice as well as supply and install the perfect windows for you. Looking for a price? No problem, we supply a free quoteclick on the button above for a free quote for you at any time.

What exactly are we offering in windows? Well they are made of uPVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride). That makes them durable, resistant to rotting, warping and corrosion as well as chipping. As well as conserving energy they also have properties that aid sound insulation.

Why Replace Your Windows?

You may be aware of obvious signs of age on your old windows:

  • difficulty opening or closing your windows
  • rotting of wood frames
  • drafts through tiny glass cracks or gaps in the frame
  • glass is cold to the touch

There are many benefits to fitting replacement vinyl windows, some of which you may not have considered:

  • prevention of mould and mildew
  • reduced energy bills
  • no maintenance
  • better protection from severe weather
  • better protection from burglars
  • more attractive house – to you and potential buyers if you decide to sell
  • much better temperature control
  • easy to open windows
  • easy to clean outside glass even on top floor windows (swivel glass options)
  • stay clean glass
  • noise reduction

Does Vinyl have to be White?

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Absolutely not. Modern technology allows us to coat vinyl with materials that will adhere, expand and contract with the vinyl material, offering incredible durability! These coatings are hard to scratch or damage but, if they were, they are easily repairable just like paint.

Which Are The Best Replacement Vinyl Windows?

There’s not a single, simple answer to this question and it would be inappropriate to pick out a single model or type of window. Much depends on your personal needs and what you consider important. In the same manner, it would be inappropriate to just pick one manufacturer without considering what your needs are.

For more information call Olympia Windows & Doors in the GTA. With over a Quarter Century experience you will find the highest quality and professionalism around.

VWD gets awarder Advocate of the year on Windows Category 2012

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Lightning strikes twice! New ENERGY STAR award in 2012!

VWD was once again, in 2012, the recipient of a major ENERGY STAR award.  We were already acknowledged as the ENERGY STAR Manufacturer of the Year in 2006. In 2012 we added to our recognition for our contribution to promoting energy efficiency with the 2012 Advocate of the Year award. Working to promote awareness of energy savings in windows is simply caring about our planet.

Lino d’Uva, Vice President, Vinyl Window Designs, accepts the award from David Anderson, Parliamentary Secretary for Natural Resources.

CATEGORY: ADVOCATE OF THE YEAR – SPECIFIC PRODUCT

Vinyl Window Designs Ltd.

For the seventh year in a row, the majority of window dealers that became ENERGY STAR Participants are those that stock qualified products manufactured by Vinyl Window Designs Ltd. The secret to this success is the company’s unique dealer-centred marketing program – an innovative approach to co-branding that has aided Vinyl Window Designs in earning this year’s ENERGY STAR Award for Advocate of the Year – Specific Product.

Based in Woodbridge, Ontario, Vinyl Window Designs has gone to great lengths to help its dealer network sell energy-efficient products by providing customized marketing materials that draw consumers’ attention to ENERGY STAR while promoting the dealer’s brand name. As a result, Vinyl Window Designs enjoys tremendous loyalty among dealers from coast to coast to coast.

The philosophy behind the program is simple: Vinyl Window Designs believes that the earlier in a sales visit that potential customers are exposed to the ENERGY STAR concept, the more likely they are to absorb information about the benefits of energy-efficient windows. Armed with this market intelligence, the company works closely with dealers to make this happen.

In 2011, Vinyl Window Designs created almost 200 customized marketing products for its dealers across Canada. Focusing the materials on individual dealers, as opposed to producing a single, generic print run for national distribution, means the marketing products are much more likely to end up in the hands of consumers than gathering dust on dealers’ shelves. The company offers dealers a wide range of marketing materials, all of which prominently feature the ENERGY STAR symbol. Approximately 200·000 items, ranging from single-page technical sheets to multi-page brochures, were distributed to consumers via dealers in 2011. All of these materials were also available on the Vinyl Window Designs’ Web site.

In addition to producing customized marketing materials, Vinyl Window Designs invested in co-operative advertising with dealers in 2011 and provided banners and point-of-purchase materials to help ensure that the ENERGY STAR symbol was visible in showrooms across Canada.

This is the company’s second ENERGY STAR Recognition Award. Vinyl Window Designs was named Manufacturer of the Year – Specific Product in 2006.

What is the best window style?

The best window style… depends!

There are a number of factors that will help you determine the best window style for you, for each opening you want to replace. These include:

1. Your budget

2. The size of the opening

3. The architectural style of your home (or the style you want to achieve with the replacements)

4. The outside environment

5. Special characteristics about the opening

6. Your lifestyle

Your Budget: One should always know how much can be committed to a project from existing funds. It is usually possible to augment with a low interest loan. The question becomes, is the potential benefit of taking on debt justified? Part of this is whether or not the nature of the home justifies a higher expenditure or whether there will be no payback either from an aesthetic, comfort or economic outlook.

Opening Size: We recognize that casements and awnings are the most air efficient windows and they have a great site line as they have no center mullions like both horizontal and vertical sliding windows. But, if you have an opening designed for a large slider, if you try to put casements in it, you may be required to put two windows in the opening instead of one. Not only does the cost go up, but the joint between the frames will be even wider than the center rails of a slider.

Architectural style: Some more traditional homes will look better with a more traditional window, like a double hung. Of course, what looks good is in the eye of the beholder, but you should keep your neighborhood surroundings in mind.

The Outside Environment: If you live in a typical city, suburban or village neighborhood, virtually any window style will meet your requirements for resistance to the elements. However, in an extreme environment, you may want to think twice before choosing a style (such as a tilt sliding window) that clocks in with a lower performance rating than a casement or awning. Is your house on a cliff, facing wind driven rain? Choose the tighter window!

Special Opening Characteristics: Are you replacing a window where you have good reason to believe that the original installation was poor? That would justify a full replacement. Do you have antique interior trim that is an important part of the ambience of the home? Maybe you don’t want to disturb the trim and prefer a retrofit style replacement!

Your lifestyle: Do you prefer to live “screen free” for most of the year? An alternative to storing your screens where they may either get dirty or be damaged inadvertently is to purchase windows with rolling screens that ‘self-store”. Would a bay or bow window add significant living space to a room? Can you see yourself (or your pet) curling up and enjoying sitting in the bay window on a cold winter day?

So, the answer to the question, “What is the best window style” is simply, what is right for you!

A Sales Pitch vs the Truth

The other day a homeowner called me to ask an interesting question in researching for a window purchase. After Olympia Windows and Doors had visited, a salesperson from a different company had come in and warned her of the dangers of buying a window made with inferior vinyl! This is a story I’ve been hearing for years. A salesperson selling a bright white vinyl tells the homeowner, “My vinyl is brighter because it has more Titanium Dioxide in it. This is the chemical that resists UV degradation”. Strangely enough, the salesperson selling a more neutral coloured vinyl will sometimes say, “My vinyl is softer in colour because it has less of that calcium carbonate filler in it that causes chalking”.

I like to think the best of people, so, rather than say that these salespeople are deliberately trying to misinform homeowner’s for personal gain, I like to think that this urban myth is something they have been led to naively believe. The truth is it is simply how the vinyl was coloured! Why believe me? Simple! I can sell either, so I have no axe to grind. I’ll go one step further. I have no reason to believe that any major window company is using an extrusion made from inferior vinyl. See? I’m not claiming to be better in this particular specification!

Happily, the days when an ill-informed salesperson could tell a whopper to a believing homeowner are gone. The fact that you are reading this articles on the internet is proof that today’s homeowners are incredibly well informed and “untruths” passed down from salesperson to salesperson will be easily exposed. And, as a noted TV personality might say, “That’s a good thing!”

What we learned when our building collapsed!

It made the national news. One moment,OLYMPIA Windows and Doors owned a beautiful older home that had been retrofitted to be our offices and showroom. The next moment Kristin and I owned a pile of rubble with a completely intact vinyl window sitting on the top of the heap. (Check out the picture! Google “Olympia house collapsed February 22 2012”)

If you drive by our site on Cawthra Rd., you’ll see our offices have risen from the ashes. But, be with me that day as I stood at the edge of the street staring at the settling dust! First reaction? No one was hurt. NO ONE WAS HURT! As we digested this fact, it was clear that nothing that would come after was of any real importance. Second reaction? Numbness… Third reaction? We had employees who had jobs to do. We had customers whose paperwork was lying in the rubble. There simply was no time to sit back and feel sorry for ourselves. We were needed.

As many of you know,OLYMPIA quickly (with the assistance of some of our suppliers, who were right there for us) assembled a temporary office and showroom up the street. Within a few short weeks it was business as near to normal as possible. I also want you to know that we received phone calls offering assistance from a direct competitor who we knew because we shared product lines.

So, now that we’re well on the way to getting back to normal, what did we learn? We learned that our community has a generous heart. We learned that to survive a disaster, all one needs to do is keep putting one foot in front of the other and those baby steps will add up to giant steps. We learned how lucky we are and this lesson is driven home every time we turn on a TV and see the result of natural disasters around the world.

Growing older and running a business

I am beginning to understand the older person whose body just doesn’t cooperate and for whom the day continues to grow faster and shorter. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not complaining. Mine is a healthy family and I appreciate this every day. Still, getting older does have an impact on how I run OLYMPIA Windows and Doors.

For example, my tolerance for foolishness is a little less every day. Yes, I try to explain to my customers, I know you want the best deal possible, but what is truly “the best deal” is what works for both of us and leaves my homeowner with a great value for years to come, not long enough for me to cash their check. My goal is to someday walk out of OLYMPIA for the last time, knowing that my past customers are in good hands and will be looked after. I also will confidently know that the new administration at OLYMPIA shares the same commitment I have always had to do everything I can to, as Mike says on TV, “make the job right”. When you start to see grey hairs in the mirror, you tend to think of these things on a daily basis.

It would be a lot easier to run the company into the ground, quietly draining it of its assets and then just walk away from the mess. I see that happen around me in the window and door industry. No, that isn’t true. Maybe it is for some people. But, it isn’t true for me. I lose sleep when one person thinks I didn’t do the best job for them until we’re on the same page again. I’m not about to walk away and have my homeowners, the people who have supported my family and my employee’s families, thinking anything but the best of me.

So, there you have it. If you’re a young homeowner who is too far from your first grey hair to philosophize every morning when you look into the mirror, someday you’ll understand. Those of you who are a bit older, well, you get it.

Word of Mouth

No offense to my great sales people. They’ve been with me for years and are truly like family. But… at OLYMPIA Windows and Doors, our best sales people are our installers!

Do you wonder why every day when you check your mail there is bound to be a piece of advertising loaded with window companies promising you the best prices, the best products, the best, the best, the best…. You know. Of course, you don’t see OLYMPIA spending our customer’s money (and it is your money!) on these advertisements. Why?

Because, like all companies that are truly the “best” companies in any business, a lot of our business comes from referrals and repeats. So, where do our installers fit into this? Often, as they’re going about the business of professionally installing windows and doors, neighbors will stop to watch the process. Before the job is done, it is common for someone to approach our installers and ask for a card or other way to contact us because they appreciated what they were seeing in the quality workmanship and products in the installation.

It is quite common for the homeowner who is having work being done to take the installer aside to look at another potential job in their home, because, after seeing the diligent work being done, they respect the opinion of our crafts people.

And, what about those guys with the big budgets for flyers? They’re looking for new business every day…. They have to find someone who doesn’t know them and with whom they’ve never done any business. What does that tell you?