Installation: More Critical Than The Window

The Installation

We cannot state enough that we feel the installation is the most critical part of replacement windows and doors – even more important than the product.  10 different companies might sell the exact same brand, model and color of window or door, but more than likely they also install the product 10 different ways.  R.O.I. Home Improvements, Inc. is unique in the installation of windows.

NO OTHER COMPANY IN THE CENTRAL TEXAS AREA IS CURRENTLY KNOWN TO USE THE A.A.M.A. APPROVED METHOD OF INSTALLATION

 

Our Employees

First, we only use our own employees on our payroll.  We do not subcontract, hire day labor, or have a ‘regular crew’.  They are on our payroll, we pay their taxes, carry their insurance and every employee is criminal background checked and drug tested.  Now, there are some very good subcontractors out there.  But they are invisible to you.  You don’t typically know who is working on your home with subs.  And there are MANY you do not want working on your home.  There are several reasons we like to have employees only. It might cost us a little more up front, but it sure saves a lot in the long run.

 

Having employees insures that each job is consistent.  When we give you a list of referrals or drive by addresses, each job will be of the same consistent quality from one to the next.  We have seen large jobs that have had two different companies subcontracted and it looked like two different jobs.  Each company used different tools, trim out materials and methods.  When you want to see a representation of OUR work, it really is OUR work.

 

Having employees perform installations takes liability off the table.    Let’s say you’ve already paid your contractor for an installation and they subcontract the work to another company.  Business is tough today, and maybe they didn’t pay their subs or there is a dispute between the contractor and the sub about how much was agreed upon. The sub can put a lien on your home.  If faulty work is performed and you try to take legal action against your contractor, they can say it wasn’t them, it was their sub.  If someone is injured on your property, and the contractor doesn’t make sure the sub carries insurance, you might be liable.  Also, you are going to have workers with pretty much free run of your home.  With employees, if there is a problem of any kind, I know where to find them tomorrow if I need to get any information.

 

Then there is the question of quality control.  A subcontractor is usually the lowest bidder to a contractor, and they might skimp on caulk or finishing products and trim to save money to maximize their profit.  With employees only, we stay in control of the highest quality products for the entire job.  We use caulk that will not shrink or yellow so it will keep seal integrity and look great for years to come.

 

We also like to keep a professional and respectful presence in your home.  In addition to being personally trained by the owner how to perform an installation to our standards, each employee knows to respect this not as a job site, but as a home.  They are reminded to be careful of furnishings, floors, walls, and even be mindful of their language, as no foul language is tolerated.

 

Our Installation

On brick, stucco or stone homes, we install by retrofit method.  This is an A.A.M.A. method that is widely used all over other parts of the United States although it is not a widely used method in this area – yet.  Most companies will pull your entire window frame out of the opening and replace the window with a new one (we don’t know of anyone else in this area that does not pull frame). This tears the original vapor barrier or wrap that was installed on your home to protect it from water.  This is a method that is not approved by the A.A.M.A., although as of this writing, there has been no local code banning it yet.

 

When your home was originally built, the house was wrapped with a barrier to prevent moisture from going into your walls, beams, drywall and into your home.  Even in the 1950s, most builders used tar paper.  Today, one of the common brands is Tyvek.  After the house was framed up and wrapped, the window was installed in the rough opening, nailed in, and then tape was then applied around the window fin to seal the window frame to the house wrap.  Now you have one solidly sealed perimeter protected against rain and moisture.  Then, your brick or stone was applied on top of all that. If your original window frames are removed from the opening, there is no way to access that original wrap and re-seal except by removing the exterior materials – a 9” tear back is recommended by A.A.M.A. (American Architectural Manufacturing Association) – so you can reattach to the house wrap/vapor barrier and repair the tears.  A tear back is labor intensive, and it can be difficult to match original materials if there is damage during tear back.  There is no other proper way to repair, cap, or reseal to prevent water damage.  Caulk is only meant to seal a ¼” gap.  It is not intended to fill a cavity, and you wouldn’t be able to tell if it does regardless.  Eventually, there will be water damage. Spray in foam is not a water barrier, it is a thermal insulator.  In fact, its design is to be porous to be an insulator.  It is meant to keep heat and cold from transferring, not water or moisture.  We use insulating foam as well, but not for leak protection.  Water will pass right through it.

 

Pulling frame is not against code as of this writing.  It is the accepted practice in Texas and this area.  However, in many other states, they have changed codes to ban frame pulling.  There were billions of dollars in lawsuits resulting in finger pointing between the contractors and insurance agencies for very costly damage and repairs.  The homeowner was the one that was left with the very costly repair responsibility.  Imagine the cost of tearing your walls apart, sealing the area where water is coming in, new drywall, new framing in some cases, new painting and finish work-a costly risk to take with your biggest investment.  While it is not required here, we feel the correct way to replace windows and doors is to do so without pulling your frame.  We know what damage will be done from pulling frame.  And since it is typically between the walls, you might not see or notice damage until it is severe.  We wouldn’t pull the frame on our home, and we won’t do it to yours.

 

We perform retrofit installation where we leave the original frame intact, which leaves the vapor barrier intact, and install our window within your original frame.  This way, we give you a lifetime warranty on the installation as well, because we know we are not damaging your home.  The only drawback to this method is that the opening is reduced very slightly (typically 1/2”) but it is usually not an issue unless you have a very small opening.  Typically, the line of sight of the brick and interior window well exceed any frame width impact.  We are honest if we feel it will look like too much frame, because we value the quality and aesthetics of our work.  Since we have many different products to choose from, we also have manufacturers that make very slim profile windows for just such cases.

 

Sometimes, the description of our installation in words doesn’t make sense.  Don’t worry.  We have some very good models and drawings that make our installation very clearly.  There have been very few people that have chosen to go with pulling frame after understanding our method.  When you are talking about the biggest investment you have, it is worth carefully selecting how and who will replace your windows so you won’t be paying much, much more than the cost of a window replacement in the future.