Does Your Home Have Builder Grade Windows?

builder grade windows

Builder-grade windows are one of the “dirty little secrets” of new-home construction. Installed into your beautiful new luxury home during the build, these windows are often the bottom of the barrel in terms of quality. While builder grade windows might look fine on the surface, they are concealing a host of problems that can plague new homeowners. It’s no exaggeration to say that these are some of the worst windows on the market — yet since home builders save money installing them, they are unfortunately fairly common.

At Eby Exteriors, we’re dedicated to excellence in window replacement — and that’s why we are highlighting builder-grade vs. replacement windows in our latest blog. Read on to learn about some of the downsides of these common but cheap windows that you may have in your home.

Builder-Grade vs. Replacement Windows

builder-grade vs. replacement windows

These windows pose a variety of problems. The issues are the result of both the quality of the window themselves and the assembly-line style installation. Here are the main issues we see when comparing builder-grade windows vs. quality replacement windows:

  1. Air Leakage — This is one of the main ways that a lower quality window frustrates homeowners, and you can absolutely expect builder windows to leak air. Cheap windows are made with cheap parts. So the weather stripping is low-grade and often doesn’t seal properly. It’s not uncommon to see light around the edges of the sashes, particularly in the middle where the sashes meet and at the bottom corners. While you might expect this issue to occur with a fifty-year-old window, you shouldn’t expect your new windows to leak, but all too often they do! This is frustrating as it makes certain rooms less comfortable — and causes your energy bills to spike.
  2. Fogging — Since builder windows invariably tend to be made of cheap vinyl, your chances of seeing them fog up are pretty high. This is one of the most common vinyl window issues, and the cheaper the window, the more likely it will happen to you. This is a common reason that homeowners start comparing builder-grade windows vs. replacement windows in the first place.
  3. Security Risk — Cheaply installed windows can absolutely pose a security risk to your home, too. A thief can easily use a pry bar to pop out the flimsy vinyl hardware system. This just won’t be a possibility with a sturdy window material.
  4. Hard to Clean (Don’t Always Fully Open) — This is a strange complaint, but our replacement window teams see it more often than you’d expect. Builder grade windows tend to be single-hung with a fixed upper sash, which means you can’t open the top sash at all. This can make it almost impossible to clean these windows from the inside.
  5. Hard to Operate — Once again, this is a problem you’d expect from worn-out 50-year-old windows, not new ones. However, when cheaper vinyl windows are used in an install, they can be hard to operate regardless of their age. In addition to being made of harder-to-use vinyl, installing them too quickly can also lead to these usability issues.

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  6. Insulation Can be Missed — Insulation around your windows does an important job to maintain the temperature in your home — so it should be a standard installation procedure, right? One of the most frustrating issues with builder windows is that this step is sometimes missed. That’s because the new build crews need to work as quickly as possible and can therefore skip some essential steps. Something that highlights how home builders think about window installation: the industry slang term for installing the windows is “slapping” them in. That’s how a crucial component like insulation gets missed! Our crews regularly encounter relatively new windows that have no insulation around the frame!

So, why are these window issues the case in modern home building? Because builders save a few bucks per unit when they opt for these builder-grade windows. Over the course of multiple neighborhoods, those savings add up for them.

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Generally, this conversation leads to two big questions: does my home have builder windows, and what can I do about them if I do?

Does Your House Have Stock Builder Windows?

builder windows

Just because you have stock builder windows doesn’t mean you need to rush out and have them replaced. But it also means you shouldn’t even think about wasting time on repair if something goes wrong.

If you’re noticing any of these issues with your windows, bring us out. Our window experts can investigate to check the status and give you our recommendation. We install high-quality windows that provide great style, consistent reliable functioning, and decades of energy-saving performance.

If you have any questions about your windows, schedule a consultation with the local window experts at Eby Exteriors!

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