- How do I know if I really need new windows or doors?
- Well, is your home drafty in colder weather or uncomfortably hot in warmer months?
Are your heating & cooling costs high and rising each year?
Are your maintenance expenses such as painting, fixing and cleaning robbing you of huge amounts of time and money?
Are your windows, siding or doors eye sores or out of date & style with the neighborhood?
Are you planning to sell your home and want to increase the value or at least increase the chances of selling it quickly?
If you can say yes to any of these questions, then most likely you need new windows, doors, siding or a combination there of!
Actually, our surveys indicate the top 6 reasons our customers chose to remodel are:
Maintenance Free / Easy Cleaning
Security & Safety
Beauty & Pride
TIP: If you're not comfortable with your contractor, your contractor won't be either.
- Where do I go to buy efficient windows & doors?
- Before you purchase windows or doors, we recommend that you do your homework. With modern technology, many windows & door manufacturers have not kept up. It is recommended that you invest in a window system that varies by climate. Climates where heating is very important have different product recommendations than climates where cooling is more important.
First, educate yourself about what kind of window is right for our climate here in New England. For example, most big box stores sell the same window in Arizona that they do in Vermont. This is not optimal as the climate is dramatically different between the two areas, so you should invest in the proper window system.
Learn about the NFRC and Energy Star® labels and why they are important.
Prepare yourself to ask a lot of questions. Visit retailers or distributors. Ask the sales staff questions and make them explain the energy efficiency features of their products. Don't even buy windows that aren't Energy Star® rated or carry the NFRC logo. Look for the low U-values and high R-values. Select a product that is right for your climate, your needs and budget. Sometimes a homeowner feels more comfortable with a particular company rather than a particular product.
Installation is an extremely important factor with windows, siding, and doors. Don't be afraid to ask the company to describe the installation process. Make sure the contractor knows as much as you do!
Don't even think about buying windows that aren't Energy Star® rated and have NFRC labels on the glass!
A particular window is tested by an independant testing laboratory. Measurements are aquired from as many as 20 different locations on the window, not just the center of the glass.
- What does U-Value and R-Value mean? Is it really important?
- There is an old saying that goes "you can't trust a dog to watch your food." This is where homeowners are often subjected to what we call the "numbers game" by clever sales hounds. They try to make their product sound superior to their competitors by making the numbers that describe window and glass performance better than what they really are.
BE AWARE! Do your family and pocketbook this favor and understand what the numbers mean and insist on "WHOLE-WINDOW" U-Values, which are used to label window & door products in the U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Star® program.
R-Values, whole-window U-Values and center of glass U-Values can be confusing. If explained honestly, without any extra hype, a child can make the right choice. Again, remember whole-window U-Values.
A windows' "U-Value" indicates the rate of heat flow through a window. The lower the number, the more energy-efficient the window is. U-Values are an indicator of the performance of the windows' glass and its other components and characteristics. The thermal properties of its' frame, weather stripping, spacer system, and more, have a bearing on the whole-window U-Value.
So what about the Center-of-Glass U-Values?
Well, sure it's important, but it can be misleading if not understood. This measurement will always be a bit higher than whole-window values, because it's based on the most thermally efficient section of the insulated glass and nothing more. This is the problem when using only the center-of-glass U-Value. It is truly not a measurement of the entire windows U-Value, so Energy Star® does not consider center-of-glass an acceptable measurement standard. Common sense tells us that it would be easy for a window manufacturer to put a good insulated glass unit into an inefficient window frame without all of the sealing and interlocking features.
Center-of-glass U-Value is like wearing cotton socks with wool toes.
- How do I compare Whole-Window values?
- We suggest that you evaluate a window based on the sizes dictated
by who else but the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC).
This will ensure an accurate comparison of performance. Data for
all participating window manufacturers can be located on the NFRC
website. If the contractor you're considering sells a window that
is not represented on this website, then it is likely that the
company doesn't participate in the Energy Star® program. This
will no doubt tell a lot about the company's long range goals.
A lower U-Value means you'll use less energy to heat the home.
U-Factor ratings generally fall between .25 and 1.20.
- What are R-Values?
- An older form of measuring a window's thermal efficiency is
know as R-Rating. This value is used mostly in products like roof
& wall insulation to establish insulating ability. The higher
the R-Value, the better it will keep heat from leaving the home
or keep it cool during hot weather. However R-Values are NOT an
accepted form of measurement by NFRC or Energy Star®.
- What is condensation resistance?
- Condensation resistance measure the ability of a window or door's
resistance formation of condensation on the interior. The higher
the rating, the better the product is at resisting condensation.
- What is meant by air leakage? Does this mean that a window leaks?
- Yes, all windows leak. However the lower the air leakage number
the less drafts and air infiltration in to your home. The lowest
number the government assigns is .1 . Any window with an air leakage
of above .3 fails this test.
TIP: The NFRC label will display this logo.
The label will show energy performance rating U-Factor, solart
heat gain coefficient, visible transmittance, condensation resistance,
and air leakage.
- What is Low
- Low-E is short for low-emissivity. Windows have a very thin
coat of material on the glass to make it more efficient, especially
in hot sunny areas. It helps reflect the suns heat away from the
surface of the glass, keeping unwanted heat out in the summer
and desired heat inside during the winter. Low E glass can also
reduce carpet, draperies, and furniture from fading by reducing
the amount of ultraviolet-radiation (UV) from entering your home.
As with most products there are good, better, and best. Some of
the coating used in Low-E glass will reflect 20% of the suns heat
and rays while the best coatings can actually be as high as 90-95%.
- Can Vermont Vinyl windows reduce outside noise?
Vermont Vinyl provides windows which can reduce sound transmission
as much as 300%. The same technology that insulates glass also
deadens sound dramatically.
TIP: Remember, companies with lower performing
windows will always try to talk you out of windows they don't
- What is a replacement window?
- Sometimes people just call the lumber yard and ask for a price
on an approximate size without really understanding that a shelf
product or in stock window is not really what they need unless
they are building a new home.
A true replacement window is a window that is custom built to
fit within the opening of an existing window. It's built to fit
precisely and can be installed without removing interior trim,
wall board, or wall paper. This eliminates a lot of extra work,
clean up, and cost.
Custom built replacement windows are made to fit precesly, because
they provide the best in terms of energy efficiency. These types
of windows come with options that aren't always available on new
construction windows. Custom windows also come with a much stronger
warranty. While standard windows from lumberyards and home centers
are sometimes less expensive initially, they end up costing you
more due to all those unforseen surprises.
- How is it possible that custom replacement windows can actually
pay for themselves?
- If you still have old leaky windows, the money you're losing
would pay for new custom windows every month! The problem is you're
not enjoying new windows that you're paying for already.
There are three ways you pay the price:
Wood sashes shrink in winter which ultimately open gaps. In fact,
just a very thing 1/16 gap around a window is like having a hole
the size of a brick in your wall. How many brick size holes do
you have in your house?
Heat naturally radiates to cold. In winter, heat goes out. In
summer, heat comes in. Radiation through window panes cause at
least 21% of total energy loss. The result is that your furnace
and air conditioner are working overtime, wasting hard earned
Conduction is straight energy waves which also seek extreme temperatures.
They can waste even more energy than infiltration and eat up your
energy dollars without remorse.
Be sure to ask your contractor to discuss the
potential energy savings with you. Professional window contractors
will be happy to furnish a written guarantee as to your savings.
- Does self cleaning glass really work?
- When glass manufacturers started experimenting with this technology,
it had a lot to be desired. Todays' self-cleaning glass is not
literally going to clean itself. However, we have found that after
we had them installed in our homes, it drastically reduced how
often we needed to wash our windows and made it much easier when
- If a I buy your windows or doors and they need to be fixed or
replaced, who do I call?
- One hassle free call is all it takes to our toll-free number.
No hassle, no need to negotiate with the destributors or manufacturers.
- If I order windows, siding, doors, or a deck, how long will
it take before installation?
- Usually three to five weeks as a rule. Sometimes longer during
the busy season. Longer for extra special orders. Always first
come, first serve, however most of our customers are very understanding
if another customer has a special time frame need!
- What is the standard warranty?
- Warranties vary just like the products do, so be very careful.
Read the fine print always. Like they say, the "large print
giveth and fine print taketh away."
- Is a wood framed window more energy efficient?
- No, actually tests show that wood framed windows have an R-Value about
1.25 per linear inch whereas some insulated vinyl frames have
as much as R-7 per linear inch.
- Why can't vinyl windows look more like wood?
- More and more vinyl window manufacturers are creating real wood
look vinyl windows. I agree that a lot of vinyl windows look like
cheap, plastic outdoor patio furniture, but not all! In fact,
if you want the look and feel of real colonial divided lites with
contoured mouldings and wood grains, they are available! Today
vinyl replacements are truly beautiful and are being used in high
end homes everywhere!
- Aren't the colors very limited with vinyl windows?
- Again, vinyl windows have come along way in the last 10 years.
While most companies still have standard white or beige, custom
replacement window companies carry dozens of color combinations.
- I bought new windows from another contractor a few years ago,
why do my new windows feel so drafty?
- Many reasons are possible. Usually we find that the locks are
not meeting correctly and need adjusting. Sometimes the homeowner
does not push the bottom sash all the way down and likewise the
top sash all the way up (the same principle applies to sliders)
thus not allowing it to lock properly. It could be a piece of
weatherstrip is missing or loose. Perhaps some insulation was
missed or the caulking is pushing away and letting air in. In
some extreme cases the interior walls themselves have poor insulation
or none at all. Worst case scenario is the windows were manufactured
by a low budget mass producer. These types of windows are usually
found at "Big Box" stores and lumber yards.
If you see water in the bottom track or sill
area of your windows there is no cause for alarm.
Your Vermont Vinyl windows with Tilt-n-Slide hardware are
designed to evacuate water efficiently from this track area. As
the drawing depicts, the shaded area (water) is draining from
both the outer and inner track area. Small amounts of water, during
periods of rain, may be visible, however, this water will drain
efficiently to eliminate any possibility of overflow and/or water
entry into your living area. Additionally there are "weep
cover" protectors installed on the exterior of your windows
to reduce the water and wind forced entry during severe weather
Most vinyl windows are designed with this or similar water evacuation
system. The difference in other sliding window products is the
addition of a track cover strip that also serves as the sill
procket and/or slide support track for the operating vents of
the window. This support track, in most cases, is factory installed
sealing the interior track area, making easy access for cleaning
difficult and/or impossible.
Without the track cover your new Vermont Vinyl windows are easy
to remove dirt and debris.
Window Operation and Maintenance
How To Clean Your Window
The natural lubricating ability of vinyl prevents dirt, grease
or stains from penetrating the vinyl surface. But, as with any
window, abrasives can dull the finish. Use a cream wax cleaner
or polish for every day cleaning. For stubborn spots, a 'non-abrasive'
cleanser is best. Slight scratches can be "polished"
out with a small amount of scouring powder. Finish off with cream
wax or polish.
How To Tilt For Cleaning
Each window comes with two tilt latches (surface mounted or
recesed) on each operating sash.
Raise the bottom sash about 3 inches. Using both hands as shown,
disengage the tilt latches on both sides simultaneously. While
holding the latches with your thumbs, gently pull the top of the
sash toward you unti lthe latches are clear of the frame. Holding
the top of the sash, continue to lower it until you hear a "click".
This " click " signifies that the balance locks have been engaged
on both sides.
To tilt the top sash (on double hung windows only) lower it about
3 inches also, and follow the same procedure as above.
To return either sash to its operating position, swing the sash
back up and push the top of the sash gently unti lthe tilt latches
snap back into place in the side jambs.
How To Remove Sash
Each sash can be completely removed for glass replacement, balance
service, or screen removal. Be careful when you remove the sash
because they are heavy.
In the tilt position, lift and remove sash, as shown. Tilt the
sash in so it is parallel with the floor. Lift the sash straight
up and out.
To restore the sash, reverse the procedure above being careful
to insert the pin into balance shoe. Insert the pin on the lower
side, then insert the pin on the upper side and straighten the
sash back into its level, operating position.
If a balance lock needs to be moved, or repositioned when the
sash is removed, a flathead screwdriver can be used to operate
the lock and move the balance up and down to position it for pin
How To Care For PVC
To clean your PVC, simply use soap and water. Other cleaners
including turpentine or denatured alcohol are also acceptable.
For stubborn stains, a common household cleaner may be used.
Care of Screens:
Because our screens are made of the best materials available,
your screen never has to be removed unless desired. YOur screens
can be sprayed with water or vacuumed clean.
You may clean your windows with soap and water or any common glass
cleaning agent. The same recommendation aplies if you have windows
with Advanced Easy-Clean Glass.
To Tile in Bottom Sash: Raise the bottom sash approximately
3 inches from the sill. With fingertips, slide tilt latches on
both sides of the sash and tilt the sash inward. When washing,
rst the center of the sash on your knee or the sill. DO NOT lay
the corner of the sash on anything that will leave the other corner
To Tilt In Top Sash: Pull the top sash down until the sash
stops. Slide the top sash latches toward the center and tilt the
sash inward. Clean the top sash as you cleaned the bottom sash.
Securing Sash After Cleaning:
After cleaning, tilt the sash back into place. Make sure the latches
have also been sprung back into place. Push the top sash up into
place, and check again to see that the bottom sash is in place.
When tilting the sashes inward, keep each sash parallel to the
sill to avoid any balance disengagements. Should a balance disengagement
occur, please call Vermont Vinyl at 1-888-VINYL-OK. We will gladly
assist you with any questions!
Custom Vinyl Siding is one of the most durable
building products materials available today for residential applications.
In most cases, normal rainfall is sufficient to keep it clean.
But if your Custom Vinyl Siding, Soffit and Accessories should
need cleaning, the following procedures are recommended. Particular
attention should be given to areas under the eaves, porches, awnings,
and other overhangs that have limited exposure to the natural
washing effect of rainfall.
Moderate Atmospheric Dirt - An occasional washing with clear
water using a garden hose and a soft bristled brush is recommended
(a long-handled, car washing brush is ideal for this purpose).
Heavy Industrial Atmospheric Dirt - Wash in the manner indicated
above, but use the following solution:
1/3 cup detergent (Tide for example)
2/3 cup trisodium phosphate (Soilax for example)
1 gallon of water
Mildew Accumulation - Mildew can collect on surfaces of all
types of building products and is often evident on surfaces
that have not been properly cared for and maintained. Normally,
mildew will appear as black spots. Mildew is easy to remove
by using the basic cleaning solution above with the addition
of sodium hypochlorite as follows:
1/3 cup detergent (Tide for example)
2/3 cup trisodium phosphate (Soilax for example)
1 quart sodium hypochlorite 5% solution (Clorox for example)
3 gallons of water
Caulking Compounds, Tar and Similar Substances - Use mineral
spirits in reasonable amounts and apply directly to the foreign
substance. Immediately after cleaning, rinse the area thoroughly
Caution: Do not exceed the recommended concentrations of cleaners.
To do so can cause damage to the products' surface. Avoid skin
and eye contact with the solution, and in all cases follow manufacturer's
instructions for the use of cleaning compounds and solutions.
Avoid use of abrasive-type cleaners and strong solvents. Test
any cleaner on an inconspicuous area before applying to major
areas. To minimize streaking, always clean from the bottom to
the top and follow with a rinsing of clear water. Excessive scrubbing
is unnecessary, can be harmful to products, and may cause undesirable
glossy areas over the finish.
V.S.I. Fire Statement: Rigid vinyl siding is made from organic
materials and will melt or burn when exposed to a significant
source of flame or heat. Property owners, occupants and maintenance
personnel should be familiar with the performance characteristics
of underlayment materials. For maximum safety, non-combustible
underlayment materials are recommended. Normal precautions to
protect vinyl building materials from sources of fire should be
taken. Barbeques and combustible materials, such as dry leaves,
mulch and trash, should be kept away from vinyl siding.
For information about the fire properties of vinyl siding, contact
the Vinyl Siding Institute, 1275 K Street, NW, Suite 400, Washington,
DC 20005, or Alcoa Building Products.
- Condensation is due to the level of humidity in the air. Humidity
is the invisible water vapor that is found in most air. When the
water vapor comes into contact with a surface that is at a cooler
temperature, the vapor condenses or turns into liquid water droplets
(or frost if colder) on that surface. You may have seen this happen
after a shower on a bathroom mirror or on a glass of lemonade
in the summer. It may also freeze as frost on your windows on
frigid winter days. Remember, these examples are due to the water
vapor or humidity in the air; the glass surfaces are not the cause
of the condensation.
- What Problems are caused by excess humidity?
May stay on your windows all day, even if the temperature
outside has warmed up.
Condensation occurs and is running down your walls - it can
also cause mold, mildew, stains, blistering paint, peeling wallpaper
Your air may have a musty, sour odor, or at worst, rot. Odors
from everyday activities may linger too long. With excess humidity
in the air, odors linger with intensity.
Mold/mildew, rot and/or decay become visible, causing your
Your health can actually become at risk. The spores from the
mold and mildew are inhaled or ingested and can cause serious
allergic reactions, sinus and a host of other health problems.
It was actually thought once that humidifiers in the winter
were good for people, but studies have shown that humidifiers
actually contribute to health problems.
- How Can I Prevent/Reduce excess humidity?
- Every day living can cause excess humidity. The number of showers,
baths, cooking, laundry, doing dishes, and the length of your
showers all contribute to how much water vapor is actually being
dispersed into the air. Did you know that the average household
can add as much as four gallons or more of excess humidity into
the air from our daily activities? Even when we breathe, we are
adding extra moisture into the air.
You can reduce indoor humidity by increasing ventilation.
Open a window, it will allow the moist air to escape and fresh,
dry air in. Vent all of your clothes dryers, your gas burners
and other such appliances to the outdoors. It's a good idea
to vent your bathroom and kitchen with exhaust fans to draw
the steam outside. Keep your attic vents open and free of debris.
You can help to control indoor condensation by maintaining
the humidity level in your home based on the outdoor temperature.
All major manufacturers of dehumidifiers recommend the following
- 20* F
15% or ---
- 10* F
15% - 20%
20% - 25%
25% - 30%
30% - 35%
You can also buy a humidistat at most building supply stores
and home centers.
If you have plants, group them together in one sunny area
and water them only when necessary. Avoid over watering. Waterproof
your basement and run a dehumidifier. Run a fan near windows
to help air circulate and keep windows dry.
- What is Outdoor Condensation?
- Reverse or Outdoor Condensation: Outdoor condensation occurs
when water vapor collects on the outside surface of a window or
sliding glass door. It is not an indication that the window or
unit is defective in any way. It occurs when the right set of
atmospheric conditions are in place - specifically:
~ Glass temperature is below dew point
~ The sky is clear
~ The air is still
~ The relative humidity is high
~ The glazings are well insulated
When the units are exposed to these conditions, the exterior surface
of the glass is able to radiate heat away to the night sky so
that the glass temperature falls below the dew point of the surrounding
air. When this occurs, moisture from the air accumulates on the
glass surface. It is only when the temperature of the glass rises
above the dew point, will the condensation evaporate back into
the air. Dew formation is common and accepted as a fact of nature.
The presence of moisture shows that the certain set of atmospheric
conditions exist and that the insulating glass is doing what it
is supposed to do - that of protecting the building from the environment.
In this instance, the insulation ability is what slows the flow
of building heat through the glass and prevents warming of the
exterior, above the dew point.
If exterior condensation happens on the insulating glass, there
is very little that can be done to prevent it's happening again.
In some instances, keeping your drapes open can allow heat to
transfer through the glass. This has been known to help to reduce
the amount of condensation.
- Are there any Cases where Window Condensation is only temporary?
Yes - There are really only three:
New construction or remodeling
The beginning of each heating season
Rapid changes in temperature
Wood, plaster, concrete and other building materials utilized
in new construction or remodeling can cause a lot of moisture.
Through out the heating season, there may be a certain amount
of temporary condensation. During a wet summer, your home will
absorb some moisture. After the first few weeks, your home will
dry out and then you will have fewer condensation troubles. Remember
too, that quick, rapid drops in temperature can cause temporary
condensation problems during your heating season.
- Why, if my old windows did not have condensation, do my new
windows have it now?
- You probably replaced your old windows because they were too
drafty, and when it wasn't windy, those old windows were allowing
the excess humidity to escape. Now that you have new windows,
they have tight seals and the excess humidity in your home is
unable to escape. Therefore, it is showing up on your windows.
This is the first indication that there is an excess of humidity
in your home.
- Does the amount of condensation depend on the type of window?
- At Times: Recessed windows, such as bay windows or bow windows,
will usually experience more condensation than other styles of
windows. Because air circulated around these windows is more restricted,
and they hang away from the insulated house wall, bays and bows
can be a few degrees cooler in temperature. To lessen excessive
condensation, a wise installer will insulate under the seat and
head of a unit. As a second measure, putting a regular electric
fan near the window to create air circulation may be helpful.
- Will Drapes and Window Shades Cause Window Condensation?
- Curtains, drapes and other window coverings don't cause the
window condensation, but they can have a hand in the problem by
constricting the flow of warm room air over the glass surface.
So, condensation is more likely to happen when drapes are drawn
and shades pulled. Today's' well insulated drapes and tighter
shades may lend to the problem even more.
- Does Condensation occur more often in Particular Climates or
Types of Homes?
- Positively! Condensation is more likely to occur in climates
or regions where January is 35* F or colder because there exist
greater extremes between indoor and outdoor temperatures that
affect glass surfaces in the home.
Did you know that during the summer and fall, all parts of a house
pick up moisture from damp air? When fall comes, windows are closed
and heat in the house is turned on. The moisture will pass into
the air of the house and for the next week or so there will likely
In the first year after construction or remodeling, it is probable
that a house will have more condensation apparent because of the
incredible amount of moisture in the building materials utilized.
The building materials need around a year to dry out, so excessive
condensation can be expected during the first winter season. Sometimes,
after the first year, if the humidity level is still too high,
condensation may still be a problem in the home. This may occur
because today's homes are much "tighter" due to energy efficiency
standards and they are designed to keep out cold air, but also
tend to lock moisture inside. What happens then is that moisture
created by bathrooms, kitchens, laundries, and occupants can no
longer escape to the outside and it has to be mechanically removed.
- I have an older home with lots of trim - do I have to lose the
beauty of the details?
- A. Not necessarily. Many vinyl trim products and accessories
are made to replicate the look of original details. Much of the
older trim styles can only be duplicated by custom fabrication
done right on site with special tools and by expert craftsmen.
These experts are usually called tin-men and are extremely rare
these days. There are probably one hundred vinyl siding installers
to one tin-man.
- My friend, the builder, told me that all vinyl looks cheap and
the same. Is this true?
TIP: Have your siding contractor leave you with extra pieces
for future repairs if needed.
- Unfortunately, most builders have no idea where vinyl has gone
these days. I have builders (friends) ask us why we decided to
put wooden, hand-split shakes on our home. HA, HA! Get out of
the truck and take a closer look. We are now remodeling historic
landmarks with vinyl and few people know it!
- Am I
limited with vinyl colors available?
TIP: Am I comfortable with this crew around
my home and for how long?
- No. Some professionals have special arrangements for unlimited
- Can I paint my old vinyl siding?
- Yes. Follow the cleaning instructions we provided, and then
use a recommended paint. Most people have limited success with
the better latex-acrylic coatings - however, because it is a layer
of paint, at some point, it will need repainting frequently.
I install siding and trim myself?
TIP: New siding without replacing the front
door is like putting an old tie on a new suit.
- We applaud anyone who has the confidence to try. Most people
find out after they buy the needed equipment, spend twice as much
on materials than what the guy wearing the apron at the Home Center
said they would, not to mention it will probably take four to
ten times longer than anyone could have imagined. For about 10%
more, they could've had a professional remodeling project the
neighbors would envy.
- Do you use insulation before siding?
- Yes. There are several choices ranging from minimal to very
energy efficient. Insulation types also vary as to quality. Insulation
helps not only with saving energy and keeping your home warmer,
especially on very windy days, but the more rigid the board/underlay,
the better the siding will lay on the surface.
much does siding cost per square foot?
TIP: The bitterness of poorer quality remains
long after the sweetness of the low price has been forgotten.
- We sometimes will be asked this question and we know most people
are sincere, but honestly, square foot prices are nearly impossible
as the homes in this part of the country are so different from
one another. For example, a 24'x 48' single story ranch home is
rarely going to have much detail work and for the most part will
be approached off ladders. On the other hand, a two and one-half
story colonial on a hill will need scaffolding and be a slower
moving project. I think you can see why we prefer to give pricing
upon inspection of the home.
Call Vermont Vinyl if there is ever a problem with our product - even unusual questions are welcomed.
Jump to conclusions or put off getting answers. If, for example, a window is stuck, please don't force it, as it could break. Obstacles won't go away just because you ignore them.
Check references when comparing contractors.
Just drive by. Get out and look at the details. Talk with the home owner. Ask how was their experience and how was the communication with the contractor?
Plan to take enough time when interviewing remodeling contractors. Most people spend more time planning a weekend vacation than a major home improvement investment.
Jump this crucial step unless you are prepared to fall. This is one of the biggest mistakes a homeowner can make. If a contractor feels that you are rushing things, then that is the type of estimate and project you will end up with. The contractor will either give you an inflated price thinking you are not smart enough to take the time needed and you'll not notice the price is high or the contractor may figure if you are in a rush, then you're only interested in the lowest price and so he may under bid the project. Well, you know where the story goes from there as the contractor now tries to find a way to make up the losses because of the low bid.
Get everything in writing.
Settle for verbal agreements. This is business. We have all lost some good friends because of business.
Your research, especially if you don't know the contractor personally.