Custom Windows in a Condo: What You Need to Know
The cost of owning a home seems to rise annually. This is exactly why many people choose instead to purchase a condo unit instead. With all of the comforts of home, with little to know home maintenance, the choice is a simple one for many. That being said, owning a condominium comes with its own unique challenges, especially where upgrades are concerned. Depending on the project, it can be confusing to determine who is responsible for the cost of the project, the condo owner or the condo board. The answer to this question will usually lie within your condominium contract or plan, and their may be bylaws in place regarding the upgrade as well. It is important to thoroughly check both of these, in order to understand who is responsible for what.
Window replacements will generally fall into one of these two categories:
- Your condo board will decide which windows in the building need to be upgraded, and may decide to renovate multiple units at once. In this case, usually a meeting will be called, and all tenants will be informed of this decision, and they may be asked to vote on the specifics. If all parties agree to the project, the process of receiving quotes from different companies will begin. In this situation, the condominium board will often cover a portion of the cost associated with the replacement windows installation. The issue with this situation is that the unit owner may be forced to have their windows replaced, only because many other units are as well.
- In the case of individual units upgrading their own windows, the tenant will be responsible for the full cost of the renovation. It will be the sole responsibility of the homeowner to collect quotes from different contractors, though depending on your condominium agreement, you may be subject to limitations. Although the full cost of the window replacement will be the tenants responsibility, they will have a choice in when they get their project started.
In either of these situations, the condo board will have a say in the style, colour, and window type that is to be installed. They may ask for a similar style to the existing window be installed.
Whether you decide to replace your windows on your own, or the board votes on the replacement, you may not have a ton of options to choose from. Any new units that are to be installed will generally need to be a very similar style to the current windows in the condo. A larger problem than choice of style or colour, in these situations you may be forced to settle for a lower quality product, and installation. Depending on what type of windows are currently in place, you may not have the ability to replace them with a full-frame style.
Another issue that you may come across is finding a quality window installer able to install windows on taller buildings. Many window replacement contractors are not properly equipped to install new windows on buildings higher than three floors. It may take some work, but finding a window company that specialises in both residential and commercial window replacements may be your best bet. Window replacement companies that perform commercial window replacements, should have the equipment necessary to properly, and safely, install your new windows.
If you happen to reside in a tall condo building, as opposed to a townhome condo, you might find that the selection of window replacement companies available is much smaller. The preferred window standard may also be different than in a residential home. For instance, the material mainly used in these higher condos is aluminum, as opposed to vinyl windows for residential homes.
The buildings fire code may also affect the type of windows that you can install. It is important to research which available window choices qualify, as some rooms will need to have specific windows, as per the fire code.
Though sometimes inconvenient for the condo owner, there are actually some benefits to having windows in the entire building replaced. The costs that you may need to incur can of course, be frustrating. However, there are usually significant discounts available for such a large project, and you may end up saving money in the long run. Should you choose to replace your own windows down the road, these types of discounts will be unlikely, and you will probably end up incurring the full cost of the renovation.
Whether you are the condo owner, or the board, read through your tenant agreement and bylaws prior to the start of the window replacement project. This will reduce any confusion on who is to pay for which portion of the project. If you are an individual condo owner looking to have new windows installed, ensure that your upgrade is approved by the condo board before signing a contract with the window company. By doing this you will ensure a smooth and headache free transition to new beautiful windows.