New windows will make your home more energy-efficient, reduce noise from outside and add to the value of your property. However, it is one of the most expensive renovation projects you can take on, so researching product quality and installation costs is key to feeling satisfied with your investment.

Jim Soule is the founder and CEO of A-B.E.S.T. Window—American-made, Beautiful, Energy-efficient, Strong, and Time- tested. They have offices in South Portland and a manufacturing facility in Scarborough. They’ve been in business since 1985, and since they offer a 20-year comprehensive warranty on their windows, he knows quality. According to Soule, these are the questions you should ask when shopping around.

A man looks at the camera as he uses a hand tool to install a window.

A-B.E.S.T. Windows are made in Maine with “fierce Maine pride.”

WHERE ARE THE WINDOWS MADE, AND WHO WILL INSTALL THEM? Knowing these answers will help you manage your expectations around delivery times, feel confident about how your windows will look, and work when the project is over. National manufacturing companies often use subcontractors to install their windows. As the only Maine company that provides a beginning-to-end service, from consultation and measuring to manufacturing and installation, A-B.E.S.T. takes responsibility for every step of the process.

DOES THE COMPANY HAVE A SHOWROOM OR OFFICES? In a world where so many purchases happen or begin online, getting real-life experience is more important than ever. Seeing a physical space and asking for customer references are more direct ways to learn about a vendor’s reliability than reading online reviews.

HOW LONG WILL THE INSTALLATION TAKE? Custom-made replacement windows should take one or two days to install. New construction style windows only come in stock sizes and can incur unexpected costs for carpentry, inside trim, outside trim, plaster, sheetrock, and paint.

WHAT IS THE WARRANTY? Don’t even consider a brand-new window installation without one. Reputable brands should provide a 10-to-20-year warranty, either as a manufacturer’s warranty covering parts or a comprehensive warranty covering parts and labor.

WHAT IS THE GRADE OF THE WINDOWS? The American Architectural Manufacturers’ Association rates windows on a scale from 15 to 60. Quality products should have a certification sticker on them, or you can ask a vendor for documentation showing the grade of the window.

WILL THESE WINDOWS REDUCE MY ENERGY BILLS? Grade 60 windows are the best for Maine’s changing seasons. Low-E climate control glass reflects radiant heat back toward its source, both inside and out, so they help keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Perimeter insulation is just as important as the window itself. A-B.E.S.T.’s process uses sealants that eliminate the need for storm windows.

A woman cleans her windows from the inside of her home by tilting the sash inward.CAN I CLEAN THE WINDOW FROM THE INSIDE OF MY HOME? If you’re doing the work yourself, you want something easy. Most advanced windows allow you to tilt both sashes to easily clean glass surfaces from the inside; no ladders or dangerous angles are required.

WILL THEY MAKE MY HOME QUIETER? If you live on a busy street, replacing even a few traffic-facing windows could make a huge difference. Double-paned windows have argon gas between the glass units. Argon is heavier than the air we breathe, so it helps dampen sound from outside.

AM I BEING PRESSURED TO BUY THEM RIGHT NOW? Jim Soule has excellent advice when shop-ping for anything so expensive—avoid the hard sell and don’t get caught up in a great price that expires quickly. “It’s the state of Maine way: get three quotations, then go with the person you’re most comfortable with,” he said. “I don’t mind if people come to see us first or last.”




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