The importance of proper window/door installation

All of a building’s components – such as the roof, gutters, walls, foundation, windows and doors – are designed to work together to protect you from the elements. Quality products and good construction practices result in a solid home that can stand the test of time. With windows and doors, in particular, installation is critical. Poorly installed windows and doors won’t perform efficiently, or last as long as they should, no matter how well they’re built.

Think of a house as a big, solid box. Every time you cut a hole in that box for things like vents, exhaust fans, pipes, wires, doors and windows, you’re either letting something out or inviting something in – like wind, rain and snow.

When it comes to windows and doors, the keys to installation are keeping the unit level, plumb and square. This means that the window or door must be uniform horizontally, vertically and diagonally within the opening. The installer attaches the window or door solidly to the home’s framing, adds insulation, applies a sealant along the seam where the window or door meets the house and finally adds a barrier to promote water run-off. Deviations in proper technique can lead to problems such as moisture-inviting gaps, sashes that stick and joints that separate under pressure.

“The No.1 problem in new residential construction in North America is poor window and door installation,” said H. Alan Mooney, president of Criterium Engineers, based on a survey of professional engineers involved in new home inspections. Presented at the 2003 Big Builder Conference, the survey found that almost one quarter of new home complaints involved poorly installed windows and doors.

Understanding installation’s critical role in product performance and customer satisfaction, Pella developed a simpler, more effective way to install its windows and doors and make homes more weather-tight.

To encourage builders, installers and do-it-yourselfers to use this proven technique, Pella offers installation classes through its network of Pella® Window & Door Showrooms in the United States and Canada, training 3,000 professional installers in the first half of 2004 alone. In addition, Pella offers easy-to-follow instructions with all of its windows and doors as well as online versions in five languages: English, Spanish, French, Polish and Russian. Instructions include a list of necessary tools, additional supplies and step-by-step diagrams. Pella customer service representatives also provide more advice when needed.

Windows and doors – just like your car – need periodic maintenance to keep performing at their best. Pella recommends homeowners conduct an annual home inspection, cleaning and fixing any problems they spot.

For tips on what to look for in an annual home inspection and for installation instructions, visit Journalists are invited to log on to for more details and high-resolution images.