Thursday, September 11, 2008

Don't Do Windows? Call a Pro. (Just Watch Out for Scratches)

In today's Cranky Consumer column in The Wall Street Journal, a handful of colleagues and I enlisted several national window-washing franchises to help us wipe the years of grime from our windows.

To our surprised, these shops are armed to do a whole lot more -- from cleaning gutters and power-washing the driveway, to polishing your chandelier (if you've got one that is).

All went mostly well, and the services were surprisingly affordable: $175 to $460 in our tests. But we did encounter one pitfall: scratched glass. It can happen when the window cleaners "scrape" to get tough dirt or paint flecks off glass. They are supposed to ask for a scratch waiver to be signed (none of ours did), just in case.

Scratching seems to happen more with tempered windows that get debris trapped on the surface during the tempering process, but as one franchise teaches its members, it can happen if a razor blade isn't sharp or if the cleaner rubs the blade in a back and forth motion, rather than in one direction. We learned this the hard way.

To dig deeper ...

5 National Window Franchises

Fish Window Cleaning

Window Genie
Window Gang
Squeegee Squad
Dr. Glass

International Association of Window Cleaners