When purchasing a window, you should make sure that it is properly installed. Otherwise, even the most expensive construction from the famous brand will not protect you from trouble: poorly installed windows can let in cold air and noise and malfunction. Their installation is handled by window fitters. It’s a hard, demanding job that has its own nuances that we will talk about in our article.
What do window fitters do?
Speaking of window fitters, we refer first and foremost to specialists engaged in the installation of modern structures made of wood, plastic, aluminum, and fiberglass. Since, for example, regular wooden windows without double-glazed units, are usually installed by carpenters during the house-building process.
In other words, window fitters are engaged in the installation of technologically advanced double-glazed unit windows. And these may include more than just windows, but also other translucent structures – doors, walls, and partitions. So it’s a job for a highly-qualified professional.
Apart from that, fitters should know how to handle windows of any material, whether it’s wood, plastic, or metal. All models from the same manufacturer may differ in shape, type of fasteners, and weight. Fitters should consider all the nuances and remain alert when they receive an order to install an unfamiliar brand of construction.
Typically, fitters work in pairs – all windows are quite heavy and it is not always possible for one person to handle their fixation in the opening. Although, in some cases, it might happen that one master does all of the work.
Features of the profession
As with any other profession, the job of a “window fitter” has its own characteristics. A professional of this kind should have enough experience working with different brands of double-glazed units. It is that the constructions of two manufacturers can differ greatly, which may cause great difficulties for inexperienced craftsmen. Then, if an expert manages to accomplish the task, the window installed may not perform its functions in full, and may, for example, let in air. This is unacceptable. That is why prudent companies, before offering real jobs, send their employees to training courses, teaching them how to install different brands and models, so as to avoid defects in the future.
Having a partner in such a profession is very important: a more experienced specialist can tell a junior employee about all the nuances and the costs of expensive training programs. Plus, lifting and installing heavy structures is a lot easier for two people than one.
Fitters usually get piecework pay, That is, they get paid for the work done. And often companies provide their workers with expendable supplies, such as installation foam, fasteners, etc., but may not provide equipment, implying that professionals should use their own. It’s not always the case, but it’s a common practice. In other words, you need to first invest some money in the equipment, and start earning only then.
Take responsibility: a window damaged during installation will hit the fitter in the pocket. Almost all companies blame those who performed the installation for the losses incurred during installation.
The challenges of the profession
Besides having knowledge, experience, skills, and tools, a window fitter must be physically strong. Some models can be very heavy. For instance, a single-chamber double-glazed window with a vinyl profile weighs up to 20 kg, whereas a double-chamber construction weighs more than 30 kg. And that’s for 1 m2. Now multiply these values by 2, by 3 or more, and you will get the weight of the window that only a physically fit and healthy person can lift.
It will also help with the dismantling of structures. Removing the old window, breaking it out of the opening is not an easy job. Consider also the huge amount of cement dust that is produced during dismantling, and then you will understand how difficult such a profession is.
Professionals face difficulties in the form of weather conditions because they have to work outside in the cold and the heat of summer. And that’s:
- physically difficult for a person could lead to colds, sunstroke, and even frostbite.
- makes it harder to work with expendables: installation foam does not expand well in the cold and does not close all the gaps.
- increases the probability of window breakage, as a severe “cold” can result in plastic cracking.
The seasonality factor can be considered both a challenge and a feature, so let’s look at it separately.
As we mentioned above, window fitters often have piecework pay for the number of installed windows, so the pay during the “high” season will be higher than during the “low” season.
The greatest number of orders will be in the warm season – in summer, in the second half of spring, and in the first half of fall. The point is that the window aperture is open for the entire time of installation, so the room will quickly cool to the outside temperature, which will hardly please those who live in the apartment. And let’s not forget the precipitation. For this reason, there are far fewer orders in the winter.
Another reason is that installation foam does not properly expand when drying in cold weather, which leads to the emergence of gaps. Moreover, no fitter will take on the job at 5 °F or below, since any improper movement in the cold causes the plastic to crack much faster than at normal temperatures.
That’s why summer, when people often take vacations not only for traveling but also to do repairs, as well as late spring and early fall are the busiest times for orders.
A window fitter’s profession is rather demanding and involves many nuances; however, for pros in the field, it can become a good source of income.