So, you are thinking about remodeling, or new construction, or deep into the process, and perhaps wondering what you got
yourself into, and have gone to Google for research, ideas, or help.
Let’s start with some basics:
Vinyl windows – Typically you see them in white, however, they do come in a lot more colors to suit today’s market. Milgard or PlyGem are a good example of vinyl windows, something you would see in apartment complexes, tract housing, etc. Great for the budget, not so
much for style, does not require much upkeep – the wash and wear window.
Aluminum – There are two types of aluminum windows, the aforementioned Milgard, used in apartment complexes, and tract
housing. Once again, very budget friendly, with little or no upkeep.
Then there is Fleetwood, the top of the line aluminum windows and doors. Example of Fleetwood would be the large sliding doors,
which can disappear into the wall when fully opened. Great style, service, and warranty, and the price point can reflect all the options they offer.
Wood – Wood windows have been around since windows have been windows. Great examples of wood windows are in San Marino, and some of the older parts of Los Angeles. Gorgeous windows, can be very traditional, however, require a lot of upkeep. Be prepared to
have an ongoing relationship with your painter.
Clad – What is clad? Clad means either metal, fiberglass, or in some cases vinyl, on the outside of the window/door, and wood on this inside. Which means one gets the limited upkeep on the exterior, with the warmth of the wood on the interior; couple that with a multitude of options with regard to window function, colors, and hardware. Very good examples of clad windows are Marvin, and Integrity;
see our products page for additional information.
Glass – Most energy efficient, are dual glazed (DG), with LowE. There are various types of LowE, typically you will hear the numbers 272 and 366. What those mean is: 272, the first “2” is the number of LowE coatings on the glass, and the “72” is the percentage of UV light allowed through the glass. Then with the 366, the “3” is the number of coatings of LowE on the glass, and the “66” is the
percentage of UV rays allowed through the glass. Regardless which way you go, either 272 or 366 you are going to notice a difference, especially if you are upgrading from single glazed glass, which is typical in older Southern California homes.
A few final items to consider:
1. It is easy to get wrapped up in the finishing touches, the kitchen appliances, the accouterments of the interior of the house. On that note, I would strongly recommend you consider the “hull of the ship”. Typically the most expensive repair issues when it comes to a home come from water damage; whether it is a leaky roof, or an issue with the exterior doors and/or windows.
Consider what is easier to upgrade: stove, refrigerator, sofa, dining room table, or a window? If one of the preceding fails, which is going to cause you the most grief in terms of stress, time, and money?
2. Ask a million questions, and don’t order anything until you understand what you are getting down to the last detail. Especially when it comes to “handing”, i.e., which way a door is going to open, or a casement window. Ask any contractor about handing and they will probably roll their eyes, and tell you how many times someone has made a mistake when it comes to the function. Can you reach all the handles, i.e., windows at the kitchen sink? When a casement window is open, is it near a walkway and someone is going to bang their head on the window? Do you have in-swing casements in the master suite, and every time you open the window it almost knocks the lamp off the bedside table?
3. Is your contractor licensed by the State of California and in good standing? Licensed contractors are required to have their license number printed on their business cards, etc. It is very easy to check a license, go to: https://www2.cslb.ca.gov/OnlineServices/CheckLicenseII/CheckLicense.aspx. Can’t begin to tell you how many clients could have avoided headaches by utilizing this one step. Other items for consideration: Are the subcontractors licensed? Is everyone on the job site covered by Workers Compensation insurance? Have you been given Lien Releases when you write a check for payment?