Are you considering replacing the windows in your San Diego, Carlsbad or North County home? Perhaps you need new or replacement windows. After you decide it’s time to embark on a full-fledged window replacement project for your home, you should first do some research, then make sure you evaluate what it is you’re trying to accomplish by getting new windows. Here are 6 main questions (and 8-9 auxiliary questions) to ask the window contractor for best window replacement results.
1. What Warranty and Price Guarantee Comes With Your Estimate?
- Do you provide a price guaranty in writing?
- How long is your installation warranty? And is it in writing?
- Have you ever replaced a window without charge after the warranty period?
The reason for replacing windows mainly concerns energy savings, but other factors including operation and curb appeal are just as important.
2. What building permits will be required?
Home windows are subject to California State building code requirements. Every city in California requires a building permit for window changes. All reputable licensed window contractors know this. However, it is always the homeowner’s responsibility to obtain a permit, and the homeowner is held liable if there is no permit. So a contractor who tells you otherwise should demand your urgent suspicion.
To comply with construction and safety codes, require expert advice from window contractors and/or engineers that will specify windows for your building application, and streamline the process. In addition to structural requirements, window size, style and color need to be agreed upon. Once this is established, a cost estimate can be determined and discussed.
3. Will you provide a breakdown of the window installation process?
- Who will be supervising my project?
- Have measurements, specifications, and applications explained.
4. What Kind and Style of Windows Are You Proposing?
Not all windows are created equal. If you’re simply replacing your home’s older windows with identical new ones, what style of window you choose might not matter much. However, if you want to change the style, configuration, appearance or function of your windows, there are many window styles available. Here are just a few kinds of window glass:
• Insulated glass consists of two sealed tiles of glass joined with an aluminum spacer to create an insulating airspace.
• Clear Glass provides maximum light transmission and can be tempered for use where safety glass is required.
• Low Emissivity (Low-E) Glass reduces wintertime heat loss and summertime air conditioning loads from inside your home from a thin, metallic coating that reflects heat back into your home, and reflects radiated heat outside your home.
• Tinted Glass combines trace metal particles and glass to soften internal glare, increase privacy and reduce internal heat gain. Reducing glare also reduces fade to your drapes and furniture.
• Solar Cool Reflective Glass reduces heat and light with a metal oxide coating that provides a mirrored effect. It also provides a dramatic visual impact, and enhances the architectural design element of your home.
• Obscure Glass adds privacy where window coverings are not practical or undesirable. Obscure glass can also be tempered for use where safety glass is required.
• Tempered Safety Glass is heat treated to strengthen glass and resist breakage from impact or wind load, and reduce likelihood of breakage from severe temperature changes.
• Laminated Safety Glass combines sheets of glass with a clear adhesive plastic film sandwiched between the panes to keep glass in place, should breakage occur. It also dampens sound and reduces 99% of dangerous ultraviolet rays.
• Argon Gas-a colorless, odorless, nontoxic gas injected between the glass panes to create a greater energy efficiency.
As far as style of windows, you have:
- Vinyl or PVC Windows-one of the most popular window choices, vinyl or PVC windows are highly durable and don’t require regular painting like other material types. Some vinyl window frame products also offer insulated cavities, which can greatly increase a home’s energy efficiency.
- Horizontal slider or glider windows.
- Double hung.
- Awning windows.
- Hopper windows.
- Bay windows.
- Casement windows.
- Bay or bow windows.
- Fixed windows.
- Wood Windows.
- Clad wood windows.
- Fiberglass windows.
- Aluminum or metal frame windows.
5. What is the Energy Efficiency Quality of the Windows In Your Quote?
Since improving your home’s energy efficiency is the common reason for installing new windows, getting to know the different grades of energy saving windows will help with cost comparison as well-since you want to compare “apples with apples”, don’t you?
How do you compare the energy efficiency among differing window products? Look at the labels.
Windows that feature an Energy Star label have passed standards tests that prove that the products meet minimum criteria for energy efficiency. Energy Star-rated windows often cost more than other windows, but also offer great energy savings in reduced utility bills.
Another energy efficiency indicator on new window products is a label from the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). The NFRC independently assesses and issues energy ratings for window products.
Also get to understand these window energy efficient terms when speaking with the window contractor:
- The “U-factor.” This number tells you whether the window you are looking at is suitable for either residential or commercial use. A U-factor rating of “AA,” is suitable for residential use; while a “BB,” or “commercial,” window is more appropriate for a commercial setting.
- The “U-value.” The U-value measures the amount of heat that transfers through the glass window. The lower the U-value, the lower your corresponding heating costs will be. When comparing two windows of the same size, choose the one with the lower U-value, if you are concerned about heating and cooling costs.
- Check the “Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC).The SHGC is the amount of solar heat that passes through the window-it is valued as a number between 0 and 1. Like the U-value, the lower this number, the less solar heat is allowed to pass through the glass. A lower SHGC means lower energy costs.
- The “VT” rating. This number (referring to “Visible Transmittance”), between 0 and 1, measures the amount of visible light that passes through the window. The higher the number, the more visible light is allowed to pass through, leading to faster fading of furniture and draperies.
- The Energy Star logo and rating. The Energy Star program, begun in 1992 by the EPA, indicates whether your selected window meets EPA energy efficiency standards.
6. What is the Window Company/Contractor’s rating with the BBB and California Licensing Board?
- Check their license with the state of California. (Here is our CA license).
- Who are your references? Check the quality of their window installations. (as noted in this residential window video).
- See if they have completed any window installations in your neighborhood.
- Check their Better Business Bureau rating.
- Ask for warranties, and window replacement issues.
- How many replacement windows do you install each year?
- Do you provide any other home contracting services?
- Are you certified by any manufacturers in window installation?
With answers to these appropriate questions, you will ensure a quality window replacement project that will enhance the beauty of your home and save precious money on energy bills.
Whether you are a homeowner in San Diego, Carlsbad, Oceanside, or anywhere in San Diego County, we can help you with your replacement window project. Please call us at 760-806-6830, and let our professional team help you with the many window choices and features available for your home.