What is the difference between vinyl, wood, aluminum, and fiberglass windows?
Vinyl windows - are made from a plastic material, making them very energy efficient and low maintenance. These windows work best in stable climate environment that do not encounter extreme weather conditions. Vinyl windows last a long time because of the durable and sturdy material that they are made from.
Wood windows - typically used to preserve the existing look of a home. They are much more costly than other types of windows and require consistent maintenance and upkeep, however these windows are the most beautiful hand-crafted windows. Wood windows are unique and provide an uncanny elegance that no other window can compare to. Wood-Clad windows, which are a combination material unit with a wood interior and either vinyl/aluminum/fiberglass exterior provide the same look as wood windows without the required maintenance.
Aluminum windows - are strong, light, and require minimal maintenance. However, aluminum material is conducive to temperature changes,thus results in lower insulation and may be subject to condensation. Even though these characteristics cause Aluminum windows to be less energy efficient, Aluminum windows offer the thinnest frame, allowing for maximum day light exposure. In order to increase energy efficiency there are thermal broken aluminum windows. These windows have thermal breakers, also known as spacers, which are inserted in-between, the aluminum frame in order to reduce conductivity. This in turn, makes the aluminum windows less conducive and therefore more energy efficient.
Fiberglass windows - have become a top of the line product because of the durable and long lasting window framing material. Fiberglass is about 3 times stronger than aluminum and 9 times stronger than vinyl, so these windows should last the longest. Fiberglass windows are durable and are practically maintenance free. Since full fiberglass windows are quite costly, there are fiberglass composite windows, which are not full fiberglass windows. Fibrex windows, a type of composite window, are made from few durable materials combined. The composite contains wood particles as well as fiberglass and therefore are considered very durable. These windows are supposed to last longer than vinyl windows with minimal maintenance.
Will I need to obtain a permit?
Some cities require a permit for any type of window alteration, while other Bay Area cities only require permits for new construction installation. Many cities, such as San Francisco, have area specific requirements to meet historic preservation or other city codes. It is best to contact your city Planning/Building department to help you determine whether a permit is required for your home. Also, if you reside in a home that is a part of a Homeowner’s Association (H.O.A.), it is best to check with their requirements first. The H.O.A. will typically have a certain style or brand that they require and will have to approve your project before a permit can be obtained.
If a permit is required, Bay Area Window Pros, Inc. can either walk you through the process, or take care of it for you. The permit process is typically long and tedious including forms, layout sketches, pictures, and other misc. items. This is why selecting Bay Area Window Pros, Inc. will be even more beneficial to you. After years of dealing with Bay Area building departments are expertise on what is required will expedite the process.
How can I tell if I need new windows?
If you aren’t sure whether your windows need replacing, Bay Area Window Pros, Inc. can come to your home for a free consultation.Some signs that it may be time to change your windows:
Condensation occurs because of humidity that is naturally present in the air. When water vapor comes into contact with surfaces that are cooler than it is, the vapor forms into visible moisture, which gets trapped in between the glass. Old windows have a tendency to have this problem because insulation technology was not as advanced as it is today.
Will I need retrofit or new construction installation?
Most people will choose to get retrofit installation because it is an easier, shorter, and cheaper process than new construction installation. A retrofit window is custom fit to the existing opening, and is installed without disturbing the exterior areas around the window. A retrofit window will slightly decrease the existing daylight opening in order for the window to fit inside the existing opening. A new construction installation removes the entire window including the surrounding frame. The new window is installed in multiple steps, like waterproofing and flashing, before the new trim and caulking takes place. Click to learn more about Retrofit vs. New Construction windows.
What is the best Window style or Window Brand for my home?
The answer to this question can only be answered once we come to your home for a free consultation. Every home is different, and when our professional window replacement specialist comes out to assess your house, we can factor in all the different aspects to suggest which product, style and price range will work best for you. Since Bay Area Window Pros, Inc. carries over 20 different brands we can offer you a wide range of choices to specifically fit your needs.
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