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Frequently asked questions
Vinyl, wood, aluminum and fiberglass, what's the difference?
Vinyl windows - made from a plastic material, energy efficient and low maintenance. These windows work best in a stable climate without extreme weather conditions. Vinyl windows last a long time due to the durable and sturdy material from which they're made. Vinyl windows
Wood windows - typically used to preserve the existing look of a home. More costly than other types of windows they require some maintenance and upkeep. These windows are beautiful hand-crafted pieces of furniture adding to the overall aesthetic nature of your home. Wood windows are a unique and elegant addition to your home that no other window can match. Wood windows
Wood-Clad windows, a combination material with a wood interior and either vinyl/aluminum/fiberglass exterior, provide the same look as fully wood windows without the required maintenance over time.
Aluminum windows - strong, light, and require minimal maintenance. Aluminum is sensitive to temperature changes resulting in lower insulation levels and may be subject to condensation. Though these characteristics cause aluminum to be less energy efficient, it offers the thinnest frame, allowing for maximum daylight exposure throughout the day. 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 makes the window less conducive and more energy efficient. Aluminum windows
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. Fiberglass windows
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. If you reside in a home that is part of a Homeowner's Association (H.O.A.), it is best to check 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 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 items. That's why choosing Bay Area Window Pros, Inc. brings you extra benefits. After years of dealing with Bay Area building departments our expertise on what is required expedites the process, getting your house looking the way you want faster and and more efficiently.
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.
Signs that it may be time to change your windows are:
- High electric bills
- Your home is way too hot in summer, and way too cold in winter
- Consistent condensation on the panes of your windows
- Drafty or leaking windows
- Difficult to open or close
What causes condensation?
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 area around the window. Retrofit windows 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.