Long Beach, California is known for its mild climate, but it still gets its share of hot summer days and cold winter nights. This makes it important for Long Beach homeowners to have windows and patio doors that help insulate their homes from the fluctuating outside temperatures. Modern windows and doors can also help keep out unwanted noise, such as the sounds from busy streets, airplanes, or even the neighbor’s dog who insists on barking at all hours of the night.
Shopping for replacement windows for your Long Beach home can be confusing—especially if you’ve never done it before. There are so many factors to consider, and it can be hard to find straightforward information online or from replacement window salespeople.
Here is a brief overview of some of the things you should be looking for as you shop for new windows and doors for your Long Beach home:
One of the main reasons people choose to replace the windows in their Long Beach homes is for the energy savings. With the rising cost of energy, people don’t want to be running their air conditioners and heaters as much as they used to. However, they still want their homes to be comfortable. Replacing windows that are drafty and that lack today’s energy-saving technology is a great way to help conserve energy, while also protecting your home from the outside elements.
Mark Grisafe, owner of Grisafe Architecture in Long Beach had this to say about window replacement from an architect’s perspective: “A lot of our clients have homes with single glazed, aluminum windows, which were popular in the 1950s-1970s. We are replacing a lot of those with double glazed, vinyl windows. There are also triple glazed windows out there, but most double glazed windows meet Title 24 standards [the California Building Standards Code that sets requirements for energy conservation in residential design and construction].”
An easy way to tell if the windows you are looking at are energy efficient is to see if they have an ENERGY STAR certification. ENERGY STAR certified windows meet the U.S. government’s performance criteria for replacement windows. They often have features such as Low-E glass, multiple panes of glass, frame materials that resist heat transfer, and a special gas in between the panes of glass.
Framing Material Options
You have multiple options for the type of frame you choose for your new windows. Most of the replacement windows sold in Long Beach right now have vinyl frames. Vinyl is a low-maintenance material that comes in a variety of colors and provides good insulation. It is also a relatively inexpensive material, which helps to keep the cost of new windows affordable for most Long Beach homeowners. Another great option is windows with fiberglass frames. Fiberglass is also low maintenance and a good insulating material, but it is a bit more expensive than vinyl. Some Long Beach homeowners choose fiberglass over vinyl because of superior durability and insulating qualities, but most window experts will tell you that the cost to upgrade to fiberglass window frames is not worth it.
A third option is windows with wood frames. Wood windows are great for historic homes or for homeowners who want a more traditional look. Wood provides good insulation; however, wood frames do require occasional maintenance to keep them looking great and performing well. They also tend to be on the more expensive side.
In addition, there are options for windows with a combination of materials in the frame. For example, a window could have a frame made of vinyl on the exterior half and wood on the interior. This option can give homeowners the best of both worlds—the low maintenance of vinyl or fiberglass, with the look of wood.
Who Is Installing Your Windows
One big mistake Long Beach homeowners tend to make when shopping for replacement windows is not considering who will be doing the installation. They spend a ton of time researching the various brands of windows, as well as the upgrades they can add, but fail to ask about the installers. Many places that sell replacement windows outsource the installation of the windows to subcontractors. This is definitely the case when you buy windows from a “big box” store, but it also may be the case when you purchase from a replacement window dealer. When subcontractors are used, the level of expertise in window installation can vary quite a bit. You may get lucky and get a great team of installers, or you may get a team of general laborers who have no special training and little experience.
Look for a replacement window company that uses their own team of installers who are experienced and trained specifically in window installation. You may also want to look for a company that provides a guarantee on their installation, which will cover you in case any mistakes are made that affect the performance of your windows down the road. The window manufacturer’s warranty will only cover you for defects in the windows themselves, and not for problems caused by improper installation. In fact, faulty installation will probably void your manufacturer’s warranty as well!
Do Your Research Before Buying Replacement Windows
Unlike the windows made 50 or more years ago, today’s windows are highly complex, and the quality can vary quite a bit from one window to the next. Unfortunately, it’s not always obvious which windows are good and which ones are not worth your money. Your best bet is to go with a Long Beach replacement window company with a good reputation for customer service and for selling quality windows that are installed by their own team of professionals.