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Manufactured/Prefabricated Windows

Please note: this page contains reviews and opinions sent in by Berkeley Parents Network subscribers. Your own experience may be different. Please always check references first!

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > House & Garden > Manufactured/Prefabricated Windows

Installing Prefab Windows Advice & Questions Related Pages

2011 - 2013 Recommendations

Someone to replace 23+ windows in our house

March 2013

Hello! My husband and I recently bought a fixer upper and the whole house needs new windows, 23+ windows. We had one contractor out to give us a bid who we were very excited about - had great ideas for other parts of the house but we can't seem to get him to respond. We call and he answers or returns our calls but it has been nearly 2 months and we still haven't received a bid from him so this is a red flag for us. I thought we were in a recession and that people would want the work so its a little frustrating. We had the same problem with the electrician that we had come out and look at the property who also seemed very interested in the job and then just dropped off the radar. So, we're looking for recommendations for someone who can do windows who provides quality affordable work. It's a large project from our perspective, with more than 23 windows. There is also additional work that needs to be done to the house so whoever we work with would have the potential for additional work for a long time to come.

Since 2 people are not responding you might want to consider whether the point is that they don't want to work for you. My husband is a contractor and doesn't take a job if he thinks the client or the work will be a problem. Things that will drive a them away: unreasonable expectations about price, materials, how/when the job should be done, jobs that are unlikely to be profitable, client will 'help' to reduce the price, or just plain crazy client. They want to do the job, get paid in full and get out of your life. Even a lousy economy isn't enough to get a contractor or electrician to take a problem job, especially a job that will not be profitable. contractor's wife
I can highly recommend our contractor, Altmann & Associates. Jeff and Marty just finished a job on our 1912 Craftsman that included seismic retrofitting, reshingling, and painting as well as replacing 21 old aluminum windows to match the original wood design. They were incredibly easy to talk to (and get a hold of!), patient and tasteful, stayed completely organized and on-budget throughout the process, and did really high quality work. It was such a pleasure to work with them, we sort of miss having them around now. Jeff Altmann: 510-420-8111 ( Erika
I just wanted to say that we too have been trying to find someone to replace a few windows in our house, and it has been a nightmare communicating with various contractors and installers. We've been flaked on by several now, and I'm at my wit's end. I feel confident saying that the issue is not 'us,' as a previous poster suggested - we just want the work done well and over with and to get on with our lives.

We've had 2 window 'experts' say they would contact us with a contract (this is after coming and consulting with us very positively in person) and then...nothing. I've tried to follow up with emails, also with no response. Apparently the economy IS good enough that these guys can just burn their bridges with potential clients. The work we're prepared to have done isn't going to be cheap for us, either. Just wanted to let you know that you're not alone, and you may not be the problem. Hoping you get some good suggestions that we can follow up as well - good luck! C

We replaced nearly all the windows (15 of them) in our 2 bedroom home in January. A Taylor Made Window (located in Richmond) did the job and they were fantastic. Here's the link to the website.

A crew came out and did the entire job in one day. They were efficient and did a good job of cleaning up after themselves. We're very happy with the windows, which is a good thing since it was a big investment (to the tune of about $6600). Just last week we received a thank you note from the owners of the company. I highly recommend them.

An aside, our old windows were hooked up to our home alarm system with wire and that doesn't work with the new windows. If you have an alarm system, and have your windows alarmed, I'd suggest you talk with both the window and alarm companies ahead of time to ensure the new windows will accommodate the alarm you have in place.

Window installer needed for Andersen windows

Dec 2012

We've decided to have our home windows replaced and our contractor recommended Andersen (vinyl) windows. We want the 100 series and are looking for recommendations for an installer (as well as tips on which companies/people to avoid). Additionally, we're hoping to have this done in early January as baby is due early February. Thanks, Beth

Suggest you call Truitt and White Lumber Co. and ask to be connected to their Door and Window shop. Ask for some installer recommendations and they will give you several quality ones. They carry the Anderson and Marvin line. Their number is:510-841-0511. One installer I have used is: T. Russell Jones at 925- 960-0500. He is very good and reliable. He has a website you can look at. Roger

Reviews for Blomberg and/or Fleetwood Windows

Nov 2012

My family is looking to replace three windows in our 1965 house. We've looked at both Blomberg and Fleetowod windows and are considering one of these companies, but wondered if others had feedback on them. In addition do you have recommendations for window installers that you used to install these windows? Thanks so much! Shauna

I am happy to give a strong endorsement for Blomberg products based on 10 years wear and tear on two of their sliding glass doors which also happen to be lovely (not tacky like most sliding glass doors). They have worked beautifully and still look brand new. I have no experience with Fleetwood windows. HEIDI
Hello Shauna- My husband has been a licensed general contractor for 15 years. I asked him to answer your question from a contractor's perspective. He says:

Fleetwood is the 'cadillac' of aluminum windows--very well-built & sturdy (thicker grade of aluminum than other manufacturers); excellent workmanship; better weatherstripping. Fleetwood only offers Class 1 finish (less susceptible to corrosion). More industrial looking than Blomberg.

He recommends purchasing Fleetwood Windows through Frank Luna at Golden State Lumber, Marin(415)454-2532. Frank is an experienced sales rep, easy to work with, turns orders around quickly and provides good pricing.

Blomberg windows are a good option, too. The construction is fine. They're just not as 'beefy' as Fleetwood. He just priced three small windows with the two lines and Blomberg came in $300 less so the client selected Fleetwood.

A couple of other points: (1) When you compare quotes, make sure you are comparing the same class finishes. (2) If you are eventually replacing sliding doors, Fleetwood has really nice options. (3) If you are replacing swing doors, Blomberg has a nicer looking door than Fleetwood.


Double paned windows - installation

Sept 2012

Hi, We are finally getting double paned windows but have heard some real horror stories about some installations (leaking etc). Can anyone recommend a reliable, reasonably priced company to install new windows? Ready for new windows!

We had double-paned windows installed by A-Taylor Made Window (El Cerrito/Richmond). They were really helpful to work with and we have yet to have a leak or other problem with the installation. lichauco
I would recommend T. Russell Jones for this job. He really knows his stuff and does very good work. Not super inexpensive but quality installations. I am sure he would give you a free quote. 925-960-0500. Roger
I highly recommend Xotek 510-538-1987. I had them install 3 windows this year and they did a great job of measuring and installation. Their prices were very reasonable. Sam and his sister Maggie Lee own the company and they are very professional, good listeners, and friendly. Sam even adjusted a window that had been installed by someone else 8 years ago without charging me. He and his assistant were clean and tidy. Happy with my windows

Window and door replacement companies?

Aug 2012

Anyone have experience with replacing the windows and doors in their house, please advise for the budjet effective and trustworthy company around Albany. Thx for reading. Cristina

Sam and his sister Maggie own XOTEK; they are terrific. Maggie runs the office. Sam came out and measured; I looked at the window options and selected the ones I wanted. He replaced my windows with double-paned low-E 'sliders' and they have made a big difference in blocking out noise and keeping the house cooler this summer and warmer in winter. He and is helpmate did a fine job and were very clean. Sam said he can also replace doors, although I didn't need to do that. Their rates are very reasonable. 510- 538-1987. I'm very satisfied. Barbara

Replacing windows & fixing front door

June 2012

We bought a new house some months ago and we would like to replace the windows and fix our front door. We would appreciate very much your recommendations of a place to buy nice windows (glass with wood and energy efficient) and a company that can install them. Our house is from 1940 and we have a baby so we would like somebody that are lead certified. We are looking for a reliable company that offers competitive prices. Thank you Andrea

For many years and projects we have sought the assistance of Truitt and White Lumber Company in Berkeley. For your particular project I suggest you go to their separate door and window building as there are numerous samples of both products on display in a variety of designs and prices. They can also order items from their many catalogs. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable. If you need someone for installation they can recommend well-qualified licensed contractors (both companies and individuals)to perform the work for you. They are located on Heasrt St. across the railroad tracks from the 4th St. shopping area with plenty of free parking. Roger
I can highly recommend the company we used to replace our windows and interior doors. They came in and took the measurements, ordered the windows, while they while they replaced the interior doors(doors they provide similar to HomeDepot, but its cheaper) Windows came in in 2 weeks and were installed in the matter of days, no hussle and no problems. keep it up guys. You may contact Baha directly at JB Construction, License #908631. Cristina

Sierra Pacific aluminum-clad wood windows

March 2012

We plan to replace all of the single-pane wood windows in our 1924 house in North Berkeley, and are leaning towards going with aluminum-clad wooden windows made by a vertically integrated California company called Sierra Pacific Windows. We have seen the windows, talked to a Sierra Pacific Rep, and gotten an estimate, and generally like the product. However, other window dealers (e.g., Milgard, Marvin) sometimes disparage Sierra Pacific and claim that the company has (or has had) issues with quality control. I know that Sierra Pacific has installed a lot of windows in and around Berkeley, so I thought I would ask: do any of you have experience with Sierra Pacific, and if so, what can you tell me about it? (Please feel free to e-mail me directly.) Thanks! Mark

We had an absolutely terrible experience with Sierra Pacific Windows and their product. We replaced a large window in our home with a Sierra Pacific aluminium-clad window, and within two years the window began to leak and we had water pouring into our home. We had extensive damage to our wall and our floor. Every time it rained, we literally had to stuff towels around the leaking area, and then wring the towels out repeatedly.

That was bad enough, but SIerra Pacific's response to the matter was absolutely disgraceful. They dragged their feet about coming out to inspect the window, then blamed the problem on the contractor and the installation. Meanwhile, the damage to our home worsened. Finally, we had to hire a third- party leak detection service to perform a water test on the window. The window quickly failed the test and the third party determined that Sierra Pacific's defective product was to blame.

Sierra Pacific continued to refuse to accept responsibility for the problem. Then they offered such pitiful solutions as fixing it with caulking! We eventually had to threaten them with a lawsuit in small claims. It was not until then that they agreed to replace the window and fix the damage to our home. From the time we first notified them that the window was leaking until it was actually fixed was almost two years.

We have owned our home for over 12 years, and completed some large projects, but this was by far the worst and most stressful house-related situation we have dealt with. Our Sierra Pacific rep completely went AWOL on us once we started having problems with the window. The manager from Sierra Pacific that was handling our complaint was completely rude, abrasive and awful. He repeatedly refused to take phone calls or return messages, and would try to only speak with my husband. Even the Sierra Pacific attorney who finally settled the agreement with us told me that she was taken aback by this manager's unprofessional behavior.

Needless to say, I would never, ever purchase a Sierra Pacific product again. I'd rather take my chances with duct tape and saran wrap.

I'm choosing Sierra Pacific over Integrity. I'm planning on rebuilding in Berkeley with lots of corrugated steel paneling and roofing. Haven't priced them yet but, wanted you to know that I love them too. ~~ pacific coast artchitecture lover

Need new windows - how to proceed?

Nov 2011

Hello Fellow BPN'ers. We need to replace about five windows in our house (the kids threw a toy through one -- classic). They all are those horrible single-pane, aluminum ones that the formers owners probably installed about 30 years ago. We want double-paned, wooden interior ones. We have had bad luck on some other double-paned windows we purchased previously, which went 'foggy' between the panes. Apparently this is very common. So, . . . I am at a loss as to how to proceed this time. Should we hire a contractor to handle the whole thing, including selecting and purchasing the windows? Or should we go to Truitt & White or Ashby Lumber and pick out the new windows, and have them installed? If we buy directly from Truitt & White or Ashby, any recommendations for installers? Does anyone have experience with new window purchases, and which brand(s) would you recommend? Any recs for contractors for this work? Thanks all. Feeling the chill

I highly recommend JP DOlan for windows and doors. Truitt and White is:
more expensive
crazy busy with very little help
only open on Sat. until noon

I work full time and going to Truitt and White is impossible. Dolan's, in Pinole, has all the high quality windows and doors. They recommend you to an installer - people whose work they know very well. homeowner

I agree, aluminum windows are terrible! David Huff from Wooden Window can provide you with custom fit windows that will enhance the beauty and value of your home. He'll come to your house and give you an estimate, and explain the many options available to you. His contact info is: 510-350-3912 Lisette
I recommend Marvin Windows, and I bet Truitt & White probably will too. Call Bob Spiers for installation, 510-734-2428. Of course he would prefer to order the windows. You'll be surprised how many details have to be remembered if you order them yourself. Andus
Rick Hoffman has done a few pieces of work for us that involved designing and building woodwork to fit into a 1920s Berkeley house. He made a pair of French windows and a massive door for a garage conversion. He is great at catching the spirit of the house and making something that looks as though it's always been there. His number is 510- 715-4803. John
I used Save Energy in Marin County--they came out to our house and made recommendations. Their workers were professional and did a great job. We ended up purchasing vinyl windows made by Simonton that comes with a guaranteed replacement if they break for any reason (including boys hitting balls through them). They are double pane and have been no problem for about 8 years and we are very happy. The one thing is that they didn't reduce noise as much as we'd hoped but I'm not sure how much anything would work. happy with my windows

Milgard Woodclad windows

Sept 2011

We're looking to replace the majority of the windows in our small Albany house. I was leaning toward the Milgard woodclad windows until I stumbled across some negative reviews of them online specifically in regard to them leaking during heavy rain. I'm wondering if anyone has any recent experience w/ these windows. Or another similar product you'd recommend instead? Thanks! Window shopper

We replaced all our 1950s aluminum frame windows with Milgard Woodclad windows about 9 years ago, and then used Milgard Woodclad windows (casements, double-hung, sliders, awning-style - I think we have about every window style they make) again in an addition to our house 3 years ago, and all the windows are performing great - no leakage problems here and I love the way they look. Our contractor for the addition, who was picky about that kind of thing, said Milgard windows were some of the best. Happy with My Windows
We replaced all the windows in our house with Marvin Integrity windows. They have fiberglass cladding on the outside that is immune to the elements and you never have to paint it. They are wood on the inside. You can either paint or stain the wood. Most of ours have a clear stain and look great. The ones in the bedrooms and over the sink are painted. In the shower it has cladding on the inside to make it waterproof. They are expensive, but we think they are worth it. --like our windows

Replacing custom dual-pane wood windows?

Aug 2011

Three of four dual-pane windows I had custom-made 13 years ago recently failed and the local Berkeley manufacturer NOW says these had only a 10-year warranty (which I never heard about till I complained, but that's another story). I expect them to compensate me for replacing the windows, but don't trust them to do the work again.

Who do you recommend I talk with about a) manufacturing & warranting energy-efficient windows and b) removing the old/installing the new windows on the top floor of a 2.5-story house with painted redwood siding in the Berkeley hills? These need to be wood or economical enough that I can also afford to replace a nearly-identical large window unit (on which this was modeled) on the same wall at the same time. Quality work, high integrity, and excellent communication skills are highly valued! The specs are: * 126.5'w x 61'h x 1.5'd unit with 26.75'w casements on either side of a 63'w fixed sash window * 34'w x 45.75'h x 1.5'd fixed sash window Thanks so much! Foggy windows ;-(

I highly recommend Ralph Torres of The Frameworks in Oakland (510-653-7075). He did a great job creating replacements for our 1918 bungalow in Alameda, including windows, sidelights, and front door. Straight-forward guy that knows his stuff and takes pride in doing good work.

We had everything installed by the contractor that Ralph recommended (Dave Grubb of David Grubb Construction in Berkeley; 510-334-1275) and that experience was also very positive. They worked very well together, our house now looks great, and the increased energy efficiency of the windows is amazing. anon

I would highly recommend Tony Diamantine of Ron's Window Center. Quality work, honest price and great communication skills. His phone number is 510- 410-3039. Email is Website is Pablo

Replacing sliding glass type windows

July 2011

Can you please recommend someone who would replace some windows in our home economically. We have sliding glass type on most of our windows. We need a few screens also. Thanks. anon

I highly recommend Ron's Window Center for replacing your windows. Owner, Tony Diamantine, is meticulous with his work, very prompt, and just so knowledgeable. He replaced a picture window for us that was broken when we bought our house, but Tony actually ended up putting in our baseboards, too. He is the definition of professional-- I am thrilled to recommend him. His # 510-410-3039 Jill
I have an old home which had an unusually large picture window in the front along with two side windows. Travis Eaton came recommended to me by a friend and did a great job replacing all three windows as well as custom woodworking to replace and match new siding to the old siding that is on the house. He was always on time, kept the area clean, very professional and the work was done quickly. His price was reasonable considering he is a general contractor with a history of large scale projects but will take on smaller jobs. I highly recommend him. Travis Eaton 925-899-7438. beachy5

Brother's Home Improvement Windows?

June 2011

We have an old 1920's home and are looking to replace the windows. Most are original and need replacing. We got an estimate from Brother's Home Improvement people and it seems to suit our budget. Yet there are so many options out there and we are confused. We have questions and our hoping someone went through this and are in a position to help us.
- Has anyone on BPN installed Brother's Windows? If yes, how was your experience? And how are the windows?
- Are vinyl windows better than wooden ones for home resale? The wooden ones are super expensive as we got an estimate from Renewal by Andersen and they are 2.5 times more! We want to make sure we are doing the right thing. Any suggestions or information on the same will be helpful. Thanks so much - Confused About Windows! HomeOwnerInOakland

Ok great questions. Brothers is great, the price fits your budget, sounds like the right thing for you. It's not clear why you want to change your windows though, perhaps the way through this is by putting some more attention on the existing windows. Drafty? Energy consumption concern? Easier to operate? The bug screens are difficult to use/install? Ugly looking? Some of each?

Some home buyers don't care what the windows look like during the purchase process, for some, it's one of the most important features in their decision process. Have you spoken to a realtor, or a contractor, or an architect? Pick one; these professionals are a good resource to help you quickly clarify what your options are so you can make a decision that truly fits your budget, your home and your life. Good luck! steve

Re-condition metal-framed windows & slidig glass doors

April 2011

Our mid-century modern house was built in 1960, and the metal window and door frames are showing their 50 years of wear -- some don't even open. I'm looking for someone who can totally re-condition our windows and sliding glass doors: clean out tracks, remove paint, repaint, wash windows inside and out, replace the one screen that we have, and fabricate a few more, etc, as necessary. This requires great attention to detail, but I recognize that it is a somewhat tedious task. I'd appreciate any recommendations. Please, no advice about window and door replacements. Annette

I would highly recommend Patrick Ridge (he has been recommended in BPN before)and is a licensed contractor. He often works with his brother, Nick Ridge, who is a master framer. They are a great team; and wonderful to work with! Cara

Window replacement --Oakland permit req'mts?

March 2011

I want to get most of the old, drafty, not-very-functional windows replaced on my house in Oakland. I've gotten bids from two different window replacement outfits, both of whom told me that the City of Oakland has ridiculous permit requirements for window replacement -- slightly different stories as to what would be required but the gist of it was, if it's in a bedroom, I can't even get a replacement of the regular up-and-down windows I have now (but would have to get a side-to-side opening kind); because my house is too close to the property line, I'd either have to get some weird kind of safety glass, or install sprinklers (fire issues). Anyone done window replacement in Oakland with permits and can tell me the real scoop? Or for that matter, done it without permits but has good solid info on requirements? The City's planning and building dept. doesn't have good info up on line. confused in Oakland

We used US Window Renewal (search BPN archives for the owner, Mike Castricone). Turns out we did not need permits because we were simply replacing our old aluminum windows with new aluminum windows. Saved us a lot of $. Talk to Mike and see what your options are for something that technically qualifies as a swap-out rather than actual 'upgrade' (though anything new will of course be an upgrade from your perspective). Montclair Mommy

New Windows in Drafty House

Feb 2011

Need to replace my flimsy aluminum-framed windows. Want to install double paned windows & need recommendation for reasonable, trustworthy company. Freezing in Berkeley

We would have been freezing had it not been for Baywood Building & Design installing double paned windows in our house. Robert and Jim are terrific! Jen
Hi, I posted this response regarding window replacement last week, so here you go again. And I had that old type of aluminum window replaced by nice double paned vinyl ones... made all the difference in the world... all nice and toasty! And his prices were better than two other contractors I called. I highly recommend Tony Diamantine of Ron's Window Center. He replaced my windows and several of my neighbor's as well. He is dependable and an expert in his field. His number is 510-410-3039. Pablo
Jim Cooper of Cooper Construction in Oakland did a fabulous job on replacing the windows of our 1920's Albany home with Marvin double hung windows. His # is (510) 531-2263. Will use Jim again.
We've used US Window Renewal for all of our window replacements, as have our next-door neighbors, and they've done a great job. They get a deep discount on Milgard windows, so their prices are very competitive. The owner, Mike, will come out to your home and see you through the whole process. The installers are professional, considerate, and efficient. Their website is happy customer
Please check out the BPN reviews for Mike Castricone of US Window Renewal 510.769.1546. I found him here on BPN and, as you can see from several reviews (including mine), he is excellent AND reasonably priced. Montclair Mommy
Hello ... My neighbor does 'green' restoration of windows and doors. from what I understand, he has built a great reputation and is strictly a referral based business.. here is his website.. Sara
I can not recommend a particular window manufacture, but I can recommend staying away from any Sierra Pacific Windows Products. We remodeled our home ten years ago and replaced our old redwood windows with twenty-two new wood Sierra Pacific windows. We have been doing periodic routine maintenance and painting of the exterior sills and jambs every two/three years. Last year we found wood rot and decay in about 50% of the Sierra Pacific windows that were installed. We contacted the manufacture and they said that the micro-climates of the bayarea cause the wood to shrink and expand during the year causing water penetration particularly in the sills. They claimed I should have been painting the windows at least twice a year or should have been painting the windows with marine grade paint. The manufacture's specifications never mentioned that when we bought them. anon

Reinstall a window and then repair and paint the wall

Feb 2011

Hi. We had our home painted about 3 years ago by Roger Mejia, a recommendation from BPN. He did a great job, but I lost his number. I found the old referral but the number did not work. If anyone used his services more recently, could you post his number? If not, can I get a recommendation for a reasonably priced person who would take out a poorly installed window and reinstall, plaster and paint the window wall, and entire bedroom. Thanks. dr

Hi, I am new to the newsletter, but I can answer your question: I recently converted a garage into a room and this guy, Albert, did a great and inexpensive job. I personally don't remember the price, but I remember that it was at least 10% less than the average bids. He changed the window, he painted, and he even clean after he did everything!!!!! I highly recommend him! His number is (510) 459 9453, and if you want you can mention me. Hope he will help you, Cecilia
For window replacements I highly recommend Tony Diamantine of Ron's Window Center. He replaced my windows and several of my neighbor's as well. He is dependable and an expert in his field. His number is 510-410-3039. Pablo

Editor Note: reviews were also received for Painters

2009-2010 Recommendations

Repairing steel-framed windows?

Dec 2010

We are looking into buying a 1928 house with a lot of old steel-framed, swing- out windows, many of which do not currently close properly. Does anyone know anyone who could repair this type of window (or adjust them so they shut all the way)? Are there alternative replacement windows which would be in keeping with the character of a Mediterranean-style home of this era? Any thoughts or tips are very much appreciated! Prospective home buyer

Our 1936 house has windows such as you describe. We saw a house by the same builder as ours having its windows replaced and the new ones have the same character as the originals. The house is on Vassar near the Berkeley-Kensington border. If you e-mail me, I can find out the address. Unfortunately, I didn't write down the manufacturer of the new windows but I believe it was one of the big well-known window companies.

Since you haven't bought the house yet, I suggest you ask your inspector whether the malfunctioning could be because of ground settlement. If so, be warned that adjusted windows may not stay adjusted and may in fact get worse with time.

And since you were asking for thoughts...I find this type of window hard to live with. They rust easily and I think they allow warm air to escape through conduction. Some day we'll definitely replace ours. Francesca Rizzardi

Old steel-framed windows which do not close properly are difficult (at best) or impossible to repair, due to rusting. Of course they are also very energy inefficient, being metal and single pane. It would be wise to find replacement windows.

Unfortunately, your replacement windows, no matter which company you go with, will not be (absolutely) in keeping with the character of your Mediterranean-style home. However, you can come close.

If you replace with metal windows, even though dual pane, they might look more in keeping, but are still less energy efficient than wood, vinyl or fiberglass. There are so many possibilities now it will take you a while to sort out final decisions. Go to showrooms and take the time to discover the possibilities.

Berkeley Design Center, on Adeline, has some Blomberg metal windows but you won't get a lot of help. V&W, on 7th Street, has various residential windows and the people there are helpful. Andus

Window contractor wanted

Nov 2010

Hi. I'm looking for some current referrals for window contractors, as the archives are 2+ yrs old. Anyone received good window work in the past year? Gail

Tony with Ron's Window Center (510-410-3039) installed all our retrofit windows, interior doors, trim and hardware, plus repaired the exterior redwood deck to our Castro Valley house. His prices were very reasonable and his service was excellent. He is the complete handyman performing all the tasks we needed help with around our new home. scitre007

Replacement and Installation of Windows for 1920's home

Nov 2010

Hi. We've recently moved into a cottage built in 1921 and need some windows replaced. Anyone have a direction on favorite places to purchase windows and individuals/companies who install them? We would rather go with wood. . . I think. . . but I'd also like to know peoples' experiences with different kinds (vinyl, fiberglass also) from a practical as well as aesthetic point of view. Thank you in advance for your suggestions. New Home Owner

We, too, had to replace some windows in a 1921's farmhouse. We don't have the resources to custom reproduce the original windows, so we went with Anderson windows as it was very important to us that they would blend in nicely with the style of the house. We had several options and brands priced out at Ashby Lumber in Concord, and found that Anderson offered the best value/ function/ energy ratings/ size range for the price. The windows we got are wood from the inside, and fiberglass from the outside, and we are very happy with them. As for an installer, I would like to recommend our general contractor to you, as windows play such an important role in keeping your home weatherproof and waterproof, and hiring someone who does not know exactly what they are doing could cost you dearly. His name is Andrew Sonnemann of Sonnemann Construction, and we feel so happy that we found him! His work is always absolutely meticulous, beautiful, to the highest quality standards (even to my perfectionist expectations), and very fairly priced. We just could not be any happier! Andrew's number is 925.457.7710. Happy Home Owner
We live in a 1916 Craftsman home and have done extensive remodeling. In 1994 we replaced several windows, using Marvin brand. In 2008 we did an addition and chose Lowen windows (also wooden) They are beautiful windows, have beautiful old fashioned type screens and make the Marvins look cheap. I would like to replace every window in our house with Lowen. I cannot say enough about Jetton Construction and the owner Bill Jetton, and they are located here in Berkeley. They did the remodel and installed and replaced some old windows. They are a top notch company and every employee is a delight to work with. They do big and smaller jobs and are very familiar with Lowen windows. Their website is skh
Dolan Lumber always recommends Greg Watson (GF Watson Construction). I've used him - he built my house - and he's excellent, if he isn't too busy to do the job. He is licensed, bonded and insurred -- which is important to me - - (husband being an attorney). his number is 510-223-1541 (o); 510-453-5638 (cell). PS: I used Milgard on one house, and Certainteed on the second. I've been happy with both and think they are very good for the price. Of course, if you want to pay more, Anderson and Pella are REALLY nice. Congratulations on your new house! Marilyn
I have a 1908 home in Berkeley that badly needed new windows. I am now immersed in an unpleasant legal situation, so want to give the heads up. The company, Elite Conservation Services out of Sacramento, set up a contract with me by representing themselves as affiliated with PG&E, and offering a $3000-$3500 PG&E rebate (that it turns out doesn't exist). About 2/3 of the way into the job, I discovered they have no affiliation with PG&E whatsoever, there are nearly 90 similar complaints to PG&E against them, and 10 or 11 complaints to the Contractor State License Board that have all been recommended for legal action. When I tried to resolve the situation with them amicably, they turned threatening and nasty, and it's now become a time- consuming hassle. Stay away from these guys.

Editor Note: recommendations were also received for Wooden Windows: Repairing & Upgrading

Recommendations for window installation

May 2010

I'm looking for recommendations on a contractor that can replace all of our windows and front door. We recently had a contractor come by and I didn't care for his seemingly lack of interest in the project (perhaps too small?). He seemed to think we knew all the exact details of what we wanted, yet we're so confused over all the choices/types! We're looking for someone with a more helpful nature and more eagerness to work with us on this. We're in Lafayette/Walnut Creek area. lisa

We used Sinan's Windows to replace our windows last year and they were great. Very helpful, came to measure twice, available to talk about options. They are a family-owned business in Oakland, and do work all over the Bay Area. Also their prices were very reasonable. Rebecca
the best places to get quality windows is Dolan's Doors and Windows or Truitt and White. Truitt and White however has very short hours and being a working person I could never deal with that. Dolans is They have all the great brands including Marvin. They will refer you to an independent contractor who specializes in windows, the contractor comes, measures, gives measurements to Dolan and that is how it works. The installer I have used (from Dolan's referrals) is Bryan Craig but I think they are all good. My advice is to buy quality windows as the labor is the same whether you buy cheap stuff or not. They will last you MANY years. ALSO - there is for this year the energy savings tax credit. Check that out. happy with Dolan's
call jason griffen at 510 384 0805.jason was referred to us by two of my friends, and i've since referred him to two of my friends. in fact, we liked him so much we are using him again for a different project. he was great. did all the windows in our house, gave us pretty good options in terms of cost, and told us we didn't have to replace some other, poorly installed windows (they would be fine, the just look a little crappy). the windows look great. but, the best part is when we had problems with one of the windows - it had a manufacture's defect - he came by right away and fixed it. really easy to work with, responsive to our questions, does a great job, reasonable, he is licensed. i really can't recommend him enough.
I work for a local general contractor- Berkeley Craftsmen GC and we do a lot of window replacements. We work with Roger Murray at Truitt & White 510-841-0511 for window and door sales. I would recommend the Milgard fiberglass windows because they offer split finish (exterior one color and interior another color). Ask Roger, or other sales people you deal with about waterproofing methods. Companies that offer window replacement usually remove the sash of a window and leave the frame. This way the stucco is left as is, but the new window is smaller than the original and typically a vinyl tape is run along the interior, which looks okay at first, but is not a great system for the long run. You may want to bring Roger some pictures of your exterior details. On my own house, I have old steel windows set in stucco, there is no trim and the stucco rounds into the frame. I plan on replacing my windows, but will break out the stucco and set a new window with a flange and new waterproofing, then patch the stucco. In this case, you will need a really good stucco guy to make the exterior look as seamless as possible. When we do this, it can be about $600 in stucco work around each window. ceara
We had all but 3 windows in our 1916 house replaced last year, and we used Sharon Medairy, of Professional Window (TEL: 1-800-540-7274). She helped us select the appropriate windows and french doors for each space and her recommendations were invaluable. We were trying to improve on what we had without losing the old feel of the house. She really simplified what seemed like a very complicated process for us. Every day, I look at our new windows and I am so grateful and so happy that we did it. I highly recommend Sharon, and also, she is very nice and fun! The contractor who installed them was Mike Bottini, who also did a lot of the other rehab work on our house. He has also built a lot of cabinets for us. He is great, can do anything, will do it right, and will do it for a great price. Mike Bottini is at 925-963-3458. Lynne

Needing a Window Installer

Oct 2010

Needing a good window installer for the LaMarinda area. Lisa

Try Greg Watson Construction 510-223-1541 office; 510-453-5638 cell. I have used him several times; everything from bathroom addition with new plumbing and electrical (with a NEW WINDOW) and foundation work to small repairs and painting. He's the BEST! He is so honest and reasonable and easy to work with. And he likes to get in and get the job done; no running several jobs at once, leaving you wondering when the heck he'll be done or when he's coming back. Great guy! Joan

Lead abatement - kitchen cabinets & window replacement

Sept 2009

I've got a 1930s house with some big projects. I'm looking for a responsive contractor to do lead abatement & repaint our basement and the drawers/cabinets in our kitchen. One issue is whether it's worth the cost to have someone sand off the original paint from the kitchen drawers & cabinets, or whether we have to replace them. We weren't planning a full remodel quite yet... We are also replacing our old windows, and need to find a contractor who will take out the dry rot and replace the stucco siding. The windows are old, and are likely to have lead issues as well. Any suggestions? We've had trouble finding people who'll follow through on their commitments and make sure the job is done right. Separate recommendations for painting and window replacement companies are fine as well, as are recommendations for women-run businesses. New(ish) Berkeley Hills houseowner

Hi all. When I needed repairs to my house I called Silvio Dobrovat of Hometelligent Inc. to replace my windows. I was very pleased with the results. I had Silvio and his crew paint the interior of the house. Later they removed the old wood siding, put in new insulation, installed new siding and painted the exterior. the work was excellent inside and out. Also the wood on my back porch was old and rotten so I had them build a new deck and stain it. It is beautiful. Silvio and his crew were always very pleasant, informative, and helpful. They kept the construction site as neat and as clean as possible. I am very pleased with all of the work done by Hometelligent, and I would recommend them to anybody needing work done on their home. Silvio can be reached @925-383-8163 Lupe
Silvio @ Hometelligent Inc. has done several window installations in my home recently and I want to highly recommend their work. They were very professional from start to finish, beginning with the free estimates to the last detail of work. They were quick, efficient, and extremely tidy. All my questions were answered clearly with no pressure. My windows look like they are part of the original home and there is no trace of their work left behind. Absolutley beautiful! You can reach them @ 925-383-8163 or tora f.

Editor Note: recommendations were also received for Contractors

Replacing windows in a newer building

March 2009

the windows in our apartment are old and leaky, and we'd like to replace them. we'd like to find out how much this will run for to do it well (it doesn't have to be fancy but we do want the windows to be energy efficient). looking online there are no prices anywhere, and everyone wants to come and visit and give us an estimate. so we're guessing prices vary widely and would appreciate hearing what people have been charged for what they've had done (and recommendations if you have any, of course). our building is new (1991), the windows are large but not fancy (in metal fixtures), and we'd like to pay for what is done but not overpay. we aren't savvy enough to do it ourselves and staying home many days a week for many weeks to collect large numbers of estimates is also unworkable. recommendations/advice welcome! thanks, jc

We just had our windows replaced. The house was built in 1928 and the windows were original so they were pretty old. We got wood-clad windows, no frames. 11 windows cost $12,000. And that was a modest bid. It's expensive to get new windows but it is so worth it. The house is warmer in the winter, cooler in the summer, quiet and cozy. happy happy happy with my new windows
We had our windows replaced by Viewmasters, out of Sacramento. Their phone number is 1-800-770-4420. The whole process took about 4 weeks from bid to install. The installation was done in one day. We went with vinyl, double pane, high efficiency single- and double-hung windows. We replaced 18 windows for about $7000. Lance, the owner, came out for the estimate. He was VERY professional, helpful, and on-time. The installation was fast and neat, and there have been no problems or leaks. Viewmasters has a lifetime warranty for the installation, and the windows have a double-lifetime warranty (warranty covers us and also transfers to the next homeowner) that covers everything, including breakage. Mary P.
For new windows, I highly recommend Sinan's Windows (510-654-9944) in Oakland. After interviewing several window companies that all sounded like used car salesmen and were mostly pretty pricey, we found Sinan's. They are a family run business and are really nice, efficient, and they are definitely not the most expensive. We just hired them for the second time to replace some windows and a door in our new house. In our old house, we had about 20 windows replaced. They did a great job! Happy Sinan's Customer
Hi- Peter Sontag installed a tricky security door for me. My husband and I started out wanting to do it ourselves, and quickly realized that we were in over our heads if we wanted it to actually work. Peter came out in the cold rain and did a beautiful job hanging the door. It's level, and in the same condition as when we opened the packaging. I know he also does window installations, and we plan to use him again when we replace ours. His phone number is 510-665-4500. A+C
We used Sinan's Windows and they did a great job. Everyone is super nice and the crew that installed the windows are very good. Their prices are reasonable and fair.

They have been in business for 30 + years and are family run. They are also a green business which I found out after they finished our windows. They actually give their wood shavings to local farmers for bedding. I think that's awesome!! Good for Sinan's.

I am recommending them to all my friends. AJ

Energy Designer Homes Corporation?

Feb 2009

Has anybody advice about replacing window frames? We live in a wooden 1968 house, with lots and lots of windows, aluminum frame. Despite their age, the windows are in fairly good shape, though we do have to reseal them every couple of years. Recently, the company ''Energy Designer Homes Corporation'' provided us with an estimate to install Amerimax windows. Here are the concrete questions where I would really benefit from some input: (1) They offered only Vinyl, which I don't like as much esthetically, and I am worried about how it does under lots of sun exposure. Isn't aluminum done any more? (2) Any feedback on the company? I am very concerned about them being careful with our redwood house. Have you had good experiences with them or other companies in a similar situation (similar house)? Thank you so much for any feedback and advice you can share with us.

I had ''Energy Designer Homes'' do the windows in our tract house. They told me about the quality work they do. I was disappointed on about 3 different levels and really felt burned. They had two guys come and measure but only one overworked guy installed the windows. I was shocked that they used no protection. There was dust everywhere. They knew I had young kids breathing that air. Also, they just busted out the old windows and put in new vinyl windows inside the old frames making the glass area much smaller than original. Oh, that is why it seemed like such a bargain! Now it is too dark in the kitchen on a bright day. They even did a lousy job caulking the vinyl to the stucco, with the wrong caulk. Paint would not stick to the new caulk. It looks unprofessional. What else? They used the wrong screws. The windows themselves are decent quality vinyl. The salesman was a real pro, the installation job was a bummer that could last decades. disappointed

2007-2008 Recommendations

Replacing aluminum windows in old house

Sept 2008

Hi all, We need to replace the very old, single-paned, aluminum framed (and very drafty) bay windows in our living and dining rooms in the next couple of months (or before winter sets in). We'd like to use someone who can not only install them well, but help us pick windows that will be functional and match the craftsman aesthetic of our house and neighborhood. Any recommendations? Thanks!! Cindy

We recently redid the windows on our 1940s home. Our contractor came in and showed us a variety of choices, including the one we went with. He showed us pictures of windows he had installed in homes, including in turn of the century houses. We ended up with beautiful wood windows to match the style of our house. They were put in carefully and neatly by Glen Larsen. His phone number is 510-232-9122. He also painted and did the finish work around the windows, and they turned out really nice. I can highly recommend him. Lois

Looking at Loewen windows and doors for our remodel

March 2008

We would like to use Loewen windows and doors for our remodel. Any information you could give us would help us in making the choice. We read negative comments on the web about them and their customer service, but we really like the product (unlike Marvin, they give better options in style). Thanks! Susan

We used Loewen Windows in our house and are very happy with the quality of the windows. It surprises me that they had negative comments on the web due to poor customer service. The sales rep in the Berkeley office was very helpful and even came out and met the delivery truck to assure that the correct product had arrived. She seemed to go above and beyond. Our neighbor also used Loewen for his whole house remodel and he is very happy too. We used Marvin on a different house and while the quality was good they don't compare to Loewen. Kelly
I love my Loewen windows and doors. We replaced all of our windows and doors with Loewen. When they installed one of our sliders the screen had a hole in it. I didn't notice until months later. I called and they replaced it without a problem. I think they are far superior over Marvin or Anderson. Would/will use Loewen for future projects. Carole

HomeWorks for replacement windows?

Feb 2008

Has anyone used HomeWorks for replacement windows? We are specifically interested in the Renewal by Anderson products and would like to hear from anyone who has experience with this line or company. Thanks. C

I have a 1924 bungalow in Berkeley, and most of the windows were painted shut. After pricing to 're-open' them (about $100 per window) I decided I simply needed to replace them all. I contacted 4 companies, 3 of which did not follow up after the initial spiel - I asked for references from all. HomeWorks finally gave me a list of customers in Berkeley and Oakland who I could contact. Most I just drove by, to look at, and judge the different styles. One house the woman was home and invited me in and we spoke at great length. End result - I happily went with HomeWorks, even though others are cheaper. Almost 10 years later, and other remodel projects, I can say that the new windows were the single best improvement we've made. Contact me, and I'll be happy to show you. Happy HomeWorks Customer

Want to replace some drafty original windows

Nov 2007

I need to replace some drafty original windows in my kitchen. Any recommendations? Erik

We VERY highly recommend Sinans Windows, (510) 654-9944 ( We interviewed three other places, which were mostly like dealing with used car salesmen. Sinan's is a family owned business, a pure delight to work with, their prices are reasonable, and they do a great job. Good luck!
We are now using Mike and his crew from US Window Renewal on our second project. The first was an old, sloping triplex full of rotted out windows and doors. His crew jokingly remarked that it was more crooked than the Winchester Mystery House, but all of the windows and doors came out looking great. Mike took our budget into consideration and came up with great solutions. We used vinyl windows that looked beautiful and fit right in with the converted bungalow's appearance. Our newest project is a custom door to match an old Tudor style house. Mike and his office have given us a lot of options and are really easy to work with. Mike enjoys home restoration and it shows in his work. We hope Mike never retires! US Window Renewal: (510) 769-1546. Melissa
Oct 2007

Just a long overdue plug for a wonderful window installer: T Russell Jones. I got their name from Truitt & White and have used them for two different jobs - two new vinyl windows in my sons room and then six months later for 5 new tilt pak windows in other bedrooms. It is a husband and wife team, Tim and Elaine, who are great. They actually return calls! in a timely fashion! they set appointments and show up on time! I think Tim was a contractor before (altho that could be wrong) but he takes a long time to explain his plan and opinions in a way you can understand. His crew is very nice, they clean up and if you do have a problem or question they respond immediately. They aren't the cheapest bid you will get but they are not the most expensive, and for me it was worth it knowing they would be their on time and be responsive. If you are doing windows, definitely call Tim and Elaine. Tell them Leigh told you to call. T Russell Jones 925-960-0500 leigh

Replacing old windows which vendor?

Nov 2007

I'm looking for a recommendation for a company that replaces old windows with new wood frame windows. The following vendors were mentioned in the archive - U.S. Window Renewal, Sinan's Windows, Wooden Window, Tony Diamantine. Does anyone have recent experience with these companies or experience with another window replacement company? Thanks! Rebecca

We used Bay Area Custom Trim to replace our aging old aluminum windows with really lovely Pella wood frame windows. (You can check out various Pella styles at their spiffy little showroom on 4th St. in Berkeley.) They seemed to have a good price and did a very quick, clean job. My only complaint is mostly a Pella issue -- the interior of the windows doesn't come pre-finished and a year later we *still* haven't painted them! I wish they would just do it as part of the install. Loving the New Windows
for window replacement I highly recommend Sorin Feraru - they did a wonderful job installing the windows and doors in our addition. He's a general contractor, certified in window installation. He also works with you on finding the best window suppliers in the area, at the best price. His cell phone number is 510-228-7366 cindy

Double pane windows for older home

July 2007

We're getting ready to remodel, and are researching double-pane window companies, types of frames, and installation contractors. Most of our current windows are double-hung sashes. there are two places where either 2 or 3 windows are hung next to each other, making for a large opening that we're thinking of turning into windowseats with bay windows bumping out. This would require permits, we know, and some additional construction for bigger openings. We'd love to hear from anyone who's used local contractors for similar work, or get recommendations for window brands, either wood, vinyl, or aluminum. We have an older house, and want low maintenance, easy to clean, attractive windows.

We live in a 1950's ranch house in Orinda, and recently replaced its single-pane aluminum frame casement windows and sliders with double-pane, argon-filled, low E coated double-hung windows and sliders from Andersen. We completed the project just after Christmas and man oh man what a big difference in insulating value! We chose the 400 series b/c, frankly, we liked the look of the frames and the hardware options available. We also opted for the TruScene screens, through which you can see a lot better than traditional screens. We thought about vinyl (less expensive) but were concerned about quality/longevity. We also considered aluminum, but ultimately didn't like the look of the frames we saw and were concerned about thermal transfer, as no one sold the frames with the transfer- blocking-wood-insert thingee b/c they think our climate isn't cold enough. (They should visit Orinda at 5am on a winter's morning. It's not Minneapolis, but it can be 25-30 degrees!)

We did our research at a couple of showrooms in Walnut Creek, Berkeley and Oakland but recommend Truitt & White in Berkeley (talk to Cindy). We used one of the installers they recommended, T Russell Jones, out of Livermore and would use them again in a heartbeat (925.960.0500). Eileen

V&W Windows?

June 2007

We need new windows on our 1925 bungalow. They've got wood rot and one has a broken jam. I contacted V&W based on a good review I read in BPN. The foreman came right away to take a look, measured and promised to email me an estimate by the next day... but then she disappeared. I've left two phone messages on her cell phone but no response as of a week+ later. I'm now trying my luck with Ashby Lumber and a contractor recommended by them - Charles Seames. Anon

We had a bad experience with V&W also. We called and the foreman (Lisa L.) came right away to inspect our doors. But afterwards, same with you, she never got back to us until my husband called several times (she got back to us after a few weeks when we were about to give up on them). Then when they came to do the work, they made a mess, got the wrong estimates, told us they have to come back with the right door, seal up the hole where our doors were supposed to be and left (we have young children in the house and it was cold and raining outside) and again we didn't hear back from them...we called again and again, nothing, Finally spoke to the manager. He got Lisa to call us back, she promised to get someone in that week but nothing again. We finally got another crew in after hounding her for another 2 weeks and this time they did a better job but they didn't complete the work and told us they have to come back the following week cause their shift was up. We told them that Lisa promised us that these doors were going to get done. They apologized and said they can't cause it was already over their shift. We called Lisa again..nothing..we waited another week...nothing then another phonecall, finally got her to send another person to finish up the was just a bad experience all around. We thought we were saving time by going with them even though they didn't call us back right away in the beginning. We didn't want to take anymore days off to get another company to come in for an estimate but if we knew how they were we would of went with another company cause we took more days off working with V&W than we thought. Never Again VW

Great experience with list-recommended vinyl window expert.

June 2007

We needed two cracked, double-paned windows replaced in our home. Who knew it would be such a challenge to find a reputable, professional, fairly-priced solution?

After calling vendors from a real-estate agent's list, the yellow pages, and even Google local listing we were getting extremely frustrated. The vendors we contacted all gave what seemed to be outrageous quotes. For example, one Oakland-based company estimated it would be in the ''high three figures'' and they wanted a big deposit (which we would lose if we didn't go with them) just to look at the windows.

We then followed up on a 2002 posting from the list that sang the praises of Tony Diamantine. We were a little nervous that the listing was 5+ years old, but it was such a glowing reference we decided to take a shot. Well that was the best decision we made in a long time.

Bottom line: if you need vinyl window work done, you want Tony Diamantine to do it for you.

If you are lucky enough to work your way into his busy schedule, you will be so glad you did. From our first phone conversation, through to the flawless completion of the job Tony has been an absolute pleasure to work with. When we reached him, Tony was booked solid for six weeks into the future. Somehow he managed to squeeze us in between jobs. Even though our project was quite small, from start to finish Tony made us feel like ''big job'', first-class customers.

Tony clearly enjoys his work and takes pride in his craft. It shows in the impeccable quality of the finished job. He is the consummate professional and a good guy to top it off. Like the previous poster, we could not be more pleased. We are already speaking with him to see if he can help with our parent's windows.

If you need vinyl window work done, call Tony first. His number is: 510-410-3039. The company name is ''Ron's Window Center''. Matthew

I would like to highly recommend Mike Castricone of US Window Renewal 510.769.1546 for all your window/french door needs (replacing or new construction). I found him on the BPN 4 years ago and have used him regularly since then to replace various windows around our home. He is VERY reliable,friendly, wants to work with you and help you in any way he can, and his prices are reasonable. If you want to contact me directly for more info or for references, please do not hesitate to do so. Suzanna

Someone to install douple pane low E windows

May 2007

Hi, it was 90+ outside our home during the recent heat wave, and we're looking for ways to stay cool inside. Does anybody know an affordable and RELIABLE supplier and installer of double pane, lowE windows? We had them in SoCAl and they kept the house quiet and cool. THANKS A BUNCH. ana

We found US Window Renewal here on BPN and they replaced 11 of our windows (they will do three more in our upcoming remodel). We have been extremely happy with them. I referred my neighbor to them, and they just finished some work for him too. My neighbor tells me they did a great job. You can contact Mike Castricone (owner 510-769-1546). Previous posts from BPN and all the references we called all thought he was great -- and we agree. Nina
We have had windows and a sliding patio door replaced, separate jobs, by Larsen Construction, Hayward, (510.785.7887). Compared with numerous other window companies and they offered the most competitive prices. It's a very small company and the co-owner does some of the installations. Services are professional and very efficient; european craftsmanship. Will clean up without any prompting. Huge showroom in Hayward. I would use them again. Good luck! - Elaine.

Local company to replace some windows?

April 2007

I need to replace a few windows and a door in my home in Berkeley. I'd like to use a LOCAL company and support my community. Can anyone that has had a RECENT experience recommend a reliable window contractor in the East Bay to help me with my project? Martina

Call Paul at V&W Patio Door and Window Company. They have been in business in Berkeley for almost 50 years! His number is 812-0284. We just replaced all doors and windows in our house - competitive prices and they do the installation also. Signed, Satisfied Customer
Sinan's Windows in Oakland is the place to go for windows and doors! Their prices are fair, they are straight-shooters, and they get the job done. I believe in supporting the local companies and staying away from the big businesses. These guys have been in business for over 30+ years and they know their stuff. I gave them rough sizes and they priced it out. They came out and measured my windows and patio doors before I placed my order. They suggested a few things I hadn't thought about. I had some dry rot inssues and they took care or that too. They are good, effecient and do it all. Gloria

Replacing old single pane windows

April 2007

We need to replace 11 old single pane windows in a 1950s ranch. I looked at the archives, haven't seen any postings in the last couple years. Any recommendations on companies/ contractors who have done great work? Any to avoid? Green products and companies are appreciated. Thank you. anon

Replacing single paned windows with energy-efficient double paned ones is a great step toward making your home more energy-efficient, and soundproof. Specify a Low E II rating, and you can get up to $200 in energy tax credits for your 2007 tax return.

There are many great window manufacturers; your choice will determine which to go with. For double-hung windows (both top & bottom move up & down) I have used and love Marvin's all-wood Tilt windows. These allow you to clean the outside of the window from the inside (the latch lets you release the sashes from the frames, so you can tilt them into the room for cleaning.) Other companies may have similar features.

I do not advocate the use of vinyl windows anywhere, despice their lower price. Vinyl, or Polyvinyl chloride, is made from oil, and manufacturing it results in dioxin as a carcinogenic by-product. Heat causes dioxin gas to be released, so if a window is in the sunlight, it may off-gas into your home. Also, vinyl warps when exposed to heat for a prolonged period; many vinyl windows ''fail'' (lose their vacuum space between the panes) and fog over, losing their insulating ability.

Wood windows can last 50+ years, but do require periodic maintenance. If you want a virtually maintenance free window, some companies manufacture a fiberglass model that has similar insulating abilitys as wood, with little maintenance. Most people tent to want to repain the colors on their house every few years anyway, so the fiberglass ends up getting painted. You also won't have the option of having a natural wood finish on the inside with these.

Best of luck, and feel free to contact me for more information,

-- Alice La Pierre, Energy Analyst, City of Berkeley.

I recently had a great experience with Sinan's Windows in Oakland and would highly recommend them. They are small family business and the staff is really friendly. We had 8 single paned windows replaced and we will go back to them next year when we are financially ready to do the rest of the house. They are very knowledgeable about their products and they helped me step by step. They are not pushy and in the end it wasn't as bad as I thought. They carry a lot of different brands (we chose Marvin for our house) and we are so happy with the results. I found out later that they are a green business which makes us feel like we picked the right company. We need more businesses like Sinan's Windows!
I am responding to an older posting under Replacing old windows with double-paned windows...

My husband and I knew nothing about windows except that they are VERY expensive. So we shopped around, not only for price but for service during and after the sale. We visited the lumber yards (Ashby, Truitt & White, etc..), but we couldn't get the attention and information that we needed. Plus, we had to find a contactor to install the windows after we bought them.

We also tried the other ''big ads'' in the yellow pages and really felt like the pressure was too high and they didn't seem to have the expertise that we wanted or be interested in our project.

Finally my husband went to Sinan's Windows and the owner, Sinan, the owner, spent time with him looking over our measurements and plans and was very good about explaining the different options to us. We went ahead with their company and needless to say, they exceeded our expectations. The installtation was flawless, and of coarse our windows look great! They are a great family business that really cares about the work that they do. They are located in Oakland Phone 510-654-9944 Website: Karin K.

March 2007

My wife, kids and I live in Oakland in a house built way back in the 1940s. As lovely as our house is, our steel casement old single pane windows were a drag. Every year we spent $$$s and time buying weatherstrips and everything else to keep from the draft of cold air coming in, albeit in vain. The idea of replacing the windows was a very perplexing and scary thought of how expensive it could be. Finally when we saw our recent PG&E bills sky-rocket into oblivion, my wife and I decided it was time to bite the bullet and get our windows replaced.

We shopped around for a few proposals. Alan Zweig from 'The Window Specialist' was one of them that came by, articulated flawlessly the advantages, gave us an amazing price point, and the most important part was, he knew his windows.

Needless to say, we are now the proud owners of 22 new vinyl Amerimax double-pane, double-hung windows, all installed in 1 day! Yes, 1 day. It was the most amazing team work we've seen. They are clean, very professional, extremely friendly, and made sure everything was back to normal when they were done. The windows are great, our house is so much more cozy, warm and oblivious to the noises of the world!

You can find them on: Ph: (510) 532-5023 Ask for Alan Zweig!

March 2007

We recently replaced our windows and it was much more complicated and difficult than I thought. Upon returning to work when my husband was home on paternity leave, I thought it would be a breeze to schedule tons of appointments for reps to come and explain windows to my husband. It was a nightmare.

After 3 or 4 reps came, we realized how overwhelming windows are, and, for us, we decided during this process that we really didn't want vinyl windows. Our house is a craftsman bungalow.

We just happened to be at someone's house for a BBQ and noticed his neighbor's windows. They told us about their windows and about Ralph. We called him for an appointment and my husband liked him immediately. Further, Ralph gave us the best quote of anyone for installing Marvin Tilt-pac windows in our home. For the large picture windows, Ralph's company custom built them.

We are THRILLED with our windows and my husband was able to easily install them. If you are contemplating new windows (think TAX DEDUCTION -- energy efficiency) I can't recommend Ralph enough. (510) 653-7075 Jen

2005-2006 Recommendations

Sept 2006

We're looking to change our old windows and would like to get a recommendation of a place that sells retrofitted windows and if they install them is even better. Please email me directly with any recommendations. Thanks! Martha

Hi - For retrofitting your windows, you should call Mike Castricone at U.S. Window Renewal in Alameda. He replaced 17 windows at my house, advised me on design issues, and trimmed them out so they all matched (I had a variety of wood and aluminum replace with different trims). He was the most reasonable of various contractors who bid, and was also by far the most responsive. And because I had the work done while I was away for a year, we made all the arrangements long-distance (via phone and email) to boot! In the last couple of years, I have had major remodeling done on my home and Mike is one of the most conscientious contractors I have come across. His kind of dedication is not easy to find. Contact him at U.S. Window Renewal 510.769.1546 or contact me if you have additional questions. Happy With New Windows
We had replacement windows (Marvin..I believe) put in by Wooden Window in Oakland a few years ago. They ripped out the old windows and put in the new ones for slightly under $1000 each. The crew did a great job, cleaned up every day before leaving. We are quite happy. The windows don't quite look like 20s bunglow windows, but they are double hung and close enough. The only thing WW didn't do was paint the windows. They were primed only Ray
Sept 2006

We need to change all the windows in the front of our house and are looking for someone who is familiar with the permit process in the city of Piedmont and/or general advice about our window options (wood vs. fiber glass, etc.). Thanks! Laura

We used Micah Ismaili from American Home Renewal. He brought over the 2 types of windows, wood and vinyl and provided all the tips necessary to make our decision. We ultimately went with vinyl, since there is a big difference in price but love the results. Debbie
Sept 2006

We're moving into a house that has the old metal framed casement windows. Some of the frames are corroded, rusty and even moldy, so they need to be replaced asap before we move in. Since we're not in a financial position right now to replace all the windows, we'd like to replace the rotten ones with newer more energy efficient windows that will blend in in appearance with the old casement windows. Can anyone recommend a person, business, strategy and/or product that can help us? New Homeowner

We just ordered our new casement windows to replace our ugly, metal casements in our rancher. After looking at Marvin and Anderson we happily ended up with Sierra Pacific windows

They have beautiful clad windows(wood inside) for both modern and traditional homes. I really couldn't tell the difference between the expensive Marvin (I saw the S.P. windows in people's homes). By going with Sierra Pacific we are saving $5,000+ and the savings are paying for the contractor to put the windows in!

Prior to this we never thought all these years we could afford to put in windows b/c I did not know of less expensive options like S.P. (and I didn't want cheap vinyl windows) finally getting new windows!

Sept 2006

We just had 11 new windows installed by US Window Renewal in Alameda and are extremely happy with the results. I came across info for Mike Castricone (owner 510-769-1546) here on BPN and am so thankful! Previous posts and references we called all thought he was great -- and we agree. We didn't know if we should do vinyl, fiberglass, wood, aluminum, or some combination of the above. Our 1960 house was a design dilemma that had us confused about how to maintain the original style of the home, meet safety requirements for small children and comply with egress codes. Mike and his sales staff worked diligently to present us with all the possible options and come up with a solution that worked in terms of design, function and price. He even sent a double crew to install them so he could fit in our job before his vacation instead of making us wait until he got home. His workers were pleasant, tidy and extremely detail-oriented, a must when dealing with the odd angles and construction of our slightly quirky house. We were considering a more designer-arty modern window installation company, but Mike was able to create a very similar result for a fraction of the other bid we received. That said, he is not the rock-bottom cheapest in town, but we definitely felt we got a very fair price along with excellent quality and service. rund

August 2006

Wondering if anyone has used Brothers Window Service. We are in need of new windows but have little to spend! Our neighbors used them and seems happy but I was looking for other, current recommendations. If someone has experience with another company I'd like to hear that too. Most reviews are a few years old. Thanks. Adria

Two of my coworkers have used Brothers Windows and have had nothing but good things to say. Unfortunately, they were out of my price range so we ended up using Sinan's Windows. They have an inexpensive brand of windows called Empire Pacific if you are really on a tight budget. They'll come to your home and give you an estimate. Latonya
My husband and I priced 3 different companies before we went to double paned windows (I think Brothers was one of them). We ended up using XOTek based in Castro Valley and they were fantastic. Not only were they the cheapest, but I felt like they explained things the best. I would highly recommend them. cotom
For new windows and installation, we used Ralph and Ken at Frameworks (on MLK, 510 653 7075) earlier this year. For economic and aesthetic reasons we chose to have custom built windows that matched existing ones in our 1906 Ats&Crafts house. Quality and skill of installation are above average. It was a delight to work with Ralph and Ken. Prices were competitive. karen
April 2006

This is an unsolicited recommendation that I've been meaning to post for a long time. In July 2005, we had US Window Renewal come and replace all of our windows in our 1905 bungalow. The original windows had already been replaced with some nasty 1960's-era aluminum-frame windows that leaked like crazy! The guy that did the bid was very nice, and it was actually the cheapest of 3 bids that we got including extra construction that the other 2 bids did not include. The 3 guys that did the work were really sharp and considerate of our 3 month old baby. The lead guy, Mike was really nice aand did an excellent job of enlarging one window (to make a bedroom legal) and shrinking another, (for a future kitchen remodel) not to mention getting the permits for that extra work.

jan 2006

I need to find a responsible contractor or qualified handyperson to replace approx 8 single pained metal framed windows in my home. Thanks Stacey

I highly recommend Mike Castricone of US Window Renewal. I recently worked with him after seeing a recommendation for him on BPN several years ago. He replaced 16 windows in my house, and trimmed out where there had been old aluminum windows to match the double-hung look. He also gave me the best price. And amazingly, he and I made all the arrangements via phone and email while I was spending several months on the east coast! I have been managing extensive renovations on my home and Mike has been by far the most conscientious, honest, and reliable of all the contractors I have come across. He can be reached at 510.769.1546. Sophia

Repairing/replacing metal framed windows

March 2005

Hi. We are looking to replace aluminum framed, crank windows in our 1950's Berkeley hills home. Any advice re vinal v. wood v. clad v. Milgaurd v. Marvin brands? Anyone used V&W for this type of job? any suggestions on where to purchase windows and/or installers? thank you in advance. Billie

We also replaced the 1950s aluminum-frame windows in our house a couple years ago. We used Milgard vinyl windows (with wood-clad interiors, which we stained ourselves) from US Window Renewal and are extremely pleased - energy efficient, great noise reduction, and they look great. US Window Renewal did an excellent job - fast, cleaned up after themselves every day better than any contractor I've worked with, and did fantastic finish/trim work inside and out to match our house style. They asked lots of questions to help us get the right look and stay within budget. I can't say enough good things about them! JP
We just had our bedroom windows replaced by "The Window Specialists" based in Oakland on Ford Street. They did an incredible job, from beginning to end. Tom came to my house and talked me through all of my options (i.e. wood vs. vinyl, Marvin vs. others), they gave me an accurate quote, answered my many questions, came and did the job within the time frame promised, and checked in with me about their progress along the way. The one particularly special aspect of their work is that they were very careful to contain the lead paint: they covered everything in the room (including tall bookcases) and used a HEPA-vacuum when they were done. This was important to me since they were working in my children's bedroom. Feel free to call me if you'd like to hear more (510) 465-5146. Or I'd recommend you contact them yourself and speak to Tom in person or Ryan at the office. The Window Specialist, 510-532-5023, windows[at] shirley
I posted about a year ago when I had Renewal by Anderson windows installed. I found a *superb* installer, Jason Griffin, who does window installations himself. I have since replaced over 12 windows and a sliding glass door with double paned vinyl windows with him in my Berkeley 1937 house. He is so fantastic! The installation is first rate, he is always easy to communicate with, cleans up after himself, and is so reasonable. I can't recommend him enough. If you are going to replace windows, I can't encourage you enough to call him for an estimate. His number is 510 384-0805. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me directly. Sian
Jan 2005

I am looking for a recommendation on a full service window replacement company. Preferably someone with good prices. Alternatively, has anyone had experience (good or bad) with Vinyl Designs which uses Prestige Series windows? amy

We just had our bedroom windows replaced by "The Window Specialists" based in Oakland on Ford Street. They did an incredible job, from beginning to end. Tom came to my house and talked me through all of my options, they gave me an accurate quote, answered my many questions, came and did the job within the time frame promised, and checked in with me about their progress along the way. The one particularly special aspect of their work is that they were very careful to contain the lead paint: they covered everything in the room (including tall bookcases) and used a HEPA-vacuum when they were done. This was important to me since they were working in my children's bedroom. Feel free to call me if you'd like to hear more (510) 465-5146. Or I'd recommend you contact them yourself and speak to Tom in person or Ryan at the office. The Window Specialist, 510-532-5023, windows[at] Shirley

2003-2004 Recommendations

Oct 2004

We had lots of work done on our house last year, including the installation of both Milgard vinyl windows and Anderson wood windows. Our contractor was fabulous and well-priced: Glen Larsen, 510-232-9122. Glen does almost any kind of renovation and repair, including painting. I can recommend him highly. Jessica

Considering Marvin windows for our 1921 house

July 2004

We have the original windows from our 1921 house & they must be replaced. We are thinking of getting Marvin double-paned divided casement windows. It seems that each window will come up to about a thousand dollars with all the options we need (we live on an extremely busy & noisy street). Yikes! If anybody has any suggestions about which stores might charge less for Marvin windows we'd sure appreciate it! Or might all stores charge the exact same price? I checked the Parent's advice section on windows but the postings seem to be several years old. Also, if anybody has recommendations on reasonably priced window installers please let me know. Thanks, Pat

We found the best prices for Marvin Tilt-Pack Windows at Ashby Lumber. We installed one set ourselves, and later hired Jim Cooper to install more Marvin windows because we were too busy to do them ourselves. They were pretty straightforward to install... took us a weekend to install two windows. We got Jim Cooper's name and number from the people at Ashby Lumber. Sorry I don't have it handy... The windows are really nice and a big improvement over the single-paned double hung windows. If you hire Jim to install your windows you can buy them with his contractor discount, and he'll come out and do all the measuring required to order them. candace
Aug 2003

I have agonized over getting some very old windows in my 1937 house replaced. I read through the archives and tried going to Ashby lumber, then finding a contractor, but didn't feel comfortable when the sales person only gave me two choices - one of which was her husband. I ended up getting Renewal by Anderson windows which I am happy with. The best part, was finding *fantastic* installers. Jason Griffin was so neat and conciencious that it was a pleasure to have them in my home. He and his assistant installed 4 large windows in one day. They left my home spotless including sweeping up every shred of sawdust on the sidewalk. He does work outside of Anderson, which I have already signed on for. He is incredibly reasonable, and a pleasure to work with. If you're thinking of replacing windows in your house, I *highly* encourage you to contact him. He can install which ever window/door you choose for a very reasonable price. He charges you for the materials and his labor. Jason's cell number is 510 384-0805. If you'd like any more information, please feel free to email me. Sian

May 2003

We are looking for a good company or individual who can offer replacement windows (six small and 2 large) for our 1940's home. We want them to be simple and well made but not enormously expensive. We live in the richmond/el cerrito border. We initially tried a company called ''homeworks'' but we disliked their ''saleman-hardcore-make up your mind now approach''. thanks in advance!!!! Jane

We replaced our windows with Visionplas windows. We chose them because of the product and the company. They do come out with a LONG salespitch, but the product itself is different than other vinyl windows. It is supposed to be longer lasting, made with better quality components, good security and functionality. The second reason we chose them was because they manufacture and sell the product so there is no middle man. I like that they have been around a long time and that they stand behind their products. They are the only ones that install them. You can find out more at Essentially, I believed the pitch better than the others. By the way, if you give them my name they will send me a referal gift. (Not that it has anything to do with my recommendation, but its nice to get.)

For wooden windows we had a custom single pane window made by Hansen's Windows in Oakland. We wanted a window that matched our other wooden windows, not a modern vinyl window in that part of the house. Its beautiful. Contact Hansen's Window Shop, 3600 San Leandro St, Oakland, CA 94601, Phone: (510) 261-1608 Karin

Several posters have inquired about recommendations for window installation, with one recommending Hansen's Windows. We had an awful experience with Hansen's Windows. They failed to complete the work on time, delaying by two months our move into our house. Once installed, the wooden windows did not function well, yet there was reluctance to correct the problems. The design did not match the original windows as requested. Our contractor reported that Mr. Hansen was rude and condescending to her. Then he had the nerve to harass us about paying the remaining portion of the bill when he wouldn't even bother to finish the work properly (let alone in a timely way). All in all, a very unpleasant experience to be avoided. Joe

Fiberglass windows

Feb 2003

I am looking to replace windows in my house and one of the contractors I have spoken to wants to sell me fiberglass windows. He says this is a new type of replacement window that has the feel of wood because it can be painted (unlike vinyl) but is more durable. Does anyone have any experience with fiberglass windows? Thanks. Patricia

We just got fiberglass replacement windows, and we're pretty happy with them. They look more traditional to my eye than vinyl windows, have a heft that's akin to wood windows, are paintable, and can be ordered with interior wood and/or exterior fiberglass grids for the look of true divided lights (unlike the cheesy plastic grids sandwiched between the panes of vinyl windows). They can also be clad in wood on the inside for a super-traditional look. Fiberglass isn't quite as affordable as vinyl (the company we used charged $3,000 more for 13 Milgard fiberglass windows than they would have for the same number of vinyl windows), but is about half the cost of wood windows and window frames. They seem to offer the best of both worlds: The look and style of real wood windows (but with more durability and zero maintenance) at a cost closer to that of vinyl windows. By the way, the company that installed ours is U.S. Window Renewal, recemmended in a previous newsletter. Leah
Yes fiberglass windows are the new thing. They are stronger, stiffer, better insulating, Should be great. If they are comparable in price, go for it. Tadashi

Installing new double-paned windows

Jan 2003

We need to replace our single pane windows with double pane windows, to help reduce a severe condensation and related mold problem around our windows. Does anybody have any window replacement recommendations? Any other advice about our problem and window replacement? I have looked at the information posted on the Website and found it useful but it appears to be over a year old. I am looking for experiences in the past year. kate

We just had all of the windows in our house replaced, and we were very pleased with the company that did the work: U.S. Window Renewal (510-769-1546; the owner's name is Mike). Because our old window frames were embedded under stucco, it was a complicated job, and one that a lot of companies couldn't deal with. But Mike was a total pro, knew just what to do, and was extremely helpful during the whole decision-making process. He's very knowledgable about all the different options and styles, and installs every type of window, from high-end all-wood to clad-wood to fiberglass (what we ultimately chose) to vinyl, from just about every major company (though he gets a deep discount on Milgard windows and thus offers great deals on them). His installer did great work, and Mike even threw in new interior and exterior trim at very little cost. Plus, of all the bids we got (about 6) his was near the bottom. Mike's references were also excellent. Good luck with your new windows, and if you call him tell him that Leah sent you! Leah
I had the same problem when I moved into my house -- mildew everywhere! I had my windows replaced less than a year ago by Sinan's Windows. Very nice family business, good prices and good work. The moisture problem is almost eliminated. During the winter I still run a dehumidifier in the West bedroom for a couple hours in the morning to avoid condensation. Sinans is located in Oakland, Ca Lori
We are in the process of having 15 drafty single pane windows replaced with double pane fiberglass exterior/wood interior windows. We've had 13 installed so far and the difference as to condensation, draft and sound is quite noticeable. We also choose 1 Marvin ''tilt-pac'' wood window because of an odd size unavailable in fiberglass. The fiberglass windows seem to be better quality. We were told by Green Building -- a Berkeley non-profit -- that vinyl frame windows off gas dioxin. Vinyl windows are only available in white or off-white and should not be painted. We used V&W Windows in Berkeley. The installation of the windows seems fine, but the company isn't helpful at all as to the permit process. (You will probably need one if you are in Berkeley. Provide a sketch, fill out a simple form and of course pay a fee partially based on the cost of the improvement. The sketch doesn't need to be fancy. You can generally get the permit over the counter unless you are changing sizes or making some structural change.)

Earlier Reviews

Want to replace rotten wood windows with Marvin

October 2002

We have decided to replace rotten wood windows in my house with Marvin double-hung double-paned windows. I am interested in more information about the recommendation on the website to order them through Ashby Lumber and have someone on their list of installers do the work instead of doing it ourselves -- which is fast becoming a reality with the approach of winter!! The only installer mentioned was Jim Cooper 531-2263 and the windows hadn't been finished when the recommendation was posted. I would love any recommendations for this person or other people hired for window replacement. Especially if you had to replace the whole window sill/frame and the window itself which is what I think we need to do. Thanks! michele

I recommend Paul at V&W Patio Doors and Windows in Berkeley. He can supply Marvin double-hung double-paned windows AND he has in-house contractors to install them for you. Call 843-2330. Be sure to ask for Paul. He was really helpful and great to work with. Elizabeth

Trying to decide between Milgard & Pozzi

April 2002

We're having the rusted steel single-paned windows in our 1940s home replaced with new double-paned windows, and are trying to decide between Milgard fiberglass windows and Pozzi wood windows with aluminum cladding (we already have a contractor lined up, and the price on the two types of windows is comparable). Does anyone have feedback -- either positive or negative -- on either of these windows? If you've had them installed in your house, are you happy with the way they look and have held up? Any input is most appreciated! Leah

As an architect, I would definitely recommend your installing the wood clad pozzi rather than the milguard. Wood clad is top of the line and pozzi is a well regarded company. People usually use milguard fiberglass if they don't have the budget for wood clad. Deborah, Architect
March 2002

I would like a recommendation for someone that can replace the windows of my old home. I don't need the window sash and sill replaced. I simply want to replace the sash. So these would need to be custom made to fit my windowsills. I am currently getting a bid from Wooden Windows but would like to get at least a couple of more estimates. Diana

We just got a Marvin wooden window for our bathroom. It is double hung and works like a sash window, although I don't think it has a sash. It was not very expensive either. Toby
We just had a few of our windows replaced with Marvin tiltpacks that were purchased at Frameworks on MLK Way in Oakland (near 42nd st.?) They are designed to fit into existing window frames. They also make windows there and were very reasonably price (not the cheapest and not the most expensive) and helpful. I had them build two fixed windows (double pane) for the front of the house a few years ago. They have a guy named Kim ( I think) that works there and will install them too. The Tiltpacks are dual pane so more sound proof and less drafty. Good Luck, Martha
I'm in the market for several replacement windows for my house, and compiled a list of places to look for them from the website. First, I went to Ashby Lumber. I looked around their window showroom for about twenty minutes, but nobody came out of the front office, whose door was closed, to talk to me. The man who finally came out when I knocked, Victor Kerns, seemed reluctant to deal with me. His answers to my questions were brief, and he didn't ask a single question about what I might need or be interested in.

Further, I found his attitude condescending. He said that, when I'd knocked on the door, he'd been working on an estimate for a large order, and that he needed to finish it up soon. Apparently he didn't consider eleven windows a large order, or perhaps he simply didn't think a woman might be a serious customer.

Next I went to Frameworks, where the service was orders of magnitude better. One of their guys, Ken, even stopped by my house to examine my window framings and discuss my options. Super nice and helpful, and the windows I saw in their shop looked very nicely crafted. I will probably end up using them for my windows. Cathy

Here's another negative experience on Ashby Lumber for windows and french doors. I went, wandered around the tiny storeroom for 15 minutes, looking hopefully at the salesman behind closed doors in the office, who would just look back at me and then look away. I waved my hand and asked for help. Still no response. So I left. And telephoned V&W Patio in Emeryville, who got us the Marvin doors quickly, cheerfully and comparatively inexpensively. Praise be to the free market economy!

For window replacement, check out J&D Glass in Berkeley. They replaced all our wooden windows with double-pane vinyl windows. After two years, we are still happy with them. The new windows reduced noise (especially BART), drafts, and condensation. Bill & Janet

Try Wooden Window in Oakland (, 510-893-1157). They haven't done the work yet, but they quoted us a price of $550 per window for wood-sash, double-pane windows. Tom
A few years ago I had a double-paned unit replaced by Wadsworth Glass in El Sobrante. It took two appointments: one for measuring and one to install. Both visits were prompt and pleasant, and the installer was helpful in doing a minor repair with parts he had on hand. I think they also offer a 10 year warranty on the units they replace. Lori

Which Type of Window Should I Go With?

Window Replacement Overview

May 2010

We are trying to get 1960s aluminum frame windows replaced in our 1940s stucco home. We have visited 2 window/door shops and have been shown only vinyl replacement windows -- both times they were brands I had never heard of. I am looking for a window shop that will spend the time to go through our various options with us and give us an overview of the possibilities. I am concerned about vinyl for environmental reasons, and would also like the option of window colors other than bright white. I want esthetically pleasing windows as well. Did you get windows replaced in the last couple of years? I would be interested in a store recommendation and also a salesperson recommendation in the East Bay. Window Shopper

We are just about done replacing 18 mostly aluminum windows in our stucco house with aluminum-clad wooden windows. I recommend Dolan's Windows and Doors in Walnut Creek. Michael Valentine the sales rep made two or three visits to our Oakland house to consult and to measure. The prices were competitive, and compared with working with Home Depot the process of deciding and measuring was a breeze. tvo
I replied to the other poster asking about windows, but will say the same to you. You should use Sharon Mediary to help you select the windows you want. She helped us replace almost every window in our house last year and she is fabulous. Forget vinyl windows. They ruin the look of a craftman home. Our windows blend perfectly with the age and style of our old house. We used Mike Bottini to install them. Mike can be reached at 925-963-3458. Sharon can be reached at 800-540-7274. Good Luck! Window Happy

Windows - need rec. and general advice

Sept 2009

Need to replace windows on our 100 year old house. Need recommendations - and tips/suggestions on how to judge good quality window installer. What are some key questions to ask? Things to look for? Thanks! Ellen

I posted this a couple years ago and still stand by it 100%. Please search for ''US Window Renewal'' in the BPN archives for additional positive reviews:

We just had 11 new windows installed by US Window Renewal in Alameda and are extremely happy with the results. I came across info for Mike Castricone (owner 510-769-1546) here on BPN and am so thankful! Previous posts and references we called all thought he was great -- and we agree. We didn't know if we should do vinyl, fiberglass, wood, aluminum, or some combination of the above. Our 1960 house was a design dilemma that had us confused about how to maintain the original style of the home, meet safety requirements for small children and comply with egress codes. Mike and his sales staff worked diligently to present us with all the possible options and come up with a solution that worked in terms of design, function and price. He even sent a double crew to install them so he could fit in our job before his vacation instead of making us wait until he got home. His workers were pleasant, tidy and extremely detail-oriented, a must when dealing with the odd angles and construction of our slightly quirky house. We were considering a more designer-arty modern window installation company, but Mike was able to create a very similar result for a fraction of the other bid we received. That said, he is not the rock-bottom cheapest in town, but we definitely felt we got a very fair price along with excellent quality and service. (still) love our new windows!

When we replaced our windows in our 90 year old house we used The Window Specialist. Tom was very helpful, he gave us lots of information and didn't push the sale at all. We priced three companies and decided to go with them.

Windows are a big investment, but so worth. It's just important to have it installed right to avoid any kind of moisture seepage, etc. Also important to have someone who can provide with some choice on windows and a guarantee of their work. You want to make sure they'll come back and fix any kind of problem months to years later. We love our windows. their website it Feel free to contact me with any questions. Catherine

Hello, I'm an architect and have worked on old houses for years. If you don't intend to otherwise change the exterior of your house you should look for windows that match the historical details of the originals. If that's your goal, here are some things to look for:

- If you have muntin bars (dividing the window into small panes), you would want the windows to have 'simulated divided lites with spacer bars' or 'true divided lites.'
- The width of the muntin bars should be about 3/4' or 7/8' wide which was typical 100 years ago.
- Some kind of edge profile or bevel where the wood meets the glass, not just a square edge
- You might want ogee lugs if you have double hung windows. Those are the little 'feet' on either side of the bottom edge of the top sash - see

I'm assuming you will want to use a manufactured wood window with insulated glass. Many architects feel that Marvin Windows are the most visually compatible with older houses. Another good brand is Loewen, but of course there are many others. You might want to ask about the source of the lumber used in the windows and whether it is certified sustainably harvested by the FSC (not the SFI). You should think about whether you want the exterior to be aluminum clad, fiberglass, or painted wood. Alternatively, you could go to a local custom window shop and have them simply replicate your original wood windows but with insulated glass.

There are many details and decisions to be made even in something as apparently simple as replacing your windows, so I would say that the best window installer is probably someone who surprises you with how many questions they ask you. This might turn out to be a licensed contractor, or a well-qualified installer who pays a lot of attention to detail. If you find yourself talking to someone who comes in, takes a couple of rough measurements, barely listens, and then tells you (s)he can take it from there, it's probably not the right person. BO, Architect

Vinyl versus aluminum versus wooden window frames

Feb 2009

I recommend seeking the advice of Tom From, the owner of The Window Specialist. He is one of the few amongst many people I've dealt with in the building trades that I would give 5 gold stars. Once upon a time he was a contractor so his knowledge extends beyond windows, but he only does windows, and he only works with quality products. Tom's personable and interesting, and the people he employs are competent and considerate. Tom was so highly recommended by a friend that the first time I met him was the day he came to install windows we'd negotiated over the phone. Unlike everything else I had done on my house that summer, the window installation was a breeze. I've used his services several times since, and I've always been equally satisfied. Mimi, Berkeley

Vinyl windows - bad for the environment?

Feb 2008

We would like to replace some old 1960s single pane aluminum windows in a 1940s stucco home. I went to a Window/Door store, and they are recommending white vinyl windows as an enviromnental option (due to the insulating quality, less energy will be used to heat home). My concern is the process for making the windows -- I have heard that vinyl is bad for the environment. Has anyone tried some other material such as fiber glass and if so, what were the results? The window/door places we have been to seem to be set on vinyl white. My other concern is how to tell how they will look prior to installing them...there seem to be a lot of cheesy looking white vinyl windows around, and I would like to avoid that. It would be great if there were something that could be painted to match the house. Window Shopper

It sounds like you need to read an article from Fine Home Building entitled ''Get the Right Replacement Windows'' by Daniel Morrison. It lays out all the differences in the choices offered.

As bad as vinyl is (dioxins when burned, made from foreign oil), my understanding is that it is far more green to replace with vinyl than to stay with leaky old windows.

Having both vinyl and glass fiber frames, I can say that I love my milgard fiberglass units and am rather disapointed with the vinyl. Fiberglass frames are more narrow than vinyl frames so you get more glass area and light. George

We need to replace all our windows - what type?

Feb 2008 Yikes! My husband and I have to replace all the windows in our house. We know we have extensive dry rot around some of the framings, so this job will not just involve putting in new windows, but also making repairs. Also, there are so many choices of kinds of windows, I am not sure where to begin! I know we want windows that look nice (not cheesy and vinyl-looking!), but we also have to think of the cost. Any recommendations on types of windows, reasonable places to buy them as well as a person who could do the work would be appreciated. Sarah
I have gone through this with others from this site, as I have replaced 17 windows in my old home with new wooden windows. You can save A LOT of money buy buying Marvin Windows (or even another less expensive brand) at Ashby Lumber or Truitt and White (or a number of other places) and having them installed by a window installer (they can give you several referrals to interview) at about $100 per window installation. If you go to a custom window maker like Wooden Windows the total cost will be about 3 times as much. Ruth
Depending on what kind of windows you have, you may consider a different alternative. I assume you're talking about wood windows in an old house, perhaps double hung?

If the frame and sill of the window (interior and exterior) are still in good shape, you can replace your old double hung sashes with an energy efficient product from Marvin called Tilt-Pac windows. They are custom made, but quite a bit less expensive than whole new windows, and you can install them yourself. I believe you can get vinyl cladding on them, but you can also get wood.

The way they work is, you take out your old drafty sashes and the clunky weights. You install a premade vinyl strip along the interior frame. The new sashes pop into the strip and slide smoothly up and down it in your old frame. When you want to clean the windows, they tilt out into the room so that you can wash the outside without leaving the house. This is a quality product, not cheap or cheesy looking, and they're very easy to maintain and install (if you're moderately handy). And, as I said, the cost is a fraction of what you'd pay for new windows plus installation.

A general suggestion is not to use vinyl windows of any brand. The production and disposal (incineration) of vinyl produces and releases Dioxin into the air. You may also want to visit or call the Green Resource Center at 2000 Center St. in Berkeley ( 510.845.0472). These following sites also have information on energy efficient windows.

Condensation in double-paned windows

De-fogging double-pane windows

Aug 2010

We have numerous double-pane windows that have failed (seals broken) and now there is moisture in between the panes and it's hard to see out of them. Replacing them is expensive (not to mention that otherwise perfectly good windows then end up in landfill), and I understand that there are ''de-fogging'' options out there. Has anyone tried de-fogging in between double-pane windows and resealing? Does it work? I'd appreciate any experiences you might share and/or companies that do such work. Thanks Julie

They can't be fixed. Are you sure you can't get them replaced under warranty? Many window manufactures have a lifetime warranty for broken seals. Most double pain windows can easily be removed and replaced. ANON
Almost all of the newer windows come with lifetime warranties. I have had 2 replacements (Millgard). I just contacted the company (got info off internet) and they sent someone in -- no receipts were needed, etc. It might be an easier solution than you think. Marilyn

Moisture in double-paned windows

April 2009

Over the past several years, we have slowly been investing in new, double-paned windows around our house. Every single one of them now has some moisture between the panes of the glass -- and they are not even all the same kind of window. This moisture never seems to completely dry, and even the parts that do dry have a kind of foggy stain left over. What, if anything, can we do about this? We otherwise love the windows, and the insulating benefit is very noticeable. Did we buy bad windows? Is there a fix? Thanks for any advice or info. kim

The moisture in between the panes suggests the seal has been ''broken''. That's the diagnosis I got from Milgard. My wiindows are all Milgard. They have a 'lifetime' guarantee so when I called them previously about the moisture problem on two windows, they came out to look at them and replaced the two windows that had the problem. I have a sliding glass door and two other windows that experienced the same problem recently and they will be coming out to replace them as well. You need to check the warranty on the manuafacturer of your windows to see what kind of warranty you have on them. Milgard has been terrific. margo

Repairing/reinstalling leaky windows

Window expert needed for leaking vinyl windows

April 2010

The new windows installed prior to our home purchase five years ago are vinyl and poor quality(although they are nice in appearance). I don't know the company who installed them nor the brand. A few locks are broken, one doesn't shut properly at all, and there is now dry rot around a few. The only window we replaced is wood and was also installed improperly, leaving water damage behind with the rain this winter. I am looking for someone who really knows window issues to assess the situation and hopefully fix the windows (rather than having to replace them) and the underlying wood now affected before too much damage gets done. Anyone have a good company/contractor to recommend? -blythe

I have recommended Greg Watson to several people on the BPN. He has done tons of work for me, and I often refer to him as the last honest contractor (maybe because we've had so much trouble with other contractors in the past). He's honest and he's licensed, bonded and insured (which was important to my husband -- an attorney). He always has good ideas to save us money. Other contractors will come in with a low price, and then change order you to death. I understand that sometimes there are reasons for change orders, but some stuff they should know about when they write their estimate. Well, Greg is great. I hope he isn't too busy to help you, because he did a beautiful job on my windows. You can tell him I recommended his VERY HIGHLY. His number is 510/453-5638 (cell). Marilyn
We recommend JB Construction. They have replaced our old windows with dual pane energy savers and the pricing was great, also we got back some of it from tax return. Call them to get yours done, highly recommend them. Phone number is(510) 735-4052, e-mail: Cristina

Vinyl windows that leak into wall need fixing

Oct 2009

Need a recommendation for someone to come and look at four large vinyl windows and one wooden one that leak and have affected the plaster/wood in the wall. New windows (bottom of the line) were installed prior to our purchasing this 1927 home. Some water is visable running from the corner sill when it rains heavily. The paint around three has now peeled (3 years later). Need someone to determine whether it is a gutter issue, window issue, and to do necessary repairs before the rainy season begins. Do I call a window company? I am scared that some of the windows will need to be replaced (ca ching ca ching!) but don't want the wood to rot either. Any recommendations? constantly wringing wet towels during rainy season

I can recommend the contractor I use: GF Watson Construction. He's VERY honest and reasonable, and he carries full insurance - - which is important to me. He's in El Sobrante, and has lived there all his life. I hope he won't be too busy to help you out. I think several of the parent network members have used him. Here's his information: GF Watson Construction Greg Watson 510-223-1541 (office) 510-453-5638 (cell) posted by dalberk
Get ready for the ring (of ca ching ca ching!) It is likely you will need to replace the cheapo vinyl windows that were put in before. Large vinyl windows don't work well, especially where you have gusting and wind-driven rain.

Of course you can continue to dry up the messes with towels but the real problems remain unseen - parts of the building that don't dry up so easy (like framing inside the wall). These can drive up the cost of repairs as time goes on. Good Luck! AB, Architect

Repair for incorrectly installed window

Sept 2009

Hi: We are looking for someone to help repair our front two living room windows that were installed incorrectly and now leak when windy and raining. We think the job might involve stucco work since our windows are currently imbedded in stucco. Please recommend anyone who you think would do the job well. We live in Berkeley. Thanks.

Mircea Ilie Construction replaced and installed all of the windows in my home, and repaired incorrectly installed windows in my neighbors house. I highly recommend Mircea. website: email: Phone: :: Cell.(510) 459-5502 :: Cell.(510) 575-5434 Sandy
Just a quick warning: if yours are large vinyl type windows, the problem might not be in the installation and the windows themselves should be replaced by something that will flex less and expand/contract less. AB, Architect
I recommend Idan of Bearman and Sons for this job. Last winter I realized my daughter's bedroom window was leaking and I totally panicked, thinking of the damage I WASN'T seeing inside my walls. I called a 3 handyman I found recommendations for on BPN and hoped for the best. 2 of them came in, took a quick glance and said I had to have the window replaced at a cost of between $1000- $2000. The 3rd, Idan, actually asked to see the window from the inside and the outside (and got his ladder from his truck to take a closer look), checked my walls for moisture stains and damage and gave me a detailed assessment of what he believed was going on. He didn't think I needed a new window and recommended removing the old, cracked caulk around the window and re-caulking, about an hour worth of work. He did the work on the spot and said that if the window leaked again he'd give me back my money- needless to say, the window has been leak-free since November. I've had Idan back to rebuild my fence, fix stuck doors and install a new water-saving toilet and I couldn't be happier with his work and pleasant attitude. He is very highly recommended on BPN even though the recommendations are from a while back. His cell phone is : 510 830 7927 Good luck with your windows, Mikella
For window repair and sundry plaster, paint, restoration, etc., artisan Mark Lawlor is the greatest! Reasonable prices, sensitive to environmental issues, and very personable. He's available by appointment: 510-867-0461 AA, Berkeley
I would like to recommend Sorin Feraru. He took care of the installation of the windows for our entire house.We were so happy with the work he did that we decided to remodel out bathroom after that.Sorin is very handy, is a problem solver and has great ideas. We were very satisfied with his planning the work, attention to details and the fact that he always answers his phone.The work site was left clean at the end of every work day.Also he and his crew are very easy to communicate with and very friendly.You can reach Sorin at 510 228 7366 or check out his website at
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