What are the best windows for Southern California?

When it comes to windows, you have lots of options. Window shopping could become a stressful experience because of the amount of choices you have. Hopefully we can help make this process at stress-free as possible. First off, lets talk about window materials. Here, in Southern California, we don't have extreme weather conditions as they do in high altitude regions or places which experience great variances in temperatures. Because of this, we are not constrained to a certain material we can use. In the window industry we have four main materials used in the production of windows and doors: vinyl, wood, fiberglass, and aluminum.

 In Southern California, vinyl windows are the most popular material used. Why? Because they are virtually maintenance free, they never need to be painted, they don't discolor or fade, they don't rot, and they are the least expensive. Vinyl windows come in multiple interior colors (usually white, tan, almond, or gray) and in light of recent technological improvements, the outside vinyl can be painted 22 different colors.

 

In recent years fiberglass windows have been growing in popularity amongst Southern California residents. Their strong structure and unique styles has made them popular in modern and beach front properties. Fiberglass windows encompass the best of both worlds; the look of elegant wood windows, and the maintenance free benefit of vinyl window. Many manufacturers like Milgard, have wood veneer finish on the inside of the fiberglass window and a painted fiberglass exterior which is maintenance-free. Foldable sliding door wall units have also gained traction amongst the elite of beach towns like Malibu, Marina Del Rey, and Laguna Beach. These fold-a-way units open up the entire wall to unobstructed ocean views and add a contemporary look to the residence.

 

Window Brands

Southern California's window replacement market is one of the largest in the nation. Because of the size of this unique and dynamic region, many manufacturers have tried to enter into this marketplace. Some have succeeded and other have failed. So which companies should you go with?

One stands out heads above the rest, Milgard Windows, the most trusted name in the industry. This notorious company is synonymous for its service and reliability. Milgard by far holds the greatest share in Southern California's window replacement market. If you want a brand that you can trust to be around in 100 years, this is the one. Offering a lifetime warranty to residential buyers and 10 years for commercial property owners, Milgard is sure to be a company you can rely on. Besides Milgard, the rest of the companies are really up for grabs.

 

What you want to avoid:

There are many companies in Southern California who manufacturer their own windows and are not national brands. This is not a good thing. Why? Because that company which sold you windows out of their local manufacturing plant could go out of business any day and your warranty will go down the drain. So, first thing you want to make sure when purchasing windows and doors is that you are buying from a nationally recognized window manufacturer. Second, you want to find out their warranty. Make sure that the window comes with a lifetime residential and 10 year commercial warranty. This is an industry standard so any company which does not conform to this should be disregarded in your window and door search. Third, you want to make sure that the window company is NFRC and AAMA rated. Lastly, you want to check the prices. Although all window companies buy windows from the same places, prices fluctuate greatly. Get a quote and shop around. Sometimes it pays to shop around for windows and installation separately.

 

Window Shopping

The window replacement industry is primarily segmented into two-three different price points. Good, Better, and Best. All three price points have their players. Usually a single window manufacturer will have a separate window line in each price-point category. One thing you have to decide is which price category you want to shop in. In light of the economy, many manufacturers have scrapped their “better” line window and just stuck with their “good” and “best” window models. Is their much of a difference between the two? It depends on the manufacturer. For instance, besides the structural difference in the Milgard Styleline and Tuscany series' the Tuscany series comes with lifetime glass breakage warranty. This is a great perk that you get with the Tuscany series from Milgard. So, make sure that you are truly getting something more for your buck when you spend more on a "best" window line.