Window Replacement, Installation, and Repair

Parent Q&A

Looking for Window Specialist / Leak Repairs Nov 14, 2021 (0 responses below)
Window installation Nov 12, 2021 (1 responses below)
Gorgeous old windows with lead concerns Aug 1, 2021 (2 responses below)
Replacing windows in old home to help with smoke season Mar 19, 2021 (5 responses below)
Paint vinyl windows? Feb 3, 2021 (1 responses below)
Seeking referral or feedback - Loewen window installations Oct 9, 2020 (1 responses below)
Fixing vs Replacing Old Leaky Windows Nov 5, 2019 (1 responses below)
Improving window performance - short of replacing them? Oct 28, 2019 (7 responses below)
Window Installation Recommendations Jul 15, 2019 (6 responses below)
ISO Window Repair Apr 22, 2019 (1 responses below)
Seeking recommendation to fix window leaking during heavy rains Mar 11, 2019 (1 responses below)
Glass Sliding Door to French Door Project Jan 18, 2018 (2 responses below)
Replacing old windows in Victorian Nov 24, 2017 (2 responses below)
old house, rotting windows... May 23, 2017 (7 responses below)
Replacing One Window Mar 15, 2017 (1 responses below)
Need a Marvin window installer Jan 12, 2017 (4 responses below)
  • Long-time observer, first-time poster looking for advice on who to contact and recommendations for good companies / handypeople / contractors / window specialist. Please Help!!

    After the storms and rains last week, we noticed some paint peeling underneath a pair of windows in our little one's bedroom. At first we assumed it was nothing but it's only gotten worse and now the drywall feels damp to the touch after rains. We've taken some infrared camera photos which definitely show a cold spot in the corner where the paint is peeling too. We also did the spray-with-a-hose and check-after test which seems to just further prove there is a problem.

    Does anyone have recommendations for (a) what kind of contractor / specialist would be the right person for the job and (b) trustworthy people that would be able to fix the problem? I'm really not sure what kind of service we would need. We called some leak detection specialists but they seem to essentially do the same thing I already did (spray and IR checks) and don't actually perform any work. Presumably we're going to need to take drywall out and replace window framing that's wet/rotted and maybe install new windows and/or window flashing? 

    Any help is more than appreciated. 

    For reference, we're in the North Oakland / Berkeley / Emeryville (NOBE) neighbourhood.

    Thanks in advance all!

  • Window installation

    (1 reply)

    I have bought two windows and am looking for someone to remove the old windows and install the new ones. Any recommendations would be much appreciated.

    RE: Window installation ()

    Try calling Home Depot, Lowes or Ashby Lumbar.

  • Gorgeous old windows with lead concerns

    (2 replies)

    I live in an old craftsman bungalow in Oakland with gorgeous old windows.  The wood frames are in decent shape.  But the paint is peeling, and it's pretty much guaranteed that there are lead issues with them, given the age, and they don't seal well.  I'm looking for advice about repair, lead remediation, and/or window replacement.  I do have an infant, so the lead concerns are more present than they would be otherwise.  Options I'm curious about:

    -- Replacing the windows. There are about 10 fairly large double hung windows.  But the ones we have are just lovely.  

    -- Getting them stripped and repainted in a lead safe way.  A carpenter friend has said that they should not be painted all the way down: instead they get waxed on the surfaces that slide in.  Is this a thing I can get someone to do?  I've never seen it done this way.  

    -- Plus, of course, any options I haven't thought of. 

    I'd love to hear pretty much anything about your experiences addressing similar issues.  Whom did you work with?  How much did it cost?  How long did it take, and did you need to be out of the house while the work was done?  We are moderately price sensitive (I would spend $5k on this without blinking, but not $35k.)

    With a $5K budget, replacing ten windows is off the table, so that makes the first decision easy! I would look for someone skilled in tuning up old windows--there are some recommended folks on Yelp and BPN, but since I've never personally used any of them I can't name anyone specifically. Hopefully others can. We have a 100-year-old bungalow too and did this work ourselves pre-kids using the book Working Windows (which is a terrific resource even if you are hiring someone). In general for lead-based paint, you don't necessarily need to remove it--you just need to ensure it's not chipping or grinding into dust. How feasible that is for your windows will depend on how they've been painted in the past (and with what). We were fortunate that ours had, for the most part, been properly painted, so we were able to repaint and then insulate them (we used spring bronze weather stripping but there are many options), fix a few broken ropes, and wax the areas of the sash that met one another with beeswax to get them moving smoothly. While you could strip the paint, I suspect that's moving you quickly towards the price point of new windows, since labor costs are a big factor in this area and you need someone lead-certified for that work. You could definitely put a clean intact layer of paint on, though (ideally removing the windows first). I'd start by getting someone out who is experienced working with wood window restoration and see what they say. We did opt to replace a few windows strategically where we wanted better sound insulation or where the window was in very poor condition, but for the most part kept the original windows and have been happy with that decision. The insulation made a huge difference; while the house certainly isn't airtight as it might be with all new windows, it isn't drafty anymore, and when we had an energy audit at the time, windows were not near the top of the list of recommended improvements for our particular home, so we prioritized investments in other areas.

    We have the exact same issue with 4 windows in our 1907 house.  Windows are 4 feet by 5 and as you said they are beautiful.  Cost to replace the windows is $12,500 per window.  To get existing windows stripped and rehung, is about the same price.  You could replace with vinyl replacement windows for about $1,250 each but your house just won't look as nice with vinyl.  The waxing is done so the windows slides up and down easily.  Over the years most painters just paint over it because it's faster and looks better.  But in doing so, the windows binds making it hard to open.

    Something else to consider... Lumber prices are double if not triple what they were just two years ago.  You will be paying a premium for materials.  Then there is getting someone to do the work.  We've been looking for ten years.  We can easily find people who do a crummy job and do things wrong.  Or for the people who are good, we have to pay them more than a doctor makes.  There is a huge shortage of skilled labor in the Bay Area.  If you have someone you trust and will do a good job I would hire them immediately without hesitation.  With another huge wildfire and houses burning all of the skilled laborers are going to rebuild homes in Santa Rosa, Paradise and soon where the Dixie fire is burning.  
    Best of luck.  

  • HI everyone! We live in a very old house and have original windows (1914) in much of the house. The windows are extremely drafty and we have not been able to fix it with weather stripping. Many of our windows are large double hung windows that will need custom replacement. With smoke season now being a yearly issue, we see replacing the windows as a likely necessity for staying safe in the Bay Area. Has anyone done this? Do you have a recommended company that does a good job with these custom windows in old houses? Anything you feel we should be considering?

    Thank you!

    Alas. We too have 100 year old original tudor style beautiful casement windows. Everyone comments how beautiful they are. We joke that they are purely decorative and live in fear that they will disintegrate every time a storm hits.They  don’t work but sure are pretty to look at from 6 ft away.

    Custom wood windows are very expensive. We budgeted to replace 3 windows a year because each window costs $2700. Your may cost a little less if they aren’t as ornate as ours. We used to work with the Frame Work but the owner retired. We plan to work with Hansen Wood Window for future replacements. We got a quote from them when we first began this project and they were our second choice. When the fire season comes, we put a big plastic sheet and tape them over all the old windows and doors and put an air purifier in each room. The plastic sheet balloons every time wind blows. Curse these very beautiful useless windows!

    I am almost reluctant to share bc I don't want him to get too busy, but, my window guy is really, really good. He has built custom windows for me in my home at fantastic prices and replaced broken windows. He has also done many jobs for clients of mine with rave reviews. He can do the standard, low end, vinyl clad, dual pane or he can build custom wood - he is honest, kind, responsible, and really smart. Angel Gomez, 925-250-5203 - I would text him initially, use my name, Sarah Ridge, realtor - say I referred you and please be kind, he is a hardworking guy!

    Have you tired Home Depot or Lowes?  I've used HomeDepot.  
    You didn't say, but if you are in Berkeley, better check with the city.  A 1914 house with double hung windows might have some restrictions.  We have a 1906 house in Berkeley the city has to approve the windows.  Just to prepare you, I received a quote for $35,000 to replace just two windows.  

    Good luck

  • Paint vinyl windows?

    (1 reply)

    Our almond colored vinyl windows were installed 2004. We would really like to paint them black (interior in certain rooms to start).  Cannot identify manufacturer. Most resources say “danger! don’t do it Bc voids warranty, warps with heat!” many DIYers say just go for it. But who has done it? Regrets? Advice?

    RE: Paint vinyl windows? ()

    If the sun hits it, it will probably warp and will probably need to be replaced.  If it’s a north facing window, no sun you’ll be fine.  Just depends on the exposure to the sun. 

  • Hi Families,  We are considering Loewen windows for a small addition / remodel at the back of our 1908 house.   [Our architect recommends Marvin, but we like that Loewen offers higher quality douglas fir wood for a much more reasonable cost.]  We don't know anyone who has actually installed the Loewen windows.  If you installed Loewen windows, what do you think?  Are you willing to chat about it?  Did you stain the interior of the windows?   Thank you!

    I am a carpenter/handyman who has about 23 years of experience including installing new windows in older homes. The three times I have installed Loewen windows there have been a problems with them fitting correctly. In addition, the homeowners have complained of peeling paint and broken latches several years later. In my opinion both Marvin and Pella windows are better made and I can recommend them over the Loewen brand. The Pella double hung variety have one or two handles (depending on the size) on the bottom sash whereas the Marvin ones do not and it makes opening and closing a bit more difficult.

  • Fixing vs Replacing Old Leaky Windows

    (1 reply)

    I live in a house build in 1914 with mostly original wood windows. We have some giant double hung windows and many with beautiful leaded glass. The problem we have is energy efficiency. Many of the windows let in a breeze so you can see the curtains moving and our heating bill is huge in the winter. We are considering replacing windows but have also read that "fixing" them may be a better option as old wood stands up better over time and we would lose much of the beauty of the old windows if we replace. Has anyone gone down this road? If so, do you have a recommendation of someone who does this? If we have to replace all of them, we would also love a recommendation of people who do a great job at replacing large windows.

    Thank you!!

    You may want to try weatherstripping. That should cut down on the breeze. You could probably do it yourself after watching a few youtube videos.

  • With all the smoke in the air we're realizing the house we bought several months ago is not as airtight as we would hope. The windows look to be original wood frame double hung windows. Are there ways to improve the airtightness of the windows without replacing them completely? Is it dependent on the particulars of the window - that is, some windows in better shape can be saved but ones that haven't been as well cared for have to go? At what point is it just worth it to replace them completely? 

    On the East Coast nobody has airtight windows. The houses are old, the windows swell and shrink depending on the weather. In the winter, you have to manually seal them to keep the cold out. To make them airtight just go to the hardware store and buy some window tape, and tape it around the edges of the windows. There is also something that looks like shrink wrap which you can seal entirely around the window and then shrink tight with a hair dryer. But for the smoke, window tape will do just fine, and you can easily remove it if you need to open the window. You can also buy weather strips for your door so the seal is better.

    Please, please, please don’t replace the beautiful original wood windows with ugly new ones. I know that it is tempting for energy and sound proofing reasons, but a lot can be done short of destroying the historical fabric of your house. The Berkeley Architectural Heritage Association had a seminar I attended on rehabbing and adding weatherproofing to old windows. I don’t know if they still have it but I’m sure they can point you to resources. There are also some good companies in the area that specialize in rehabbing and replacing with the old type of window where needed (if a sash has dry rot, for example).

    Good companies in the area include:

    You could use 3M indoor or outdoor insulation film, which attaches to the window frame and provides an airtight barrier. Also improves the thermal performance of single-pane glass. The downside is that then you cannot open the windows when you want to, so you could consider only putting it on certain windows.

  • Window Installation Recommendations

    (6 replies)

    As a new home owner in Oakland I need to install some new windows. We are planning on buying Marvin windows with wood inside and aluminum cladding outsides. We plan to buy the windows on our own but will need to hire a contractor to install and take some of the exact measurements. 

    Can anyone recommend a contractor or installation to help with this. 

    Thank you,


    Call US Window Renewal.  We got pricing from the big players - Ashby, Truitt and White, etc. on buying them ourselves and US Window was literally only $2K more installed.  They are expert installers, and you'll find reading online that 90% of issues with windows are poor installation.  Michael and his installers are absolute professionals and great guys.  Literally - our windows were installed the day I came home from the hospital with my newborn son - they worked around us, were super quite, and the house was cleaner than when they arrived when they left.  Our windows are perfect - not a single issue or problem.   FYI that I would not go aluminum as the quality is crummy.  We did the wood interior / fiberglass exterior (integrity line) and they are phenomenal.   Combined with insulation from McHale's our house is so quiet and stays much warmer in winter and cooler in summer.  Best investment we ever made - and between windows and insulation we got a $7K refund from PGE which covered the full cost of the insulation work!  (McHale's does all the energy audit work pre-windows/insulation and after and submits for you!).  We used Michael's recommended painter - Custom Painting out of Livermore, CA for painting windows to match our trim and they were fantastic and affordable too.

    Last year I hired Ken Gillett to install some Marvin windows and he did a fine job so I am happy to recommend him. His number is: 510-981-9725 office or 510-415-1944 cell phone. I understand he installs doors as well so you might ask him about that.

    hi, I just had this done in my Berkeley home last month, also with Marvin windows. 

    I went to Truitt and White -- they have a list of contractors they work with to install their windows. I asked for someone with a lot of experience installing windows who would be likely available, very competent, and easy to work with-- they recommended Jay Brusseau (415) 519-6558-- he did indeed fit my description! He has been doing this work for a long time and seemed very confident about how to get things done efficiently and well. He had one younger assistant who was also very nice. Priced reasonably as well and did an excellent job cleaning up. I had a few issues I asked him to rectify (eg. placement of window shade when they were done, etc) and he was happy and quick to address these. Overall it was a pretty painless experience and i am loving my new windows! good luck!

  • ISO Window Repair

    (1 reply)

    My Family just purchased a house that has many window maintenance issues.  Windows painted shut, poorly sealed windows, exterior water damage, etc.

    I am in search of recommendations, or otherwise, for handypersons / contractors to work with specifically for windows.


    RE: ISO Window Repair ()

    Andersen Renewal will come out to your house at no cost and give you an estimate for replacement windows. The other major window manufacturers also have replacement window divisions, which are probably worth looking into. Good luck.

  • Our downstairs bedroom window has been leaking during heavy rains. The exterior is stucco, but it seems to be intact around the window. It's our only window that doesn't have an overhang to protect it from the weather. The water seems to be dripping onto the top of the window from inside the wall and then leaking into the room. Does anyone have a recommendation/advice for someone to diagnose the leak and repair it?

    Are you sure you aren't seeing condensation? We have big single-glazed panelled windows at the front of the 1926 house we recently moved into. During the cold wet nights of February, the temperature differential caused enough condensation on the inside window surface to drip puddles onto the floor. We thought the windows were leaking until we realized what was happening. (Our blinds got moldy, too, so we'll have to replace them. Ugh.)

  • Glass Sliding Door to French Door Project

    (2 replies)

    Hi - we would like to get an old, malfunctioning glass slider replaced with a set of french doors in our house. Is this a glass company job, a handyman job, or a contractor job? Any professional in those categories you would recommend? Is this is the $2-3K ballpark? Thank you!

    If it's a non-standard size you'll need a window/door maker who can make the doors for you and install them. We had to shop around a lot to find someone who could do it and we hired Wooden Window ( and liked them. We paid about $3k, including installation - our doors are small, so it might be a bit more for more normal sized doors. I think if it's a standard size you could probably buy doors at home depot or something and hire a handyman, and I'm sure it would be cheaper! 

    I'd call Mike Flynn of Smith Weatherstrip. He knows everything about doors and windows. He did great work for us on our french doors, and I'm pretty sure he can build them as well as repair them.  510-547-6224.  

    I got a quote from Wooden Window to fix one of our windows and it was literally 10x what Mike charged, FYI.

  • Replacing old windows in Victorian

    (2 replies)

    We are looking to replace the windows in our queen Anne Victorian. Has anyone had the windows replaced in an older home? What was your experience? Who did you use? Thanks!;)

    I did a window replacement project in my one-story stucco home this year. It was an experience! I got 5 estimates and learned a lot - too much to summarize in this message. If you want to talk about it, send return email.


    I've had many windows tuned up and/or replaced in my 100-year-old home over the past 20 years. First of all, I recommend that you get more than one bid - look on BPN and Yelp for places to call and check references. My second piece of advice is: be aware that even wooden windows that are more than 100 years old can still be sturdy and robust and don't need to be replaced, but just need new hardware, or need to be shaved down here and there to fit better so they open and close properly. So you don't necessarily need to rip them out and put in new windows. Often staying with the original windows is a much better option, financially and aesthetically. 

    I have used Wooden Windows several times over the years. They do high quality work and I am very happy years later with all the windows they have worked on at my house. However I do think they are more expensive than necessary. And their process is irritating. For example they send out someone to look at everything and give you an estimate, but the actual workers don't seem to have gotten the memo about what it is you want done, and how you want it done. So you do want to be there when the workers arrive. Also, sometimes the workers have good suggestions that make more sense than what the original estimator recommended, so you need to be there to approve changes. One time, work that I discussed with the estimator was not included in the final bid, and I was not careful enough to verify it was there. However, despite these irritations, I have been very satisfied with the final product. Wooden Windows workers are very skilled and they really know what they are doing, and I will probably call them again the next time I need a window repaired or replaced. 

  • old house, rotting windows...

    (7 replies)

    Hi, fellow parents-- 

    our house is about 90 years old and is definitely showing its age. In particular, it still has many of the original windows, which while charming, are definitely in bad shape. Some are fogged up, some have frames degraded by rot; none of them are particularly energy-efficient. So something needs to be done, but I am overwhelmed by the possible choices as well as the expense. From what I have read, I could replace them with variations on new materials (vinyl, wood-clad vinyl, fiberglass, etc) or I could have them repaired or replaced with new wooden windows, which would be more true to the heritage of the house. And there are a lot of windows which need fixing or replacing (like about 25-30), so this is a big decision. In the end, I would like them to look nice, to suit the house, to work efficiently, to not involve too much maintenance, and of course, not to cost too much! 

    I would appreciate hearing from others who have done through this decision process...  thanks!

    RE: old house, rotting windows... ()

    Hello, I know it can seem overwhelming, but you are asking the right questions! As a Realtor with 25+ years of experience in helping homeowners work with various tradespeople to improve their property, I can tell you that all of your concerns are valid. New windows are expensive, and it is important that they are consistent with the architecture of your old home. My advice is to avoid all-vinyl windows if at all possible. Marvin and Andersen are your best bets for dual-pane wood windows. I would encourage you to consider leaving the interiors natural wood (seal, and stain if desired to coordinate with existing woodwork already in your home, such as wood floors or trim), and have the exteriors metal clad in a color that also coordinates with your exterior (depending on whether you have wood shingles, painted stucco, etc). If you go to the Truitt and White window showroom down on Hearst, the customer service there is excellent, and you can see different window styles and options for exterior cladding. For window installation, I like Rick Hoffman, here is his Yelp page: I am also happy to drop by if you would like me to take a look, no charge, just advice (Holly Rose, Realtor). If you want somebody to just work on the old windows you have -- repair, adjust, rebuild specific wood sashes, replace counterweights etc, I like Darryl at the Window Shop: All of these resources are tried and trusted by me for many years. Good luck!

    RE: old house, rotting windows... ()

    I've held onto our wooden windows for the 25 years we've lived in north Berkeley. We have a stunning view and so I avoided double pane windows up until the last winter. I'm planning to replace all windows and French doors with energy efficient, modern, and technologically advanced products. Truit and White are my go to window people. 

    RE: old house, rotting windows... ()

    I suggest you call Truitt and White Lumber Co and ask to talk with the door and window specialists. They can recommend several good quality contractors for you to contact regarding your situation. I have used their services many times and have always been satisfied. In addition, my wife and I replaced many single pane windows in our house with Marvin Integrity double pane ones made of fiberglass on the exterior and wood on the interior about 9 years ago and they have held up extremely well.

  • Replacing One Window

    (1 reply)

    We'd like to replace a second-story window in my son's bedroom. We are also interested in some kind of safety screen that locks so he can keep the window open while playing in his room in the warmer months. The window faces west, so we would also like some kind of UV-tinting, whether as part of the new window or added on as a separate treatment. I've contacted many of the recommendations from the archives, including A-TaylorMade and Bestoff. Everyone I've talked to so far has a four-window minimum order. Can someone recommend someone who would do good work with a small order like ours? We're in Berkeley. Thank you very much.

    RE: Replacing One Window ()

    We used the Window Shop in Concord ( for a one-off window replacement and were very happy with their work. We had them replace a wooden window and match it to the rest of the house, but I believe they offer a range of window types. They were also among the more affordable estimates we got, so definitely worth a call!

  • Need a Marvin window installer

    (4 replies)

    I'm buying a Marvin clad window to replace a very old broken one. Truitt and White only has one recommendation of someone who was experienced in Marvin installation and had done the Marvin training. He lives in Marin and I'm scared to hear how much it'll cost. Looking to get more than one bid. Thanks!

    RE: Need a Marvin window installer ()

    We just installed phase I of our total window replacement in our small Berkeley stucco bungalow. We are installing all Marvin windows with the exception of the bathroom and bought them through T&W. Our installer is great and has lots of experience. His rates are fair and he has (so far) only asked for progress payments (no surprises). His name is Troy Wilson (Wilson construction). We got his name from a list from our T&W salesperson (Gary Nosti). I'm sure lots of other GCs around here have Marvin experience. FWIW, our installs are a mix of inserts and "new construction" - breaking stucco, re-flashing, repairing any framing, etc. 

    RE: Need a Marvin window installer ()

    We're in the process right now with Carol at Winning Windows.  Their quote was more reasonable than others.  Our project includes Marvin clad.  They haven't done the install yet, so I cannot speak to that.

    Their telephone is tel:510-338-1234

    good luck!


    RE: Need a Marvin window installer ()

    I have hired T. Russell Jones to install some Marvin windows and he does a fine, thorough job. Installing a new window in an existing opening is the same as installing a new door. It can sometime be quite time consuming as the opening may have shifted over time and the new one has to be adjusted to fit properly. New window installation is not inexpensive as it can be a lot of work. Call Jones and ask him for a bid as he might be less costly than the person from Marin. His number is: 925-960-0500.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Advice & Recommendations Related pages More about Windows

2013 - 2014 Recommendations

Windows and installing company recommendations?

Aug 2014

Hi, We just got estimates from 3 window people and are looking for current feedback. If you have any experience (both good or bad) with these 3 organizations please respond to the list or directly: #1 Bestoff Windows #2 A Taylor Made #3 ABC Window thanks in advance!

A Taylor Made Window is great - family owned business that honors their guarantee. Tricia

I cannot speak highly enough of A-Taylor Made Windows! We decided that we needed new windows for our house about 6 weeks before our daughter was born (this past February). Since we didn't have any time to shop around we went to A-Taylor Made based on past BPN reviews as well as Yelp. They were nothing short of amazing. They realized the importance and urgency of the situation and worked hard to get it done as quickly and easily as possible. I worked mainly with Kathy, who owns the company with her husband. She is the sweetest, most thoughtful lady! Everything she did was in our best interest, down to insisting I wear her sweater while we looked at windows in their uninsulated showroom. They could've charged us whatever they wanted, since we had a deadline and didn't really know what the going rate was. But based on the little research I did, they were very reasonably priced. Kathy said it might take two days, but they did our entire house in one day. They even brought in extra workers in the afternoon to finish. Again, Kathy was very aware that 2 days of window installation would be stressful for uber-pregnant me and put a rush on the job. It's a good thing, because our daughter came a week later; one week before her due date! It was so refreshing to work with a company where you don't feel like they're trying to take advantage of you. I could go on and on about all the great things A-Taylor Made did, but hopefully you get the idea. Leslie

Replacing Doors & Windows

July 2014

Hello, I would like to replace our glass front door with a solid one, and our aluminum windows with double-paned ones. I am looking for a licensed contractor who specializes in this work (or at least is very experienced). Please let me know if you have someone you can recommend. Thank you Steph

Chris Wright Reliez Valley Builders 925 932-8228. They did our windows last year and they did a beautiful job. They are currently working on our house on another project. Joyn Badger, 925 370-1959 also did a window and a door for us. He did a fabulous job. We couldn't use him the last time because he was busy. Home Beautiful

Garage needs a window

May 2014

We have a semi-finished garage and want to add a largish window for some ventilation (currently there are none). Does anyone have a recommendation for a reliable contractor and/or carpenter to install a new window? windowless garage

Highly recommend Xotek. Good selection, great work, fair prices. Family-owned business run by sister Maggie and brother Sam. I have been very happy with the windows they put in my garage and my house. They installed windows in my neighbor's house too. (510) 538-1987 Barbara

i'd like to recommend Colin Johnston of Liu-Johnston builders 510 206 9121, for any building project. we've been very pleased with his impeccable work on our home, honest, reliable, experienced, and pleasant to have around.

Windows and doors need replacing

March 2014

Seeking recommendations for good window and door installer. Need replace several large and two arched windows and double doors in Berkeley. Please respond if you know of someone reliable, competent and reasonable. Thank you Jan

We used Peter from - excellent work, reasonable price. Andrew

Need to replace windows at home

Oct 2013

We bought a house in the Laurel district in Oakland and with today's rain, we learned that two of the windows leak and three other windows will start leaking any time soon. They are the original windows (house was built in 1937) so I guess it's time to replace them. We are first time owners and have never had to take care of something like this. I checked the Berkeley Parents network for recommendations and only found one recent one, but that company gets too many mixed reviews on Yelp, so... Here I go!

Have you had to replace windows in your house? How was your experience? Are there things you wished you had known/asked/considered before starting the job? Any unexpected issues during or after installation? Do you know where to buy affordable windows? And a contractor/company that could instal them? We are handy but definitely not qualified to do such a big job. The windows we need to replace are in the living and dining rooms so we want to make sure they look good, of course. Thanks so much! Mom seeking new windows

We used US Window Renewal when we had a similar situation (leaky windows). Mike did a great job laying out the options and then putting in the windows, which included repairing some rot in the sills from the leak. Happy customer

We spent several years trying to figure out how, what, who, when we decided to replace all of our leaking and drafty,ancient, aluminum windows. My husband and I finally found someone via 'angie's list' (if I'm allowed to say) and we had the BEST experience with this company after getting totally confused with how to go about it and feeling a bit lost after going to some window retailers that sold so many different brands/styles/costs.

They were very nice, incredibly efficient, always cleaned up and explained everything in plain language. They use a local company (Simonton, in Vacaville) that actually makes the windows and then these guys measured, order, install. It's probably one of the best purchases we've made on our house. I highly recommend them!! lisa

Before you replace the windows, have Mario from Wood Window Warehouse ( give you a quote on repairing the old ones. I think they would also be able to give you a quote on new ones, if repair is out of the question. They are really reasonable, and they do wonderful work. I bought an old Victorian a few years ago and WWW fixed all the broken/failed double paned windows and bad hardware that needed it for a fraction of what replacing them would cost. Mario is my go-to guy for windows and doors! Lisa

Regarding replacing windows. Places with a good reputation are: A Taylor Made Window at 510-559-5530, Wooden Window Warehouse at 510-652-1662 or Truitt and White Lumber Co. in Berkeley. The last one has a separate window and door showroom where you can look at many models and they will recommend installers. As long as you are replacing existing ones, give some consideration to using double-pane ones they are really great for keeping out noise and loss of heat in the winter. Roger

we used the window guys that contract through Home Depot for double paned windows. Our home is newer - built in the '50's so there may be some different issues as far as construction and window frames go but I think they are worth looking into.

Another thing to consider is that you may simply need a good paint job with thorough prep and some caulking. I just had my dad's house painted (built in 1908) and as it turns out the flashing around the window frames of these older homes was put on the outside of the siding so if the paint job isn't intact, the place leaks badly. I had it painted last summer and had no problems with the most recent storm. Don't know if this is the case in your '30's home but it is worth looking into. good luck

Replacing windows can be a very expensive venture. You did not say where/how your existing windows leaked. You also mentioned that you 'bought' a house. Did you just buy it? If so did you get a house warranty? Or perhaps you have rights against the seller. Any how, depending on the type of windows you have perhaps you can just replace the sashes. Are you going to go with dual pane/double glazed? Not really necessary in this climate, but it is what most will sell you if you are replacing the whole window. Are your windows facing south? High sun impact? These are considerations for type of glass and type of materials. Is matching architectural style important? Are you going to keep the same style of window as the rest of the house? I've replaced all the window in my 100yo+ Victorian by just replacing the sashes. I did not go with dual for a variety of reasons, and I did the work myself. There is the Marvin and others, 'tiltpac', replacement method. But this is for double hung. I just installed Milgard vinyl windows in a house in Tahoe, and it was not too difficult. I'd never done that and just figured it out. Another issue, and that is a legal one, technically you should pull a permit to change out windows, pretty bogus if you ask me, but I've heard horror stories of neighbors ratting out neighbors for not pulling permits. I've used 'the Wooden window Warehouse' in berkely/emeryville, and Mario has a good shop. Not the cheapest, but he has worked with me on my projects. If you go wood, they seem to build a good product. lastly, as water leakage is what brought you here, just make sure that whoever, however you proceed, make sure that they properly seal the window casing and use proper flashing. Both of the houses I worked on are were over 70yo and they did not use fancy modern materials, but they never leaked. Good luck, Tim

We have a 1940s home and replaced our old windows with new vinyl double-paned windows. The company was XoTec ( in Castro Valley. Came out and gave a quote, very knowledgeable and well priced. We took his advice and did not add strips to make the windows look like our original windows. I was worried we'd lose some exterior charm with the new windows, but they look fine and the sound/heat insulation are so worth it.

Urban Ore came and took our old windows - call them to check if they want them and make sure XoTec knows that someone is going to take them. The installation went smoothly; like anything you need to double check the work and make sure it meets your standards. (As a side note, when we renovated our kitchen, Ohmega Salvage came and removed and took away our cabinets.) Less in the landfill! No Pane, No Gain

We had several windows replaced in our home in 2012. There were two large living room windows with 1940's style panes, three bedroom windows, and a bathroom window. The total cost was around $10,000 (we choose fairly high quality windows). We used Bob Spiers at Elegant Entries. I think I found his name on this site. He is based in Pinole, I think. His number is 510-262-0530; email is spiers [at] He was excellent. He was professional and responsive. He helped us choose windows, handled the ordering, and then did an excellent job on installation. Afterward, he followed up by email to make everything was fine. We had a problem with the catch on one window. They were under warranty, and he arranged for a representative of the Marvin company to come by and make the necessary adjustment. In general, you should expect good new windows to be quite expensive; cheap windows are, well, . . . cheap. I would recommend that you ask about warranties and only choose the ones with lifetime warranty. Several years ago we had other double-paned windows installed by a local company that is no longer around. Several of them went 'foggy' which is a frequent problem with double-paned windows because the seals can break. Get the ones that are warrantied against this problem. Kim

Repairing double hung windows - weights & ropes broken

Sept 2013

We have several double hung wood windows in our 1920's house where the ropes and weights are broken. This makes it difficult/impossible to open these windows. Does anyone have any recommendations for repairing these types of windows? Thanks. Daniel

It's actually really easy to do this yourself. And cheap. And satisfying. I've done it many times over the years and I'm not really that savvy about repairs.

The problem most likely is that the rope holding the weight has worn through and you need to replace it. The weights are basically immortal - they are made of cast iron. But the ropes are made of cotton and they eventually give out after a few decades. Go to the hardware store and buy sash cord. Or get it on Amazon. It's five or ten bucks. Now pry off the trim on the inside of your window frame that covers the rope and pulley mechanism. You'll probably need to fish out the weights - there will be two of them per side. Take out the old cord, put in the new cord. Put the trim back on. You're done! You can probably find a youtube video that shows how this is done.

By the way, I don't recommend the newer tape sash mechanisms. I let a contractor talk me in to installing one on an existing window, and they also came on two new windows that we had installed. They do not work smoothly. You really have to push hard using both hands to get the window up. This is true when they are brand new, and it's still true 10 years later. The old rope and pulley system works so much better - I can open all my old windows with one hand. I really regret replacing the pulleys and weights on that one window with a tape.

Dave Wingate savvydavid [at] (510.290.1289) fixed our old double hung windows a couple years ago, and he did a fabulous job. One is broken again, but that's just because the windows are 90 years old, and we're just trying to keep them functioning as best we can. Dave also reconstructed our front gate and fences, and evened our kitchen floor to level our stove. Dave's terrific, and we hope he can help us with other tasks. He's quite busy so you may have to wait a bit. MG

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.

2010 - 2012 Recommendations

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

Wood Window Replacement in older Alameda home

Nov 2012

I am looking to replace existing windows with wooden windows in my older home in East End Alameda (Fernside District). What have been your experiences? Thank you drafty windows

We used Frameworks in Oakland to replace the windows in our East End bungalow and we are *very* happy with the results. Ralph really knows old houses. The results look great, and the improved performance over the dreadful aluminum windows we replaced is huge. Frameworks, Oakland, (510) 653-7075 Anon

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 Refinishing and Restoration

Aug 2012

We're looking for an experienced person (not just a handyman) to work on the interiors of our living and dining room windows: to restore and refinish them. These are original, small-pane windows (probably redwood) in our 1920s era modest craftsman style house. They're just beginning to deteriorate. Bill

Erwan Illian does excellent work restoring windows. His phone number is 510-847-2898. He is a finish carpenter and does extremely professional work restoring damaged/rotten wood and replacing glazing. He restored a window for us and it is impossible to tell where he replaced the rotten wood. He also works to keep costs down. We have had a lot of contractors work on our older house and Erwan is at the top of that group for quality of workmanship. Anon

Last year I did some renovations on a home in Stockton that has been in our family since my grandfather built it in the 1920's. I couldn't find anyone in Stockton willing to do sash cord repairs, so I broadened my search and found Rick Hamilton, aka Rick the Window Guy. He had very positive references and was willing to travel to Stockton.

It was a big job on a 2 story house, but Rick was flexible so fixing the windows was affordable. Some had broken panes, others needed new cords or locks, and the majority of them needed new putty. In the end 32 sash cord windows that had been painted shut were operable. Rick worked without any on site supervision, and I was 100% satisfied with the work he did. Rick is passionate about old windows. He knows what he's doing so things progress smoothly. He doesn't leave a mess behind, he's affordable, and he's a very nice man. His phone number is (707)799-3349 & his email is ablehandy1 [at] Old house Owner

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 powerlabor [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: david.huff [at] 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 tdiamantine [at] 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

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 fran [at]

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, on 7th Street, has various residential windows and the people there are helpful. Andus

Where to buy refurbished windows?

Dec 2010

We just bought a house in Berkeley (who would have thought!) and are working with a contractor on a few projects, including replacing some windows. I'm looking for some recommendations for where to buy a few things in the area, as I haven't come up with much from Yelp or Google. Some (refurbished?) used glass for replacing windows. The house was built in the 1920s and we would like to stay true to the aesthetic, although our budget is limited. Thanks for any ideas or recommendations! clueless about home renovation

I suggest you check out the salvage yards, Ohmega Salvage, Ohmega two, and Urban Ore. Also if you are clueless about home renovation, go to the Building Education Center for classes that are geared toward homeowners and amateurs who wish to learn this stuff. Good Luck! Andus

Urban Ore off Ashby near San Pablo in Berkeley has tons of used windows and always a few cast iron bathtubs (they might need refurbishing though). Ohmega Salvage on San Pablo between University and Ashby always has a GREAT selection of cast iron bathtubs in different styles, refurbished and not refurbished ones, and they also have someone on site who does the refurbishing in case you favorite tub is still in its original condition. Good Luck!

Check Urban Ore on Ashby Av. near the freeway for your windows. I have bought salvaged doors there - they have a LOT of stuff. Just be aware that old houses have settled over the years and are no longer square, same for old windows and old doors. So be prepared to pay for the contractor's time to fit the old window to the old window frame. Buying pre-fab windows that look old may be cheaper. Ginger

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 use Wooden Window whenever we need windows on a project. David Huff the owner is extremely knowledgable and will advise you on what would be the best type of window to use on your project. He is quick to respond and they have great customer service. David Huff Wooden Window 510 350 3912

We just had the windows in our 1918 bungalow replaced. We changed out the terrible single-pane aluminum trimmed windows for *lovely* double-pane wood trimmed windows and are thrilled with the change. We had our windows made by Ralph Torres of The Frameworks in Oakland (510-653-7075). He knows old houses and has a great eye for detail. We had them installed by the contractor that Ralph recommended (Dave Grubb of David Grubb Construction in Berkeley; 510-334-1275), and really appreciated the knowledge that both Ralph and Dave had of homes from that era. Good luck! Happy New Window Owner

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, and offering a $3000-$3500 PG 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 whatsoever, there are nearly 90 similar complaints to PG 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

I had an excellent experience working with Charles Seames of Sequoia Pacific Construction. I have an old home (circa 1906) in Oakland and had five of the drafty, original windows replaced. His was the second (and lower) of two bids I received. I certainly appreciated the lower price, but even more, I appreciated his clear communication, easy-going yet professional manner, and excellent recommendations. The windows look great, and the inside temperature of the house has gone up by about 5-6 degrees on cold days. I'm very pleased. Charles' contact information: 415. 378. 8031 or charles.seames [at] -Kathleen

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

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

Repairing broken double hung windows

May 2010

We have several 88 year old double hung windows with ropes that have snapped, and various other old window ailments. Our housepainter (who broke a couple of these!) feels the windows are repairable, and we'd appreciate recommendations for a window specialist handyman. The BPN website has lots of recommendations for window replacement, but not much on wood window repair. Thanks. maryl

I had a bunch of double paned casement windows repaired by Mario at the Wood Windows Warehouse They saved me tons of money not having to entirely replace the non-functional windows in my new house. Some windows needed to be replaced, some just needed new locks and hinges. I am sure he does double hung as well. he will come out and give you an estimate. The estimate and final price were the same for me. happy customer

I would call the Building Education Center (525-7610) and ask about David Clark. He teaches a class called WINDOW AND SASH REHABILITATION. If he does not do this anymore, he would probably be able to refer you to someone. AB, Architect

Which Window Replacement Option?

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

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: powerlabor [at] Cristina

2007 - 2009 Recommendations

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: mircea_construction [at] 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contractor to replace windows in old house

June 2008

Hi- I am looking for a contractor for 6-8 new windows to be installed in our 1920's home. I have found some replacement contractors in the archives, but not so many recent referrals for all-new installations in an old house. Unfortunately the previous owner removed 75% of our old windows AND the frames so we need to buy all new replacement units. This entails not only new trims inside and out but breaking our stucco exterior and then repairing it by patching- hopefully matching the finish! If you've had a similar install and have a good recommendation or advice please let me know- we're desperate for a high quality job! So far I've had 2 window installation companies come out and I wasn't impressed with their proposals- I'm not feeling like I am going to get a finished project with high craftsmanship out of them....Thanks pam

I highly recommend Andreis Filtis, 415.867.2258. He is a licensed contractor who's happy to do smaller jobs and competent to do larger ones. He is reliable, communicative, easy-going, and quality-oriented. Unlike other contractors I've worked with, he and his assistant don't make a racket and clean up their mess every day. He's a good problem-solver and does everything well, from structural work and sheetrock to cabinetry and painting, without a slew of subcontractors (one exception is electrical work). I would work with him again in a heartbeat! Good luck. Terry

Funny that your question should come up right now. I am just having Marius Construction finish installing duo pane windows in my Craftsman style home. The work is great! This is the second time I have hired Marius to work for me-his crew are hard workers, polite, and highly skilled. They even milled the trim to match that of the rest of the house which was built in 1910. They arrive on time every morning, clean up after themselves every day, and the job is done on time. The prices are extremely reasonable and the finish work is very fine. You couldn't ask for a better experience with a contractor. You can reach Marius at 510-828-6551 Susan

For all sorts of window installations I recommend FrameWorks on MLK near the Childrens Hospital. Ask for Ralph. They've done numerous windows for us and for some of my clients. Tom

I highly recommend Guillaume Canivet of Canivet Construction. His website is Tel: 510-528-3700. He and his crew just finished a major remodel of my house in Berkeley Hills. They installed all of my windows along with the trim on the outside and inside. Canivet Construction takes both large and small jobs. Guillaume is honest and hardworking, as is his crew. We interviewed quite a few contractors before deciding upon Guillaume. Not only was his bid the most competitive, Guillaume takes pride in his work and genuinely wants you to be happy with the results. Happy with my Contractor

I had replacement windows put in my home. the windows were built into the stucco so the contractor had to cut open the stucco around each window and then reinstalled the trim. They then re-stuccoed around each window and reinstalled the trim. They restuccoed around each window and did all the finish work. He was affordable, tidy, and a good craftsman. His name is Glen Larsen; his number is 510-232-9122. Good luck! Lois

A Taylor Made Window 5327 Jacuzzi St. #5E Richmond, CA 94804 510-559-5530
They just replaced many windows and a sliding glass door in our house. They were very efficient and professional. And they also worked hard to find a solution to a siding problem we had as well. Their staff is all very friendly and easy to work with. I highly recommend them. Denise

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

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.

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

Storm windows for my beautiful old wooden windows?

Jan 2008

I am looking for someone who has the seemingly lost art (at least in California) of fabricating and installing glass storm windows. I am not interested in replacing my beautiful old wooden windows--just in getting a second layer of glass--with screen--caulked into my old Oakland bungalow. Is there anyone who still does this work in the area? hml

I'm not sure if they handle this service, but you might contact Wooden Windows. They recently installed a custom wood casement window to match the existing windows in our old 1920s house. They are true craftsman and the quality is excellent. They work on historic homes and are very knowlegable and good problem solvers. They actually return phone calls and respond to you even for small jobs! If they can't do this job for you, they can provide a recommendation of someone who might. I would trust who they might recommend. 510-893-115, ask for Christine. Susan

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 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 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 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 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.

High quality custom windows

April 2007

We have a 1930's spanish style house in Alameda with unusual plaster details at the existing windows - hard to explain without a photo. We desperately need replacement windows due to leakage and draft problems. I am looking for recommendations for high quality contractors/window companies. We would like to work creatively with someone who will take the extra care and time to preserve the overall look of our windows - while somehow replacing our single-pane glass with double pane operable windows. Any suggestions? trying to do it respectfully

We just replaced over 20 windows in our 1930 English cottage Rockridge house. After receiving numerous bids, we hired Robert Prestegaard, an independent window specialist, who did an outstanding job. He's exceedingly careful, meticulous, and respectful of the integrity of the house. He had a custom shop manufacture the windows to exact specifications and then he personally installed each one, fitting them into our not-so-true redwood frames. He also reconfigured them to swing outward rather than inward. They are now leak-free and lovely. A couple of notes: Robert is not an advocate of double panes, which we originally wanted, but his seals are so precise we feel ok without them; the installation process was fairly slow, as Robert was working solo (he sometimes has an assistant, but wasn't available this time); however, Robert was a quiet and respectful occupant of our living room and dining room--really not a problem in any way. He cleaned his area each day, which was important for our 2 young children. Oh, and his price was really fair--not the lowest, but certainly not the highest, and I feel his value was enormous. Robert takes great pride in his work and really cares about pleasing his clients. We had a post-installation problem that involved the painters, and Robert followed up assiduously to make sure it was resolved. Robert can be reached at 510.528-7774. Happy to answer more questions if you have them. polly

A great company to use for your replacement windows is Sinan's Windows. My friend at work recommended them and I am so glad I called. Paul (I believe that is the owner's son) came to our house and was very knowledgeable. He spent time with us and answered all our questions. At first I was overwhelmed but in the end I was surprised at how easy the process was. The installers are very professional and skilled. I thought I would be left with a big mess but they did a great job cleaning up. I am very happy with the wndows and Sinan's is FANTASTIC!!! I can't say enough. in Oakland.

About 7 years ago we used Wooden Window, 510-893-1157, to replace a bunch of original 1930s standard-size, single-pane, double-hung windows with Marvin dual-pane, double hung windows (wooden on the inside but permanently coated/colored/protected on the outside). They also replaced an aluminum plate glass window with a simple, beautiful custom, dual pane, three-panel window. We were very happy with the company and the windows. Those dual-pane windows haven't failed (lost their vaccuum) yet, although one Marvin window (out of many) in our addition has failed. I hear that technology has improved since then, and you can get the same sound/temperature protection as double pane by using something like a transparent mylar layer, instead of vaccuum, between two sheets of glass. peg

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 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 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

2004 - 2006 Recommendations

Replacing windows and sashes

Sept 2006

Any recommendations for window & sash replacement? We have an old home (c.1924), and would like to use wood, if possible, without spending a small fortune. anon

Hello: I used Wooden Window warehouse in Emeryville.652-1662 Mario came out to the house to measure the windows and was curteous. Their delivery time was reasonable and their price was fair. I had the weatherstripping added and I like it. There was a problem with one of the sashes, and they had no problem in making me another. I did the installation, although I think they do the service as well Good luck Tim

An inexpensive, do it yourself fix is to buy kits to re-frame the windows. Essentially, they come out, as do the old-fashioned sash weights, and the edges are trimmed slightly, then lined with vinyl sliders, on the windows and correspondingly on the frames, so they fit much tighter and they open in to wash. Not as good as new double paned that are well-installed, but a quick fix for windows that are leaking air around the sides, and WAY cheaper. (Cheap or poorly installed double-paned windows are no help at all.)

We did this in Minnesota and it made a huge difference. (We had storm windows for winter, however.) In this climate, I question whether spending huge $$$ on double-paned windows makes economic sense--the payoff would take years and years. Windows that are leaking air on the sides etc are a different story--they are easy to fix as indicated. From the snowy north

We just replaced two of our single-paned windows with new Marvin windows - all wood - and used Wooden Windows. Their office is just up from downtown Oakland, and they were great. They responded to emails and phone calls quickly when we were first looking. They were curteous and timely when they came out to measure and install and they were very communicative while we were waiting for the windows to arrive. They were very well aware that the windows wouldn't fit perfectly as ordered, the house not exactly being square any more, and they came with all the equipment to deal with that. They cleaned up great too.

The drawback? The price. We have a c.1908 cottage in Temescal and our two new windows cost around $2,000. Mind you, the windows are non-standard size and had to be special ordered and are now double paned (which is really nice) but certainly not cheap. The thing is, at least from my perspective, if you put non-wood windows on an old house it just looks funny. So we sucked it up and put down the cash.

Oh yeah, the other drawback, our window coverings don't fit any more. They added some molding to ''finish'' the window on the inside because the new windows are less deep than the old ones, but now our shades which used to fit inside the window no longer fit and we have to figure out what to do: curtains or new shades. I can't say we were expecting that.

Absolutely I'd recommend working with Wooden Windows Claire

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 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

Repair or replace original wood windows

May 2005

We want to repair/replace some of the windows in our home. I looked on BPN but most of the postings were several years old. We're looking for quality craftsmanship to either fix or recreate the original six paned windows. Thanks, Sara

My wife and I recently had a wonderful experience with Sinan's Windows in Oakland. They are a family business that really care about what they do and it shows. They have a refreshing no non-sense style, and low pressure approach, while offering 1st class service from the beginning to end of our project. We got bids from several other companies (V, lumber yards, Larsen), but found Sinan's to offer the best value by far. Their prices were competitive, but they had better service, knowledge, and were really nice people to work with. We also felt really comfortable with the installers in our home while we were at work! We are really happy that we chose them and would use them again without hesitation. David

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 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

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

2003 & Earlier

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

June 2003

Hi, I have been looking for a wooden window repair man to no avail. any good experiences out there for such carpenter + installation person ? thanks. dani

We recently had our double-hung windows repaired, and I have two names to pass along: Robert Prestegaard, 528- 7774, and Glen Larsen, 232-9122.

Both men were nice and responsive and seemed very knowledgeable. Prestegaard specializes in installing, restoring and ''troubleshooting'' wood windows and came highly recommended. We ended up using Larsen, however, because he also was able to do other handy-person work we needed done (electrical, grouting, fencing, etc).

Glen Larsen did a great job opening our old double-hung windows that had been painted shut, fixing the mechanisms and doing the necessary patching and repainting of the frames. He and his co-worker, Juan, also did a fine job with the rest of our long list of repairs. They were friendly, accommodating, returned phone calls promptly, cleaned up thoroughly and generally communicated very well with us. We recommend Larsen highly.

Larsen's rate is $43 per hour (plus materials); I forget Prestegaard's rate, but I think it was $60-something per hour.

Please email if you want more information. Robin

Although Wooden WIndows is not cheap, we would never go to anyone else: Windows are custom designed, built, and installed and their sales and construction folks are top- notch professionals. We had a small latch problem on one of their windows one year later and they came out immediately to repair it. They also caulked (glazed?) three windows gratis. The windows are beautiful. good luck- CJP

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 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.)

November 2002

I have seen some dated messages regarding window contractors but would like to ask for recent experiences with the following contractors. I am currently accepting bids and would appreciate comments on: Frameworks John Staton Windows V & W Windows. Please comment on quality and type of windows installed, quality of work performed, value / cost, timeliness of installation, and anything else I should know! Thanks, kathryn

Frameworks made some windows for our house. First they came out to take measurements, and one of the employees installed the windows. As I recall the installation was technically considered separate from Frameworks, but they arranged everything. The price seemed reasonable and the windows look good, but one of them leaked significantly. The Frameworks rep who came to examine the leaking window declared that it was the roof, not the window that was leaking. Turned out that it was the window, as I learned from the contractor we hired to fix the problem. I don't know if I would use them again, but the windows do look good.

to the poster seeking recommendations for frameworks - i can not speak more highly about their work. i dealt directly with ralph, the owner - who was cordial, on budget, and produced magnificant windows and doors for my home. I have a 1920s berkely bungalo, in which someone had put alumunium windows. frameworks built replacement windows for all but the two original windows - matched the design, etc. They also built a french door, and a beautiful craftsman door. Ralph suggested a stained glass designer for the lites in the front door windows and also two small windows on each side of the fireplace - beautiful work. And highly recommended. margo

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 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

May 2002

Some time back, I posted about my experiences searching for replacement windows for my home. I hadn't yet chosen anyone to do the work, but had narrowed the field to two or three strong contenders.

Someone on the list recommended Tony Diamantine to me, giving him such a glowing reference that I decided to call him. Indeed, he was extremely pleasant--and came in with what seemed an unusually low bid for replacing ten good-sized, custom windows. I actually wondered how he could possibly make much of a profit with such a low bid!

He just finished the work a few days ago, and I am thrilled with the work Tony did. The windows look dynamite. During the project, he and his helper left no sign that a big job was going on, leaving everything immaculate at the end of each day. He noticed a tiny fingerprint on the glass between the double- glazing on one of the windows (I *never* would have noticed it) and insisted that he come back with a clean replacement pane. He also disposed of the old windows and screens for me. I could not be more pleased!

Tony Diamantine's phone number is 510-410-3039. His fax number is 707-792-9697. If you ever need to replace your windows, he's the man to call! cas

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 Patio in Emeryville, who got us the Marvin doors quickly, cheerfully and comparatively inexpensively. Praise be to the free market economy!

You should at least call Frameworks, in Oakland, on, I think, San Pablo. They do a good job, and specialize in windows and doors, including custom stuff for older houses. In my limited experience, Wooden Windows is not the most cost-effective way to go, although the quality is very high. You might also drop in to Truitt and White and see what's available through them. They're very helpful. Ashby Lumber is another option. Wendy

I would like to recommend Aladdin's Sash and Glass, Windows and Doors (510) 264-9353. They are located in Hayward but do work in Oakland/Berkeley area. Not long after we moved in to our 1927 built home, the guys at Aladdin came over to look at my windows and doors. Instead of recommending replacement of many of the windows, they told me some of them shouldn't be replaced. A few of the windows are mahogany with hand blown antique glass. Others needed some elbow grease to get back into good shape. They took the time to explain to me how I could either hire someone to restore them or how I could do it myself. Aladdin both orders and installs custom replacement windows -the sash - and can fabricate very specialized replacements in their shop in Hayward. I was truly impressed that they didn't try to take advantage of the naivety of a young first time homeowner. I will be using Aladdin again. Kara

October 2001

We're looking for a good person (or company) to redo/replace a number of double hung windows in our house. Any suggestions? Thanks!

We recommend Wooden Window [510-893-1157]. They repaired six double-hung wooden windows at our home about six years ago. They also put in two new casement windows. Although not cheap, they are very skilled, reliable, conscientious and neat. They do not replace frames. They only work with wooden windows. Suzanne


We used Wooden Windows (893-1157): Extremely reliable, elegant windows, expensive. Doug & Jean

We went through a similar search to find replacement wooden windows. I ended up gonig to Ashby Lumber to see what they carried. They provided a reference to a guy named Jim Cooper, at 510/531-2263. We are having Cooper replace 17 windows in our house -- the windows are supposed to arrive any week now, so I can't vouch yet for the quality of his work. However, thus far he has been very agreeable to work with. Cooper only installs Marvin tilt-paks, which are wooden, double hung, double pane windows. His price seems decent. For a couple of more complicated openings that require carpentry, we are having East Bay Construction do the work. They did a fair amount of internal carpentry on our house before we moved in, as well as foundation work, and we are quite pleased with their work. Again, not cheap, but not as expensive as we'd thought. Jody

We recently used Frameworks in Oakland to build custom wooden windows. They did a nice job and the windows fit perfectly into the design of the 1920's building. I don't know if they build double pane/insulating windows. Pamela

Frameworks in Oakland made and installed some replacement wooden windows for my house a couple of years ago, and they are okay. Frameworks will send someone out to your house to take measurements if you want them to. Donna

If you want to build windows that looks like the old ones, I can recommend Wooden Windows in Oakland. They replaced 5 windows in my old house this year, building them from scratch to look like the originals. They look great. We also had some new friction hinges put on all the windows in our sunroom, which meant they took all 8 windows out, cleaned them up, replaced broken hardware, and re-installed them with new hinges so that they now open and close properly. Also they repaired two old wooden french doors that had dry-rot near the bottom; they saved the upper 80% of these doors, and cleverly made new bottom sections for them. The Wooden Windows people were very professional and very skilled. The only caution I have - Wooden Windows is not cheap, and they could not give me a breakdown ahead of time as to what each of the different jobs would cost. They gave me one figure for all the work. As the work went on, I changed my mind about a couple of things, and was happy to pay the difference. However, new problems came up that I was charged extra for (replacing one pane of a leaded glass window turned out to require the entire window to be re-built). Worse, one job we'd discussed that I thought was included in the total, actually did not end up in the written agreement, so they would not do it without an additional charge. These two things were not exactly a case of dishonesty, but given how expensive the work was, and given that there was no breakdown of individual items, I was left feeling slightly dissatisfied in the end. So if you go with Wooden Windows on a big job, see if you can get a breakdown of expenses, and carefully review the written agreement. Ginger

We are at the tail end of a major remodel/seismic retrofit project on our house. Our contractor used ASAP Custom Windows at 5515 Doyle St. , Emeryville. at 601-6901 to make custom windows for our project. They are beautiful and match the style of the other windows in the house. And these windows are now the feature of the house, since they are seen from the street and span the living room. The cost for custom windows was, surprisingly, less than the cost for Marvin Windows at V in Berkeley. And I am not passing judgment on either Marvin or V, but manufactured windows would have been a big mistake for our house. I recommend you get a detailed bid from more than one supplier/contractor. Lissa

I have replaced 20 wooden windows in my house. I got several estimates. Wooden Windows was the costliest (3 times the price of what I ended up paying). They seem to be the most craftsmanlike, but who knows. I ended up ordering my expensive Marvin windows through Ashby Lumber. They have a list of trades people who do almost exclusively window installation. These people will measure your windows for the order. (Do not do that yourself -- you want them to be responsible for the correct fit!) They charge about $100 per opening. I was happy with the results, though I had to ask them to modify a few things. I later did 5 windows myself with my regular handyman. You don't have to be a rocket scientist, but I wouldn't do it again. Ruth

We just has Manor Windows in San Leandro fit us with new windows, and they are great. Very reasonable. The best ones, it seems, are the vinyl. We have also those decorative squares put in, which make the house look cute. Good luck GBGear

We just relpaced 7 of our windows. They were crank windows and large single paned glass windows. The company we used is Save Energy Company 800/728-3878, or go to We replaced our windows with milgard windows, expensive but worth it. The man to talk to is John Gorman, he's the owner and has been in business for 15 years. I highly recommend them! Stacey

I've been working on getting just two large windows redone in my home. It *is* expensive, but probably well worth it in terms of comfort and energy savings (and perhaps value added in design quality) if you plan to stay in the house. Also adds to re-sale value down the road. I've decided not to use companies that specialize in window replacements and instead use a reliable and experienced contractor. Visiting a good window store is very helpful. I've been impressed by V Windows in Berkeley and I think I will order my windows through them. They know their stuff and can give you immediate quotes that are accurate.

I just recently purchased a bungalo in Berkeley, and replaced virtually all of the windows in the house......... Companies like Marvin, etc. did not work for me because of the vareity of different sizes, and the fact that I wanted to duplicate the style of the few windows I did keep (the classic small lite pattern running along the top).

I make a very strong recommendation for Frameworks, located at 4530 Martin Luther King Jr Way, telephone (510) 653-7075. The owner's name is Ralph. He has been in the business for 20 years....... What impressed me about him was his knowledge of the subject matter, and the beautiful professional quality of the windows. The price was quite good also. He also makes beautiful craftsman style front doors. Margo

August 2001

Window repair: We used a guy named Michael Ashley in Oakland. Nice guy, good job. -Leslie


For window replacement, check out J 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