I'm a new owner of a 54 year old eicher home with all original mahogany paneling. I'm looking to replace my windows. Has anyone ever used hybrid/composite window frames before? I'm not sure if this type of frame would go better with the look of the mahogany paneling or should I consider using aluminum or fiberglass. Also, has anyone ever used renewal windows by Anderson? Any suggestions appreciated.
I just replaced the originals with Blomberg Window Systems windows. Double paned, low e. Very narrow profile, and a perfect update for an Eichler. They are aluminum, but built for the custom home market. They look much better than vinyl.
Bloomberg is a very close replica of the originals but they aren't cheap. We are replacing the rusted out window in our shower with Bloombergs and its costing a small fortune—but the vinyl windows I have seen look really tacky to me. I have also heard of a window called Gerkin (http://www.gerkin.com) which is a thin alumninum profile and are custom made to size. Their website shows floor to ceiling windows that look like Eichler windows. (I couldn't find a south bay distributor that had Eichler experience that used that window).
We are plaaning to replace our windows with blomberg double pane. Does anybody know an installer close to walnut creek?
Please send referrals directly to t_arroyo AT sbcglobal DOT net
It might be helpful if people mention which windows they are talking about--large fixed glass, sliding glass doors, and/or sliding glass windows.
In the case of fixed glass, you can replace your original floor to ceiling single-pane fixed glass with frameless, sealed, double-pane units (insulated, low-e, or e-squared). This method reuses your existing frame and trim materials which solves the problem of Eichler compatibility. Also, in some communities, it also means that a permit is not needed (check your own city's building department to be sure).
In the case of sliding glass doors, you can replace the single pane plate glass with single pane tempered--again, retaining the original frame/door materials. Helps with safety though not significantly with heat loss/gain.
Anyway, just wanted to mention these options in case some new homeowners are not aware.
Another thing about replacing the picture windows, you won't be able to exced 50 square feet in double glazed picture windows, (the glass tends to bow inward, and after 50 sq ft, the two panes touch in the middle), mulled units are two smaller windows joined together, and that solves the code requirement of needing tempered glass if the window is floor to ceiling.
Retaining the original Eichler look through custom milling redwood trim is somewhat time consuming, and requires a fair amount of skill from a finish carpenter.
We have installed blomberg , bonelli, international and milguard.
I suggest going with aluminum, the latter two have them available in mill (silver) finish, and black or anodized bronze, as well as white.
Bonelli and blomberg are quite pricey, but very good products. (bonelli is available in South SF only); Milguard and International are good value, and both carry an excellent warranty program (lifetime replacement, which they do honor, with documentation, and milguard's warranty is transferable to the next owner for 5 years.
Try to avoid window installers that trim or finish the windows with tin or aluminum pieces, as they tend to look clunky and inappropriate for the overall aestetic of the exterior trim.
If you can get the window supplier to install the glass in a "block frame" method, I can refer a good finish carpenter that works in the concord area to trim the job. send me an email for more info.
I don't question renman's experience but wanted to add some info from my home.
My largest "picture" window was about 9'10" by 5' 10"--I've had no problem with bowing. They are tempered, double-pane, insulated, frameless units. The interior redwood trim pieces were reused as-is, the exterior redwood trims pieces had an extra 1/4 (1/2?) inch needed for the thicker glass removed onsite. It wasn't a big deal.
After we bought about 10 years ago, we were in a hurry to get rid of the old sliders as fast as possible. At that time, we were also totally unaware that anyone out there was still making Al frame, narrow profile doors - like Blomberg, so we ended up with Milgard with the white vinyl frames and LowE double paned glass. Since our home is flat roofed, the one improvement we made was to get rid of the transom and go with 8' tall doors. That made a huge asthetic differernce.
That said, if I were going to do it over again today, I would not have used the Milgards, since the frames are much wider and thicker/deeper than the originals. Those unfamiliar with Eichlers would probaby not notice, and I love their smooth functionality and the fact that they can be locked. They were also installed on the INSIDE rather than the outside like the originals (big safety issue, as the originals can just be lifted off by anybody. Fine when you lock yourself out. Not so fine when someone wants to break into your home.)
Live and learn. Even though I was raised (from 0 to 4 years old) in a Sunnyvale Eichler and had many friends that lived in PA Eichlers in the '60's, it is amazing how challenging these homes are to work on from an asthetic point of view. #1 on my list that I would do over if I could get away with it w/o my husband figuartively slapping me silly, would be to replace these doors. Armed with better knowledge and much greater visual awareness after 10 years of conservatively upgrading the home, I would say this was our biggest and most costly mistake. (Don't tell hubby though. He'd have a fit.)
I envy those who were lucky enough to find out about Blombergs and similar products in time to use them rather than something that is more fitting for a CA Ranch home. I did not learn "the" lesson until doing research for an article on the subject-and spending more time viewing and talking to neighbors about their experiences.
My last word of advice is to be sure to use an installer with Eichler experience. We had no clue that the fancy showroom where we purchased the Milgards used a crew that was incompetent when it came to dealing with anything even slightly out of the ordinary. We figured, "if they are certified Milgard dealers they will know how to install them. Right?" Wrong. They were unable to get one of the doors true and in all cases they used knotty pine to trim around them (clear pine was the original agreement) and were in and out, demanding pay the same day.
We contacted Milgard to say that the installation was incomplete, since the store was stonewalling us. The zone rep told us that "we do not do or oversee installations. That is between you and the dealer." To which I made the point that "but your lifetime warranty specifically states that it only applies to properly installed doors" so I asked them if they were willing to put in writing that they would warranty MY doors for life, even though they appeared to be installed incorrectly. They were out here in a shot with the original installers and oversaw removal and replacment of all the knotty pine trim; and checked and trued up each door with shims as needed.
Don't ever let a manufacturer tell you that installation issues are not their problem. If there is a warranty and it is conditional on correct installation, then it is absolutely their responsibility to deal with problems when they come up. They are in the liability chain just by virtue of the conditional warranty.
I've read how Blomberg Windows cost a lot but they're really quite economical especially if you install yourself, which we found was very easy. Windows are held in place by three wooden pieces, one on top and two on the side. To get at the window, you lever off the flat trim on either side (and save), then pry out the top piece and sides. Typical windows are 31.5 wide and 37.25 h. I ordered Blombergs a little smaller, 31.25 and 37 with no nail fin. The old window slips out and the new one is easy to put in. Poly caulk and then new wooden stoppers (much slimmer to account for the thicker window and you're all set. Costs is about $350 per window, more than other brands but incredible to look at each day. Really nice product.
Here's my opinion on windows or basically any home remodeling project. If you have to hire a contractor to install your windows, hire a reputable one.
You've gone to the expense of choosing quality windows why skimp on the installation. There are a number of steps to installing a window to make it weather tight, it should be plumb, square, flashed, insulated, caulked and finished correctly. There are many occasions where people want to price shop but what are they actually getting in return?
You might be interested in their price but do they have clients that are willing to refer them after a few years?
Yes, you can find cheaper installers but are you willing to sacrifice years of leaks, sticky windows and drafts to save a few dollars?
If you should decide on finding a cheaper installer, invest some time to do some research online on how a window should correctly be installed so you can ensure your window installer is installing your window properly.
My .02 cents, good luck,
Yes, unfortunately quality installations have a cost associated with it. I too try to find the best deal if I can't do something myself.
And you probably did the right thing to voice your concerns in a forum, that's what these are for right?
I can't say whether the quoted price is reasonable . . . but the "smell test" is as follows:
(1) Determine the materials cost; with windows, you should be able to get a price as a product as if you are a DIY. Some products aren't sold as materials (like mini-split AC); in those instances, the Internet is your friend - - you can buy almost any product on-line that is available on a wholesale or retail level.
(2) The harder part is estimating installation which is mostly labor - - assume $85-$100/hour for professionals (which should incl. their Employer's overhead). The AAA Auto Repair in Santa Clara charges $100/hour ($90 for AAA members) for diagnostics. Ask around other DIY for estimated hours; parts are extra but items like travel time s/b NOT be charged.
Often, installation is 80-120% of the materials cost (or about half of an "installed" package; of course, this is really a coincidence and doesn't work for labor intensive (plumbing) or materials intensive (kitchen re-model) projects.
The 100% "ratio" does seem to work for hot water heater, moderate price toilet, deluxe garage door opener (no, not the 2 sliders), and probably for windows.