We just purchased an Eichler in San Rafael with mostly original windows. We have two young children and are concerned about both safety and insulation. We are debating whether to replace the windows or put a protective film on them (it sounds from these postings like the other option -- acrylic inserts -- are no longer locally available?). Has anyone used the window film? What is the cost differential for replacement vs. film? Any recommendations on companies to install replacement windows?
We're in the same position - just bought an Eichler in SR with almost all original windows/sliders. We have a two-year-old and another baby on the way, plus we have a dog. We chose to go with safety film for now, as we'll most likely do a pretty major remodel to update the sliders, windows, kitchen and bathrooms in a few years. We got estimates from a few companies and are having the work done next Tuesday by a company called Window Innovations. I can't really vouch for the quality of their work or product yet. But I do like the fact that it's a family owned and operated business. They do lots of Eichlers in the Bay Area too, were very knowledgable about the product/manufacturer, and were honest about which windows we should cover. The estimate to do the sliders, 6x8 panes, and a few other windows that go to the floor was $1480. I got an over-the-phone glass replacement estimate for 3 sliders and 3 6x8 windows of $15k. That was for low-e/double paned glass (on the windows). Didn't have the glass company come out to provide a real estimate because we decided to wait for the remodel.
San Mateo City building code says either tempered glass or remove and substitue with regular wall 4 feet up from the floor, then plate glass (untempered).
Anything glass at and below 4 feet from the floor is required to be tempered.
When my oldest was about 2 years old, she broke one panel and almost had the remaining sheet still held up there guletine her, as she was rocking a chair and fell backwards. Breaking the plate glass and laying underneath looking up.
I was frozen for a second and the next thing remembered was yelling at her and holding her out of the way. Scared her and yelling isn't my normal, but did then.
Of course told her not to do that just before going to the kitchen to make lunch. She just had to do it one more time...
Cost was, IIRC, around $1400.00 bucks and insurance paid for most of that.
I've always wondered if the contractor installing the plastic is held to the 4 foot plate glass building code.
we've had the window film on our windows about 2 years now, with no problems. We had it done by Sun-Chek, who used to be an advertiser here, dont know if they still are. Fortunately we havent had a kid go thru a window yet to test out the film, but our almost-3-year old gets that mischevious look now and again.
The film is truly un-noticeable, given that we got all the windows done. Some of the south-facing walls we got done in a light tint, others were clear.
One weird thing is that the reflection of fluorecent lights look really strange -like oil slicks. So if for some reason you have alot of fluorecents on at nite, that's something to consider
I'm up in Canada in an eichler-like house (you'd swear it was an Eichler).
I replaced the glass in three 6 x 8 panels, one 4 x 8 panel, and two 6 x 3
trapezoid panels for (get this) less than $2000 Canadian. The trick is to just replace the glass, not the window frame. I replaced with safety glass
thermopane (2 layers).
Maybe this is possible with your windows? The installer popped off the exterior window trim, installed the glass against the interior frame, then put back the exterior trim and caulked inside and out.
The company I used advertised that they replaced storefront window glass.
We also had Sun-Chek do the window film as we have two toddlers and a dog. Cost was less than $2k versus something like $20k to replace the glass. The film is supposed to last more than 10 years. At that rate, we can replace it for the next 100 years and it will still cost less than replacing the glass.
Lots has been written in past posts about window upgrades or replacements, so be sure to take advantage of the Search feature of this site to access that information.
As a recap of my posts:
When people start talking about modifying the plate glass windows and sliding doors, they are typically thinking of:
- temperature control,
- increased real estate value,
or some combination.
Depending on your particular priorities and your budget, you might find one approach superior to another.
In my case, I was pleasantly surprised to find I could replace the glass in all 5 sets of sliding doors with tempered glass, onsite, for about 2K (I understand the price is somewhat higher now but still cheaper than installing new door units). The cost of *frameless* double pane tempered units (thermopane) for the large fixed windows and transoms was about 11K (again, prices may have increased). Note that price was half of what was being quoted for framed units (and framed units often have wide frames at odds with the narrowline Eichler esthetic).
The frameless windows were installed as midcentry madam described, usig the original trim. For my money, I got safety (my number one priority) with improved winter heat retention (my second priority) while preserving my sense of the Eichler esthetic. I'm no real estate agent, but I would say I will also likely recoup most of the $13K total cost of my window upgrades in the increased value they brought to the house.
If you are contemplating a lot of renovations at once, the extra $$ of double pane over film might not be worth it to you (robbing Peter to pay Paul). However, if this is a standalone project, you might find the double pane insulated frameless units worth a look-see.
My 2 cents.
P.S. Regarding window films, I personally found the films too noticeable for my liking and I was concerned about how well the film would be applied to prevent peeling at the edges and not sure if it would hold up over time to cleaning. However, I know several people who have gone the film route and were entirely happy with their choice.