We recently spoke with Mark Grisafe, a residential architect in Southern California and owner of M. Grisafe Architects, to get his thoughts on replacement windows and doors. We wanted to give you another perspective that might help as you consider replacement windows and doors for your San Diego home.
Q: What do the homeowners you work with cite as the main reasons for wanting to replace their windows and doors when doing a remodel?
A: What I see most often is homeowners wanting new windows and doors because their current ones are either falling apart, don’t look good any longer, or are leaking. And leaking doesn’t just refer to water—windows can also leak air or allow in insects.
People also replace their windows and doors for energy efficiency reasons. They realize that not only will there be financial benefits associated with replacement windows and doors, because they’ll save money on heating and cooling their home, but that their house will also be more comfortable once their old windows are replaced.
A lot of our clients have homes with single glazed, aluminum windows, which were popular in the 1950s-1970s. We are replacing a lot of those with double glazed, vinyl windows. There are also triple glazed windows out there, but most double glazed windows meet Title 24 standards [the California Building Standards Code that sets requirements for energy conservation in residential design and construction].
Q: How do you incorporate patio doors into home remodels?
The design trends have shifted in recent years. In the past, homes were very compartmentalized, with the living room, kitchen, and dining room all separated with walls. This was done mainly for the purpose of heating the home more efficiently. Starting in the 1980s and ‘90s, people began taking down the walls to create one large expansive space, or “great room.” Now, what we’re seeing is a trend back toward smaller, more intimate spaces. However, people still want the flexibility to have a larger space at certain times, like when they’re entertaining. Patio doors, especially large ones that can open up an entire wall, are a great way to give homeowners the flexible space they want. They can open up their living room to an outdoor patio area and entertain a large group more comfortably. Large patio doors are also a great selling feature in homes.
Q: Do you have clients who request energy-efficient upgrades in their homes, like energy-efficient windows and doors?
Not many people ask specifically for energy-efficient windows. What we do hear often, is people say, “My house is drafty,” or, “My house gets too hot in the summer.” In response to statements like these, we will usually recommend three things: add insulation, upgrade the home’s HVAC system, and replace the home’s windows and doors.
Q: What types of features in replacement windows and doors do you recommend to your clients?
A: For double hung windows, I recommend that my clients install windows with pivot hinges. This allows them to clean their windows much more easily. I also recommend installing products with a smooth gliding ability. You want a window that opens and closes smoothly, even if you’re dealing with a very large window.
Q: Do you have any other advice for homeowners considering changing out their windows and doors?
A: The most important advice I can give someone is to make sure you hire a reputable company. If possible, go and look at some of their work. Look specifically at how they finish a window. It should look like it was always a part of the house. Check the stucco work around the new windows, and how the window is trimmed, inside and out.
I would also encourage homeowners not to go with the cheapest option available, but to look for products that are well made and built to last. There’s a great quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin that says, “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.” This saying applies very well to any home improvement project you undertake.
Today, more than probably any time in the past, it is important to do your research on products. It used to be that everything was pretty much the same—made with similar materials, using the same technology, made in the USA, etc. Now, the construction industry as a whole has become much more nuanced. Products are made all over the world, and there can be quite a difference between similar-looking products when it comes to performance and durability. Find out what the differences are and look for products that provide the best value.
Contact BM Windows in San Diego for Replacement Windows and Doors
We want to thank Mark for taking the time to answer our questions and offer a new perspective on replacement windows and doors for San Diego homeowners. If you are ready to get started improving your home with new, energy-efficient windows and doors, contact us at BM Windows today. We can schedule a free, in-home consultation where you can get all of your questions answered about replacement windows and doors, and receive a quote for your project.