Many people in San Diego—especially first-time homeowners—don’t know where to start when it comes to replacing the windows and doors in their San Diego home. All they know is that their windows are drafty or that they are hard to open or close. They may feel the heat coming in through their single-pane windows on an especially hot day or feel a chill when standing next to their windows on a cold day.
There are several places you can purchase replacement windows in San Diego, and each option has their pros and cons. We’ll list all the available options and give you our recommendations at the end.
For some San Diego homeowners, their first call is to a local general contractor when they want an improvement done to their home. A general contractor can certainly buy replacement windows on your behalf and install them in your home. There are just a couple of drawbacks to going this route. First of all, most general contractors are not experts in replacement windows. They likely won’t be able to advise you on the best brands for your money. Rather, they will purchase whatever windows are available from the suppliers they work with. They also won’t have access to some of the higher-quality products on the market, since some of them are only available from authorized dealers.
Finally, a general contractor may not be experienced in replacement window installation. Window installation is considered a specialized trade, which is why it has its own classification with the Contractors State License Board (CSLB). A general contractor will have a Class B license, which means he or she has a broad knowledge of multiple trades. A contractor or company that specializes in windows and doors will have a more specific C-17 license, which is reserved for experts in window installation and repair.
Home Improvement Stores
If you’re a San Diego homeowner who tends to go the DIY route for home improvement projects, your first stop might be to your local home improvement store to check out the windows they have in stock—typically a “big box” store like Lowe’s or Home Depot. When you get there, you’ll find that the windows they have that are ready for purchase are new construction windows, not the replacement windows you need. Replacement windows need to be special ordered through the store because they are designed to fit in the same space as your existing windows. This will require having someone come out to your home to take measurements so the windows can be special ordered. Once your new windows arrive, they will need to be installed by someone that the home improvement store contracts with for installations. Installing replacement windows is not really a DIY job, unfortunately.
We don’t recommend going with the big box stores for window replacement for several reasons. First of all, the brand selection at these stores is not great. They typically carry windows made by large manufacturers that aren’t known for the quality or durability of their products. Don’t fall for marketing language like “only available at Home Depot.” This type of language is meant to make consumers feel like they are getting exclusive products, but these products aren’t necessarily good. The manufacturer probably just made some relatively insignificant changes to one of their existing product lines so the store could market it as an exclusive line to their customers.
Just like a general contractor, an employee at a big box store probably won’t be much help when it comes to helping you select the best replacement windows for your San Diego home. The employees that are there to sell you replacement windows also sell a variety of other special-order products. They are probably not experts in windows and won’t know much more than what you can read in the product brochures.
The windows you buy from a big box store will be installed by subcontractors. Stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s don’t have their own teams of window installers. Rather, they contract with outside companies to do the work. These companies may or may not specialize in window installation. You could get a perfectly competent installation team for your project, or you could get a company that knows very little about proper window installation. It’s a chance you take when going with a store that outsources the installation.
Communication can also be a challenge when working with a big box store. If you have any questions about your project at any point in time (e.g. When will my windows arrive? Can I get someone to come out and fix a mistake my installers made?), you may have difficulty getting a response. You’ll have a hard time talking to someone who knows anything about your project, and you probably won’t ever speak to the same person twice. It’s just the nature of dealing with a large company.
Window Manufacturers That Sell Their Own Products
There are a few window and door manufacturers in and around San Diego that sell their products directly to the public. The advantages to working with a company like this is that you get to deal with a single company from start to finish. Their sales representatives tend to be fairly knowledgeable about their products, since they only deal with a single brand of windows and doors. However, the downside is that they will probably not be very helpful when it comes to comparing their products to others on the market. You’ll need to do some research on your own to determine if the products they are selling are high quality, energy efficient, and durable. We’ve also seen several of these types of companies come and go in our years in the replacement window industry in San Diego. When a company like this goes out of business, you are completely out of luck if you ever have a warranty claim.
Independent Replacement Window Dealers in San Diego
The final place you can go to purchase new windows and doors in San Diego is an independent replacement window dealer like BM Windows. An independent dealer sells replacement window products that are made by various manufacturers. In other words, the company selling you the windows is separate from the company making the windows.
Because this type of dealer isn’t tied to any certain manufacturers, they are able to carefully select which products they offer to their customers. At BM Windows, we look at things like quality, energy efficiency, price, and warranties. We have chosen to offer products that give our customers a range of options. While all the products we sell are high quality, energy efficient, and come with a great manufacturer’s warranty, some of the higher-end products we sell come with a few more options and upgrades. Not every San Diego homeowner wants or needs the best products on the market, so we also offer more affordable options.
With an independent replacement window dealer, you’ll be dealing with replacement window experts. Windows and doors are their specialty. They will be able to answer all your questions—even explaining the more technical aspects of replacement window and door products.
One thing you need to be sure to ask about with independent dealers is who will be doing the installation of the windows and doors you purchase from them. Some San Diego companies, like BM Windows, have their own team of installers, while others outsource the installation to subcontractors. You’ll want to look for a company that uses highly trained installers who know the best methods for installing replacement windows. You’ll also want to look for a company that guarantees their installation because a manufacturer’s warranty alone won’t protect your windows in all cases.
In our opinion, going with a replacement window dealer like BM Windows is the best option for replacing the windows and doors in your San Diego home. You have access to some of the best products on the market, and you’ll be working with window and door experts from start to finish. You’ll also find that our prices are competitive with many of the other options out there—sometimes even more affordable for higher-quality products.
If you’d like to schedule an appointment to get a quote on replacement windows and doors for your San Diego home, contact us at BM Windows.