A-1 Window’s Summer Projects!

Have you been wondering what has been keeping A-1 Windows busy? Aside from all the homes that we have been working on, we have completed a few projects this summer and we have managed to qualify for the CleanBC Income Qualified Program! Let us look at what has been keeping us busy!

Now it is time to get you up to speed on how A-1 Windows is changing and looking towards a bright future. Keep up with our blogs, projects, and more on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook!

If you have an interesting project, we want to hear from you! A-1 Windows is always looking to tackle interesting and difficult challenges. From down on the ground floors and up to cloud-cutting Penthouses, A-1 Windows has a product that will perfectly fit your project.

Summer-Proofing Our Local Churches

Churches have a lot of old, unique window applications that are starting to show their age. A-1 Windows is here to make sure that parish and parishioners alike feel at home in their places of worship and community. These projects required creative uses of our 350 aluminum series and our vinyl 4500 Ultra series windows.

Old buildings always have unexpected issues. Wood rot, asbestos, and water damage are common in older buildings in this region. We are experienced in guiding our customers through the best ways to fix and update your buildings for the modern age. A-1 Windows will rise to the challenge of bringing the old buildings up to modern standards. Retrofits are our specialty so we have seen all types of challenging buildings.

Summertime Strata Replacements

Is your strata council thinking about window replacements? This year we helped many people replace their aging 80s aluminum windows and upgrade their homes with high-efficiency custom windows and doors. We provide full service from day one. From the start, we are involved with your strata. A-1 Windows assists with the consultations and coordinates schedules that fit our client’s needs. From Low-Rise to High-Rise, A-1 has the correct products to make your home more efficient and more comfortable.

This year we worked on a few Low-Rise buildings bringing triple-glazed products to people whose homes benefit greatly from these upgrades. New windows and doors are expected to outperform updating standards. High efficiency and high performance are a consult away.

Helping Homeowners Qualify For Rebates

The everyman is our everyday. We have sold thousands of triple-glazed products so far this year! The majority of where we do our installations is in the homes of people looking to qualify for Federal Grants or Provincial rebates. That means you, dear homeowner, are our most valued customer. Our window products are Energy-Star and Energy-Star Most Efficient certified. We have you covered whether you want a single window or if you want to update your entire house. A-1 Windows is full service for you. We bring windows and doors to get your home upgraded to Energy-Star satisfaction.

Summer Upgrades In Our Shop

You may have seen on our social media platforms (follow us on the links above!) that we have purchased and installed new equipment for our shop in order to be able to produce Passive Home products. We are increasing our precision with new CNC machines and we purchased a new welder for vinyl and composite products. That means we have been training our manufacturing staff on our increasing standards for our products and expanding our possibilities. You may know that last year we started the process of partnering with the international giant Rehau. We are very close to launching our partnered GENEO Tilt-and-Turn European window systems. Expect an update soon about our upcoming product launch date!

Income Qualified Program (IQP)

Earlier this year the BC government soft-launched the Income Qualified Program to make windows affordable for those of humble means. Our staff has engaged in industry-leading training programs to qualify for industry partnerships. We are proud to be among the few contractors for windows on the CleanBC Registered Contractor List.

There has been a lot of interest expressed by our customers about this new program. We are pleased to be able to provide access to Energy-Star products to those who qualify for these programs. If you have questions about the CleanBC IQP program, THIS IS THE LINK to their website. You can talk to an energy advisor about how to make the best of the Provincial funds. Do note that the IQP program can be combined with the Federal Canada Greener Homes Grant – this is the most amount of public funds that have ever been available for energy upgrades in British Columbia’s history. Take advantage!

Common Mistakes When Renovating Windows

Photo by Tim Arterbury on Unsplash

Undertaking any renovation project is a costly commitment and there are many common mistakes. Products, timelines, contractors, and costs all require management and affordability. Successful projects always start at the planning stages and only end once you are satisfied with the completed work. This article will help you to define satisfaction: why are you renovating, what is the scope, what are your aims, how do you budget, and what do homeowners overlook? If you have a solid answer for all of the above then you are ready to start your project.

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Passive Home Design: the What, Why, and Windows of it All

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Passive Homes are the international designation for certified, high-efficiency homes. The goal of the Passive Home system is to minimize a building’s long-term carbon footprint with modern building science and building best practices. Homes built to these standards have lofty ambitions that many builders may not be able to achieve. Building passive homes requires attention to the details that the lowest bidder will not have the time, or attention, to consider. Building better homes is not science; it is discipline.

Because many elements of construction are often overlooked to produce houses quicker, many homes built to the minimum Canadian standards include substantial problems that will manifest in only a few years of occupancy. Poor water controls, leaky buildings, and many improperly fitted building penetrations will drastically decrease the efficiency of any home and greatly increase the risks of rodents, insects, and water getting where they should not. Passive home standards require that builders consider these risk factors and take steps to greatly reduce, if not entirely eradicate, these issues.

Requirements for Passive Home Design

There are a few hard-liner rules that any Passive House (or Passive Haus for an alternative standard) system must be able to accomplish. These requirements detail energy demands, airtightness, and thermal comfort.

Prescribed Requirements

Space Heating DemandShall not exceed 15kWh per year or 10W at peak demand per square meter of living space
Space Cooling DemandSame as above, but includes an additional climate-dependent allowance for dehumidification
Primary Energy DemandShall not exceed 120kWh per year for all domestic applications per square meter of living space
AirtightnessShall be verified on-site to a maximum ACH50 of 0.60 in both pressurized and depressurized state
Thermal ComfortNo more than 10% of the hours at 25C or higher

All homes built to passive homes standards need to be certified during the pre-construction phases and throughout the construction of the building. At each stage, the builder must demonstrate that the products used will meet or exceed the theoretical requirements. At the end of major phases, these requirements are tested for their actual application. Should anything fail at these testing phases, the builder will be required to rectify these issues before retesting. As you might imagine, this is very similar to building code inspections: deficiencies must be addressed before the project can continue. Like all construction projects, failure is the worst-case scenario and should be avoided at all costs. That is why only qualified contractors will take on these projects.

Photo by Josh Olalde on Unsplash

Inside Air Quality – A Fundamental Principle of Passive Home Design

By far the most common issue with most modern construction homes is their air leakages. Consider the order of construction of a typical house wall. First, framing and sheathing are applied, and then the contractors install the building membranes, flashings, and air barriers. Subcontractors and trades then drill holes in the walls to install fixtures, windows, doors, and many other products. Afterward, the general contractor goes around the building applying caulking, sealants, and spray foam to seal those penetrations. In general, this process is sufficient although error-prone. Common errors include insufficient sealing of these penetrations, contractors missing penetrations entirely, or the penetration sealant being prone to failure. All of these errors contribute to massive losses of energy. Consider that these openings are equitable to a large window being open at all times. Imagine a door that you can never close.

What Does Passive Home Do Differently?

Passive Home Standards start by firmly shutting this imaginary door. A layperson may ask, “Don’t I want my house to breathe?” No. Modern materials and techniques eliminate the need to have a house that breathes; we can control moisture with the proper tools and building details. Do you have air quality concerns? A properly sealed house can easily circulate fresh air very efficiently without letting in bugs. What about temperature controls? Air sealing is the first temperature control. The rest of the building considerations make sure that your home stays at the temperature that you want for the minimum energy expenditure.

Minimizing Energy Consumption

Energy efficiency is the core of Passive Home design. In fact, no Passive Home certified building may use more than 15kWh per square meter of living space per year. In some regions, passive house construction beats out conventional energy consumption by 90%. To meet these requirements construction costs are higher. The builder and architect must consider how the whole house will come together at the end of the project. The walls must provide adequate insulation; the roofing design must stop heat loss that is acceptable in to-code construction projects, and every place where air can escape should be tackled properly. Builders have to reconsider all of the most common places where precious energy efficiency escapes the building. Contractors provide customized solutions to ensure a whole-house efficiency level for each issue.

Designers include implementations of sustainable practices into the energy detailing of these structures. Using minimal energy input to maintain the air quality and temperature is just the start. Passive Homes also aim to incorporate the energy from the sun. It can provide much of the energy to heat a Passive Home. Windows allow sunlight to provide the energy for the home and solar energy or geothermal heating may be implemented depending on the design specifications for a specific building.

Photo by Daniel McCullough on Unsplash

So, Where do Windows and Doors Fit?

Windows and doors are a top consideration for Passive Homes. These are the largest penetrations in the building envelope and present openings through which air and sunlight may pass. There is a lot of engineering design that your builder will need to know. For the consumer, the primary details are energy efficiency and opening operations. Triple-glazed, insulated glass products are a requirement for these standards. Window manufacturers must insulate the frames too. To meet the requirements of the Passive House certifications, windows and doors must provide excellent seals against air and water ingress. With our current technology and high standards, you cannot install sliding windows in a Passive House. An architect will approve sliding doors if they meet the standards for air resistance and energy efficiency. Lift and Glide door systems are being implemented; however, French doors remain the most common door style for Passive Home construction. 

What Windows Qualify for these Standards?

In window systems, we use casement-constructed or fixed windows. Hinged windows use multiple layers of compression sealants. When we close and lock these windows in place, they provide multiple chambers that each provide a significant plane of resistance against water and air infiltration. If you want to open your windows (which you may reconsider after being in one of these homes), you have a few options for hinged styles. The most common are simple casement windows that have hinges on one side and open like a door. Other options are the European styles of windows, such as Tilt & Turn systems, that open like an in-swinging door. On these, you toggle between whether a side of the window or the top of the window opens towards you by changing the position of the handle. 

Your Architect Will Guide Us All

Depending on your geography, window manufacturers will design your windows with appropriate Low-Emissions coatings. We control the amount of allowed sunlight energy while maximizing the visibility through the glass. The architect or engineer overseeing the project will provide guidance. The window manufacturer will use their recommendations to optimize the effectiveness of the windows in the overall system.

Shopping for Window Deals – The Value In A-1 Windows

Image of A1 windows manufacturing location- Burnaby

At A-1 Windows deals in precisely what we promise: Simply Great Windows, Simply Great Price. When shopping around for window deals, our customers frequently focus on the bottom line. How Much Does It Cost? I am going to show you why choosing the right company can provide much better value than finding the lowest cost for your windows. What are the deals that quality companies provide for their customers?

Window Deal #1 – Long-Term Value

Do you know how expensive poor-quality windows are? Don’t be deceived by window deals that only offer a good price. You are likely becoming more familiar as we seem to be having heat wave after heat wave where modern windows provide the most benefit. Are you opening your windows for ventilation? Are you closing your blinds to block out the sunlight? Older, or poorly configured windows, are not exclusively more expensive, they also reduce your comfort levels within your home.

Updating your windows can reduce your energy costs significantly. During the summer months, good windows can keep the cold in and the sun’s heat out; conversely, during the winter, good windows can trap in the heat and fight away the cold. On average, windows are the part of the house that has the most upgrade potential: they can reduce your costs across the board by making everything in your home more effective and more efficient.

Right now, federal and provincial programs support high-efficiency windows. Learn more by reading our conversation about available government funds.

Window Deal #2 – Resale Value

A house listed for sale. Window deals can help to increase your home's value.
Photo by Dillon Kydd on Unsplash

Upgrading windows is usually one of the most cost-effective upgrades a homeowner can perform when they are considering selling. This is for two reasons: the home’s aesthetic and energy efficiency. Few upgrades offer the opportunity to upgrade both of these at the same time. Windows have many different configuration options to optimize both. This means that for an affordable, recoupable cost you can have a dual-action return on investment.

Consider how you can update the look of your home to provide a unique character or style. Do you know about decorative bars? They can provide sightlines and specific styles to your windows. Have you considered adding a splash of color to your façade? Windows come in virtually every color you might want (even yellow!). Last week we briefly covered aesthetic considerations. Give that a read if you want to know how you can make a statement with your windows.

Window Deal #3 – Quality

The best window deal is finding the right product for the right price. Window frames, glass selections, and installations all contribute to the overall health of your windows and the experience you will have with your replacements. The core, however, is that our product is engineered for the future requirements of the Lower Mainland. We target affordable high-efficiency and optimized performance values well in excess of our competition. If you come into our showroom we can demonstrate for you exactly how and why our products outperform the market in similar price ranges.

A-1 Windows was the leader in adopting triple-glazed windows. Our leadership saw that this wave of high efficiency was coming and invested early. Our triple-glazed products are time- and market-tested. We have the top-percentage efficient slider windows and are regularly qualifying for product and service awards. Find us on the following platforms if you want to know more…

HomeStars Best of the Best 2022 Logo
Consumer Choice Award 2022 Vancouver - 20 Years of Winning

Window Deal #4 – Projects Gone Right

A-1 Windows has been in the business for 30 years. We have done full high-rise tower replacements down to single window installations. A-1 has the project experience to coordinate any window project. We are also realistic and will take the time to ensure that everyone starts on, and stays on, the same page throughout the project. The best customers are informed customers and we strive to keep you in the know.

From the beginning of the project planning phases, through the final inspection, A-1 Windows is there to answer your questions and show you why we provide our answers. We have the reference material for all types of jobs if you want to see how your project will look or if you want us to walk you through similar challenges to yours that we have tackled in the past.

Window Deal #5 – Honesty and Integrity

Some people compete on price and you get what you pay for. Others compete on service and it shows. Consideration and consultation are two key factors that help to build trust and understanding between you as a homeowner or builder and us as your window provider. Realistically, the only way that you know what you are getting is by talking with us and understanding our solutions. As contractors that live and die by our reputations, a long-time presence means that we deliver what we promise and have the resources to make sure you get what you expect of us. Part of our job is to manage expectations. We do not want to over-promise and under-deliver.

A-1 Windows will make sure you understand what we are making for you and what we will do once on-site. Every installation and site is different so every installation is unique. We configure our products to match your home and your needs to provide a comprehensive solution. Clean, complete, and proper installations are only the start.

Window Projects are More Than Windows – It’s the People Too

We can meet you at the job site or show you around our showroom. Either way, we want to put a face on your interactions as we welcome you into the A-1 Windows family. Whether you are meeting one of our sales staff, administrator, or installers (heck, even the accountant says “hello!”) we want you to know that we value all of our customer interactions and want to get to know how you envision your window project. We will do our best to make your vision come to life!

Replacing All Windows – Maximizing Cost Efficiency

A picture that captures all four surrounding buildings towering over the photographer. This image should inspire the feelings of vertigo.
Photo by Patrick Reichboth on Unsplash

Are you considering replacing some or all of your windows? Customers frequently ask why a homeowner should choose to upgrade all of their windows at once. There are a few key reasons why we recommend doing a larger amount at once. For some people, the project is about aesthetics while for others the drafty windows need to be replaced with better sealed, more efficient windows. There are different qualities that people value in windows so we want to address the most common concerns and how those relate to doing more windows at once.

Rebates are Temporary

Top of mind for most homeowners is cost. Rebates help to offset those costs once the installation is completed. What rebates are available? How do I qualify? How long will they be available? Honestly, we really only know the answers to the first two. We have covered those questions in another blog that goes over everything you need to know. As to how long the rebate programs will last… no one really knows.

Importantly, each homeowner can only access the Canada Greener Homes Grant once. As this is the largest source of funds for Energy Efficiency incentives, it is best practice for window shoppers to want to maximize their return on investment. If you replace your windows in batches, acceptance is still only for the first application. If you want the full $7,000, you must install 20 replacement windows.

Administrators for the provincial programs issued a notice earlier this year that the scope of rebate-qualified products is shrinking. As of October 1st, any Tier-1 windows will no longer qualify for provincial rebates. By eliminating the lower tier of products, this program update brings the provincial program up to the same energy requirements as the federal Greener Homes Grant. Now the minimum requirement for rebate windows is a U-Value of 1.22.

Less Time with Contractors

Two people pointing at blueprints on a table. This is supposed to represent a consultation with a contractor.
Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

A contractor’s time is their money. In client consultations, the cost is a frequent factor in the contractor selection process. Does replacing more windows will cost less? Per window, yes! Overall, it takes less time to install more windows at once so we have lower labor costs involved in your project. If the contractor only needs to plan one larger installation that work takes less time than planning more frequent, smaller projects. Smaller projects also have more travel time and more downtime and fewer opportunities to make the work more efficient.

In terms of manufacturing, it is also less expensive to place larger orders because our systems are better able to optimize our raw materials. We pass those savings on to our customers. Are the material savings large? Not really. Nevertheless, these savings exist and you should know about them.

Unified Style – Get Your Home All on the Same Page

On your drives around the Lower Mainland, you have likely seen many houses that have mismatched windows. Do you want to own that house? Windows are the finishes on your façade. Different finishes, styles, and installations will contrast starkly against an otherwise unified appearance.  

Windows are transformative. Just like wearing a well-fitted outfit, finding windows that tailor to your style can enhance or exaggerate the best features of your home. Are you curious about your options? Read what we have to say about window aesthetic considerations. Just know that when trying to make your home have one cohesive look or style, many options are available to tailor the look and feel of the windows to match your exact vision. Windows can really pop, make sure that is a selling feature.

Indoor Air Quality

Do you have drafty windows? Is your AC working overtime to keep your air fresh? Is it too hot to be near your windows during the summer? New windows can help.

Drafty windows occur either because of failing weather-stripping or because of poor quality or poorly aging installations. Many of the seals that stop air from passing through the window penetration can degrade over time. Two common causes are symptoms of an older installation. Compression seals on casements work better and last longer than mohair seals on slider windows and caulking is exposed to the elements and may degrade or require a touch-up.

If you have an older house, your windows may not have the modern LowE coatings that we apply to windows. We can tailor the window’s insulation ratings to your comfort preferences and budget requirements. Modern window systems have a diverse range of options to match your needs. We can stop the sun’s heat from coming in, and drastically increase your control of the interior temperature by limiting fluctuations of energy through your windows.

A comfortable living room filled with green plants.
Photo by Patrick Perkins on Unsplash

Energy Savings

When we upgrade windows, we are usually aiming for High-Efficiency standards. In Canada, we follow the Energy-Star guides and provide either Energy-Star qualified or Energy-Star Most Efficient qualified window systems. If you have single-glazed windows, this change will be night and day; however, even people with double-glazed systems will notice a significant change in their energy consumption. Because these modern windows can limit the temperature fluctuations inside your home, your AC or heating systems will need to work a lot less to get you to ideal temperatures year-round. When considering replacing all windows, think about how all of these benefits are cumulative.

Don’t take our word for it either! Consider having an energy evaluation done on your home by contractors registered with Natural Resources Canada. These are the first step on your way to the Canada Greener Homes Grant anyways. These reports will back up our claims 100% of the time. If you have ever heard the phrase “builder-grade windows” you probably know that windows have a range of quality. Good windows provide excellent energy efficiency and are more affordable than ever with the current government funds.

Window Styles: A Brief on Aesthetic Considerations

The garden view of a large stone mansion. The sightlines provided from the newly renovated windows show how window styles and pop out of the building.
Photo by Fabian Wiktor on Unsplash

How well do you know window styles? Do you have an architect’s background in design, do you have a historian’s perspective on building trends, or are you a layperson looking to figure this all out? If you answered that you are looking to figure everything out, then you are in the right place.

American vs. European Window Styles

Let us start with the basics of our geography. There are three types of window hardware sets for windows. Broadly, these are Casement windows where the opening section (a “sash”) is held in place with a hinge that swings outward; sliding windows where the sash moves from side to side or up and down; and European windows, which encompass more complex hinged arrangements. In North America, casements and sliders are the most dominant forms of windows, but European styles are on the rise. For a more focused discussion of aesthetics and common American styles, we will stick to casements and sliders.

Casements vs. Sliders: What are the Style Differences?

When considering window aesthetics, the two most common windows pictured in one’s imagination are casement windows and vertically sliding windows. These window styles are reminiscent of the post-industrial, mass-manufactured window marketplace that were foundational to urban expansion and densification. Horizontal sliders are rising in prominence because of their utility in matching the sightlines of casements for less expense. One consideration that weighs negatively on slider windows is that the sightlines move when the windows open often misaligning the vertical symmetries. Casements, by nature of being fixed in place with their hinge, will not alter sightlines at all.

When discussing styles and aesthetics, we must note how sliders and casements treat picture windows. In casement frames, most companies have two ways of mounting their windows. The two options are to mount directly to the frame, to maximize visibility, or to mount in an unhinged sash to match the opening windows. For slider windows, the unmoving glass is fixed to the frame. It is uncommon that manufacturers will have aligned horizontal sightlines on slider windows.

The front view of a beautiful mansion. This is an example where arched windows styles with decorative bars are on display.
Photo by Nick Romanov on Unsplash

Decorative Bars – Add Lines to Your Windows

One way that you can add a decorative flourish to your home is with decorative window bars. Either these can be on the inside, between the panes of glass, or your manufacturer can mount these to the outside of the glass. The two differences between these options are low vs. high maintenance and, when up-close, you may be able to see that the bars are not connected internally for the external application. For the most part, these decorations are identical in regards to aesthetic design, as one does not simply view the aesthetics up-close.

There are several common configurations for different vintage homes. Decorative bars emulate the wooden divisions that are common on wooden windows of which there are common patterns. Different regions have used various terminologies to describe these window styles; however, they fall into either a descriptive name or a style name. E.g. A 9-over-1 window indicates that the top should simulate nine panes of glass and the bottom one pane while a Prairie style indicates bars tracing the perimeter of the glass.

Decorative bar examples. These show the different window styles that are common on vintage homes.
These are customizable!

What About Shaped Window Styles?

Shaped windows are very common in houses built in the late 80s and 90s. Because of the typical 30-year nostalgia cycle, we are starting to see a resurgence of angled and arched windows. Many of these windows need replacing and shaped windows are coming back into style for new construction. Loosely, there are two types of shaped windows: there are windows where the angles are not all 90-degree and there are windows that project out of the wall.

Rakes & Arches

Rakes are the name given to any window that does not have 90-degree corners but that may not have curves. In contrast, arched windows describe any windows that have curved elements. These are not mutually exclusive; a window can be both a rake and have arched elements. Shaped windows usually do not open. The hardware used to allow windows to open cannot be properly affixed to angled or curved elements.

For rake windows, we see many designers opt to have their windows follow the roof’s angle to provide the maximum amount of light into the house. Depending on their span, manufacturers will divide wider windows into smaller sections that match other vertical elements. In homes built in the 90s, it is common that these will be transoms over French doors or patio doors with vertical mullions aligned.

A cabin-styles home demonstrating the use of rake window styles in aligning with the pitch of the roof.
Photo by vu anh on Unsplash

Arched windows are more versatile for decoration but the change to vinyl as the primary frame material makes replacing existing arches more difficult. Arched windows come in two most common designs. They are usually either half-rounds or “eyebrow” windows. On eyebrow windows, the arched element at the top has a larger radius than the width of the window. The depth of the curve on these windows makes them easy to produce in vinyl.

Aluminum windows that were common in the previous millennium have tight radii that may not be replicable in vinyl. On wider windows, or eyebrow windows, this is not an issue. For half-rounds, however, different manufacturers will have limits on the minimum radii of their arches.

Bays & Bows

Bays and Bows project out from the wall’s vertical plane. There are many different designs and styles so we will only cover the commonalities. Bay windows are usually three sections: one large central section with two smaller sections on either side. These will have varying angles and sizes depending on the projection. Bow windows are made of three or more windows of equal size where the definition of the projection is a specific radius. Similarly, the radius and width determine the sizes and angles. Otherwise, these windows have no defining features. If you want to have opening sections on these windows, doing so is an achievable goal.

Both bay windows and bowed windows come in two varieties. These windows have “True” and “False” versions. On a true version of one of these window types, one window system fills the whole opening. This system has multiple sections connected with couplers or welds. The false versions of these windows will have separate framed openings for each section of the window. Producers of the “True” versions of these windows are becoming scarce. These are difficult windows to produce and more difficult to service. Manufacturers will help you design the “false” variants of these systems to optimize your cost and performance.

Your Window Style

Ask your window manufacturer to provide you with a rendering of exactly how your windows will look. If you have prepared plans for a renovation, or if you are building anew, your window manufacturer can assist you in designing and aligning the aesthetics of your home to your ideal vision. Dress your home with your window style. Reach out for a consultation and get the windows you deserve!

Do’s & Do Not’s: Replacing Windows

A large wooden window looks out on a picturesque hillside.
Photo by Rob Wingate on Unsplash

Customers ask every day about what to expect when you are replacing your windows. There are a few key points that we stress to every homeowner that helps to align expectations and better understand the whole sales and installation process. We believe that it is important for our customers to understand these expectations because educated customers are happier customers.

The Five Expectations of Replacing Windows

We have identified these five areas as frequent discussion topics with our customers. Once our customers have a good understanding of the below topics, we can be confident that your window story will be a success.

  1. Products
  2. Pricing
  3. Timeline
  4. Installation
  5. Maintenance

1.    What do my Window Replacements Look Like?

We have written quite a bit about how to choose windows or the differences between window materials, but what should our customers understand more broadly?

Do: Come Into the Showroom

Seeing quotations will only give you a cursory understanding of what you are purchasing. Most of our customers want to experience their windows before they buy. You can only do that by coming into the showroom and playing with our demo windows. Come and see all of the hardware in action, ask any questions that come up, and have one of our experienced staff walk you through exactly what your order looks like.

Don’t: Assume You Understand Your Window Replacements

While everyone tries to make their quotes easy to read and concise, much of the information provided on the quote we do not expect you to retain. What will the installation look like? What type of obscure is on the windows? Do any of the windows have safety glass? These are all common questions that you should ask us. We can take the time to go over our quotations and make sure you understand everything we plan to provide.

2.    How Much Does the Project Cost?

Every window company is different, just as every house is different. The price for replacing windows and installations will vary greatly depending on what is required to do the work. For example, installing windows on stucco is very different from installing them on a brick façade.

Do: Find the Best Value

Do you know how to compare the performance ratings of your windows? What method of installation is your contractor providing? Do your windows qualify for rebates? The answers to all of these questions will greatly influence the value you are receiving from your window provider.

Compare the energy ratings and installation method first. These are the most important aspects that have objective comparisons. A lower U-Value is better and means that the window is a better insulator; a “new-construction” style or “full-flange” installation is better than a renovation method of installation. Of course, both of these have additional material and labor costs that will affect the value of the final product.

Don’t: Pick the Lowest Price First

While price is the top consideration for most customers do not make it the only one. Consider a few questions: Why is this quote less expensive? What is different between the quotations? Do these companies have reviews or testimonials?

Even if the windows are the same and the prices are identical, there are other ways to evaluate who should provide your windows. Consider how long the contractors have been working in your area. Do they have pictures from other similar jobs and installations? Is there something unique about their products or service that might make the difference in your consideration? The sales price is only the start of your relationship. How long is the warranty?

A small figure is reading while sitting on a stack of coins.
Photo by Mathieu Stern on Unsplash

3.    When Can Your Windows Be Replaced?

Replacing windows – and construction projects generally – are seasonal businesses. As the rain and snow subsides, we get busier; as the rains return our work starts to slow down. Installing windows in difficult weather may lead to poor outcomes. It is the best practice to minimize your home’s exposure to the elements. Minor rain can be abated, but if there is a storm forecasted, your installation would need to be delayed.

Do: Plan your Window Replacement Early!

Start talking to us three months out from when you want everything done. Depending on the season, we may be able to do the work sooner, but three months is usually the lead time in the busy season. Reaching out and starting the conversation about your project is the first step. Most companies want to come out and verify the site conditions and take measurements themselves. Some companies will send out a sales representative to meet you at your home so that they can demo the products. All of these things can take time but will ensure a better experience for you and a smoother installation for us.

Don’t: Be Unrealistic With Your Expectations

I am sure you all know someone who can do the window replacements: someone who can make room for you in his schedule who is a jack-of-all-trades. We do not do everything; we are window specialists and our scope is windows and minor framing work. If you are looking to replace a wall or many of the windows to be removed, reframed, and then installed, a window company may not be your best choice for the work. Window companies often work with general contractors to coordinate projects that are more difficult. We often turn down work that is out of our scope of service and refer people to general contractors who can source the labor and materials for your entire project.

4.    What Does Window Replacement Entail?

Replacing windows comes packaged in a few different ways. For some projects, a one-to-one replacement is simple. On some window replacements, we require peripheral work on the framing or siding. For example, when we see stucco siding there are two most common replacement methods: full-flange replacement that finishes with wooden trims, or a renovation replacement with a brickmould. One of these methods is much faster and less invasive. Because these methods are so different, and all projects can have many similar choices, get to know what your contractor will do.

Do: Get to Know Your Installation Method

Do you know what the difference is between a renovation and a full-flange replacement? Full-Flange (“New Construction”) installations have the window installer removing your siding and exposing the wooden framing onto which they will mount the window. If needed, window companies can provide minor reframing for the material and labor costs. This method is more labor intensive, usually louder, and definitely is more expensive. The benefit, however, is that once the window replacement is completed these windows will be properly tied into the existing weather barriers that your house was designed for. Primarily, this is a far superior water barrier.

Renovation-style replacements have their place but there are tradeoffs. When cost is the primary concern, renovation is more affordable while still providing upgrades to energy efficiency. In this method, we are less able to upgrade the water tightness and rely on the existing framing to be properly waterproofed.

Don’t: Be Afraid to Walk Away, Talk to Multiple Companies

Renovation installations are the preferred method of installation for many contractors but are not the recommended installation method within our industry. When possible do a full-flange installation. There are some cases where full-flange replacements are impractical, but those are uncommon circumstances.  Get a second opinion and third opinion about your project. Ask questions about what they plan to do.

5.    Take Care of Your Windows

Most windows are low-maintenance. Keeping your windows clean and debris-free is the majority of work required.

Do: Make Sure the Drains Holes are Working

In the springtime, or just before the fall rains start, check the outside drain holes on your windows. These allow water that collects on and in your windows to drain. When these back up, water collects in the frames and may increase the chances of water ingress.

Don’t: Pressure Wash Your Windows

We know that pressure washing makes cleaning your siding an easy and fast job. The pressurized water can cause damage to windows. The caulking can be washed away or eroded and the sealants that provide the seals on and around the glass can also be worn down and fail.

Enjoy Your Windows!

If you have committed to replacing windows and have read everything above, you are well equipped to understand what you are buying. Love your windows!

If you are considering a window replacement and want our opinion, click the button below.

Summer Refresher on Home Rebates: Save Energy in Your Home

We have talked about them before, and they are still around: rebates! Get your government funded upgrades for your home. We are a window company, but we know that you may be looking at a whole assortment of different upgrades. Just so you know, there are rebates for all types of home improvements and appliances. While windows are usually the topic de jure around these parts, we know that we have a diverse customer base for whom cutting costs is top of mind.

Who Provides These Rebates?

The rebates programs are an investment from the utility companies in partnership with the federal and provincial governments. Together these partnerships have formed the CleanBC fund here in our province; on the larger scale, we have the Canada Greener Homes Initiative. Your tax dollars and current utility bills are providing the funds for these programs so you might as well take advantage of them while the funds last.

Why are Rebates Being Offered?

To put it simply there are two prongs to this approach: Canadian Products and Canadian Jobs. The green energy initiative are nice, don’t get me wrong, but these programs are creating jobs in manufacturing, trades, and green technology spaces. Your buy-in as a consumer also indicates your commitment to the environment (or your wallet – synonyms in this context). This is politics done right: support the buying power of Canadians, build Canadian Jobs, and save Canadians money. A win-win-win scenario that all parties can claim to have helped build.

What are the Home Rebates Rules

Let us start with the big picture and narrow it down. There are two programs: the Federal Canada Greener Homes Initiative and the Provincial CleanBC program. Each of these programs has different requirements and different timelines. We have written an example for windows, which is still accurate if you want a specific example.

Generally, you can do both at once by following this timeline:

  1. Qualify your home with an Energy Evaluator Inspection
  2. Get quotes for the products and services recommended
  3. Ensure that the products match the rebates – see “NRCan Codes” below
  4. Select a vendor to provide the products and installation
  5. Contact your Energy Evaluator for the post-installation Evaluation
  6. Fill out the paperwork for both programs simultaneously

That is our patent-pending, sure-fire QGESCF method. Internally we refer to this as simply the “Kafka” method.

What If I Can’t Afford The Products Even With the Rebates?

You need to know about the Income-Qualified Program (referred to as IQP) for the CleanBC program. Many companies or contractors are registered as able to perform high-efficiency installations. Independent bodies qualify the products and services that these providers offer. If they meet the high bar of entry, then CleanBC may elect to add them to their list of contractors []. The Federal Program does not currently have an income-qualified pathway.

You can qualify for a larger rebate depending on the income level of your household compared with how many people live in your home. Those in the Income Level 1 bracket can qualify for a 95% rebate while those in Income Level 2 can qualify for a 60% rebate. While there is a lot of scrutiny over this program, if you qualify for the regular rebates, and your income is within the ranges on the table below, you will likely qualify for the IQP program. Follow this link for the Qualifications PDF.

Number Of People In Your Household
Including Children
Household Income – Level 1Household Income – Level 2

What Are the Rebates for Renovation Projects?

There are wide ranges of products that qualify for rebates. All of these different categories have different levels of rebates depending on the types of products available. These rebates are all aimed at making your home use less energy. That can be from sealing your home from the elements or that could be from you using less electricity to heat your home. The end goal is the same: to reduce your energy bills. Through the regular qualification, the smallest rebates start at $50 for a mid-efficient window and go as high as $6,000 towards a central duct rework.

There is also an incentive for you to access multiple rebates at the same time! If you complete two eligible upgrades within the prescribed timeframe, the Provincial government will chip in an additional $300. Consider that it is in the best interest of your wallet to do upgrades all at once and talk with your energy adviser about which upgrades will be the best for your home. Maximize your return to minimize your bills! There is also a $40,000, interest-free loan available if your home is qualified for the Federal program.

Enough Preamble; What Products Qualify‽‽‽

All right, All right… here is what you came to read:

These Products Qualify For Rebates on Their Own

Attic Insulation250-1800Minimum 20% Area
Cathedral or Flat Attic Insulation250-600Many Conditions Apply
Exterior Wall Insulation R7.5660 – 3300Prorated by Coverage
Exterior Wall Insulation R13760 – 3800Prorated by Coverage
Exterior Wall Insulation R201000 – 5000Prorated by Coverage
Exposed Floor Insulation350Minimum 120 Square Feet
Foundations120-240 or 400Depends on House Type
Basement Wall R10210 – 1050Prorated by Coverage
Basement Wall R22+300 – 1500Prorated by Coverage
Basement Wall Upgrade R7.5 to R12660
Crawlspace Insulation R101040Semidetached and Rows are Prorated
Crawlspace Insulation R231300Semidetached and Rows are Prorated
Crawlspace Ceiling Insulation R24800
Air Sealing to Target550
Air Sealing +10%810
Air Sealing +201000
Windows and Doors50 – 350 eachDepends on U-Value
Ground Source Heat Pump – Full System5000
Replace Heat Pump – Pump3000
Air Source Heat Pump New Install2500Two indoor Head Units
Air Source Heat Pump install or replace4000Three indoor Head Units
Cold Climate Heat Pump5000Many Conditions Apply
Water Heater Heat Pump1000
Solar Panels1000/KW

These Must be Combined With Other Rebates

Batteries for Photovoltaic systems1000For Standby Power to Home
Roofing Membrane150
Foundation Water=Proofing875
Moisture-Proofing crawlspace600
Smart Thermostat50

How Do I Compare My Quotes?

NRCan Numbers. Every product that qualifies for rebates must be registered with the Federal government bodies called Natural Resources Canada (hence NRCan). When we register products, independent laboratories test the products in standard formats to make the comparisons as easy to evaluate as is possible. Different products will have different values tested, but they will all be the same values and tests for a given product. Obviously, I am most well versed in windows. Our comparisons usually have two important values, which are the U-value (the window’s thermal resistance) and the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (how much sunlight will affect your home). When you look up a product on the NRCan registry that is how consumers are to compare windows.

Anything Else I Should Know?

Your energy adviser is — at all times — supposed to be an independent party providing you with a consultation about how to best retrofit your home. They will provide you with a report that shows you a breakdown of your energy use and can roughly evaluate how much energy different products will save you in energy usage. This is the best tool you have to make an informed decision. In our experience having seen many such reports, windows are usually one of the best upgrade opportunities, however…

This window company’s blog has an implicit bias: we want you to buy our windows.

How to Save Energy During the Summer Months

If you want to save energy at home there are a few very effective strategies for reducing the amount of energy you need to use to be comfortable in your home. While the “Recycle” craze has taken a hold of our society, “Reduce” is still the foremost pillar of the Three R’s Framework. Where we can, using less energy is the best way to limit our greenhouse gas emissions. If you can save energy, save money, and save the planet, is not that a noble goal?

1.    Save Energy, Use Your AC!

AC units are a fantastic way to get a comfortable home for a reasonable price; however, most homeowners do not know that these machines require upkeep. Pop quiz: how often should you service your at-home Air Conditioner? You should service it at least every other year! Did you get your unit serviced in last year’s Heat Dome? Many homeowners neglect to take care of their AC units and it is costing them money and comfort!

Molds, Mildew, and Moisture can all accumulate in your AC unit. These problems can lower the quality of your air filtration and, more importantly, they reduce the efficiency of your AC unit. Make sure that whoever services your AC – that person can be you! – cleans or replaces the air filter, cleans the condenser fins, and removes any built-up gunk and excess moisture. These simple fixes should not take long and are one of the ways to save energy while cooling your home.

2.    Boycott the Sun!

Did you know that one of the most effective ways to reduce how much the sun heats up your home is by blocking the sun light from getting in? You likely already have blinds, drapes, or other window coverings. When the sun is shining bright, you can block it out. This is most effective on south-facing windows where you get tonnes of intense, daylong sunlight baths that soak your home in solar heat.

Save energy by needing less of it! Draw your curtains and block out the sunlight. If you have exterior shades, those are more effective than interior ones but use what you have. If your windows are in shade, then so too is your home. When you stop your home from heating up on the inside, you can turn down the AC or allow more natural light into areas of your home with less direct sunlight.

3.    Close the Lights and Turn Off the Circuits

Do you want to know how to save energy at home? Consider how many electronics you have and when you are actually using them. Why not try turning off the lights in your home? I am not suggesting you brood in the darkness and shut yourself in — not at all! Let the light in where it will heat up your home the least. If you have shaded backyards, or you live close to neighbours, your house may already benefit from some natural shade. Where you can, let in ambient light not direct sunlight. If you still have incandescent lights, or you have lights that become hot after a while of use, they may be using more energy than you think! If there is enough natural light, consider turning off the lights you are not actively using.

This is general advice for any electronics in your home: when not in use, turn them off. For example, many consumers leave their computers and computer monitors on for long periods of inactivity. Most systems will benefit from a full shutdown occasionally anyways so instead of using the “sleep” or “hibernate” functions on your computer, use the “shutdown” function instead. Sleep and Hibernate both use some electricity to keep your work save in memory. Eventually this will noticeably slow down your computer all while costing you energy you can save.

4.    Captain Obvious exclaims, “Heat = Hot!”

Those large appliances in your home, whose only job is to make heat, take a lot of energy to generate that heat. Then, once you machines generate that heat, they release that heat into your home. That means that not only did you use a tonne of energy you now have to use even more to cool down your home! During the warm summer months consider alternatives to both your oven and your dryer.

Need I convince you that Barbeque is an almost perfect summertime activity? I didn’t think so. Will I need to convince you to hang-dry your laundry? If you have to air-dry inside I think this one might be a hard sell. To get rid of the humidity you would need to crank up your AC. If you air-dry outside, it is actually a good deal – weather permitting.

5.    Cut Your Energy Usage not Your Activities

Now, I would be remiss not to mention what this blog is actually about. Energy efficient products have metric tonnes of carbon-footprint-erasing rebates. If you are looking to make better use of the products you enjoy consider looking at the provincial rebates for various appliances. For upgrades to your home, a combination of the federal grants and the provincial rebates will get you a lot of funds towards your upgrades.

You should know that in terms of energy efficiency of your home the Federal grants require you to have an energy evaluation. Windows, just as a matter of building science fact, are usually the weakest link in your building’s energy barriers. In all of the evaluations I have seen windows are always one of the upgrade recommendations. Unless your builder aimed for passive-haus or 2022 energy requirements, your windows can be, and likely should be, upgraded to Energy Star levels. You can read what I have written about the rebates for windows in this article.

Condensation on Windows: Is this Worst-Case Scenario?

Condensation is the process of gasses changing phase into liquids. When condensation appears on windows, it comes in three varieties with varying levels of severity. Broadly, water condensation happens when moisture in the air lowers in temperature when it makes contact with a surface and forms droplets. Two primary factors at play determine if moisture in the air will condense. They are the surface temperature and the relative humidity. When surfaces are cold and/or there is lots of moisture in the air the chance of condensation forming increases.

What Are Common Window Condensation Problems?

The three types of condensation that windows experience have varying levels of severity. Moisture in the air can form droplets on the outside of your home, the glass surface inside your home, or between the panes of glass that make up the insulating unit of your window. Usually when customers have issues with condensation on their windows it is in the latter two forms. Condensation on the exterior glass surface is expected and is usually entirely harmless on aluminum and vinyl windows. Here in the Lower Mainland, exterior condensation is as common as the rain.

Condensation that appears between the panes of glass in your window is not an indicator of moisture problems. Instead, this indicates a separate issue. When moisture appears between the panes of glass the seal on the window glass is failing and is one of the key indicators that windows should be replaced.

Condensation on the inside of your home is usually what concerns most consumers. Window and door products do not cause this condensation but different products can change the frequency and severity of the appearing condensation. Generally, window glass is the coldest surface in your home. That means that if condensation issues are present, they usually show on windows first.

When Does Condensation Damage Windows?

Condensation itself does not damage windows and can be relatively minor. Unattended water issues, such as excessive condensation, do cause issues. Water is the leading antagonist to all construction projects and materials. If water pools and soaks into drywall, mouldings, or other materials, then those materials can be degraded or start to rot. The problems can cascade into issues for the windows and the integrity of the seal that windows and your building provides against the elements. These problems take time to develop. You can avoid these problems if excessive condensation is the cause. Limiting the amount of condensation that forms or collecting the condensation when it is excessive stops the immediate issues from the collecting water.

What are the Causes of Condensation?

The causes of interior condensation are environmental. The primary culprits are the circulation and moisture levels in your home. To understand why condensation is forming, you have to understand what causes changes to ventilation and changes moisture levels in a home.

Some areas of your home may be increasing the amount of moisture in the air either by maintaining those levels of moisture or by adding moisture to the air. Plants do both. They store water and slowly release that water back into the air. Hot tubs, pools, bathrooms, and people all add to the humidity levels. Depending on the age and quality of your foundation, it can also be allowing moisture to seep into your basement causing the air to carry more water in your home. Any new furniture or construction materials may also be shedding moisture into the air as they acclimatize.

How you heat and cool your home will also affect the ways that air circulates and how much humidity remains inside of your home. Many systems will allow the homeowner to tailor the humidity values. However, if you only have baseboard heaters – which is common around here – you may only be able to affect the local temperature zones and not the circulation and humidity levels. Check how your home circulates air and if your system removes moisture. If you have a passive circulation system, or no circulation system (baseboard heaters), consider other ways of controlling these conditions.

A potted plant sits in front of a window. There is excessive condensation apparent on the window glass.
Photo by Nora Hutton on Unsplash

How to Reduce Condensation Risks

The general strategy for reducing the amount of condensation is to increase circulation of air and reduce the interior moisture levels. Opening windows and running a dehumidifier are sure-fire ways to combat your specific issues that increase your condensation risks. Monitor the humidity levels in your home and keep that level manageable. If your heating system allows, increase the amount of dehumidification. Consider also that window coverings may be hampering the circulation in front of your windows and increasing their chances of condensation.

What Role do Windows Play in Condensation?

It is very common that window companies will say that windows and doors do not cause condensation. While that is technically true, that statement deftly avoids the question you are asking. The type of windows that you have and the glass options used do affect the levels of humidity at which condensation is likely to form. Vinyl windows, with a “warm spacer” are the gold standard. Older windows, like old aluminum and wood windows are better conductors than vinyl. Single-glazed windows are worse conduction offenders than double-glazed, which is in-turn worse than triple-glazed. When windows conduct heat between the inside and the outside, they increase the likelihood that condensation will form on the glass. If you installed windows in the past decade then your manufacture is probably correct that the windows are not the issue.

When we install windows, it is very common that we are improving the seal of the house. That is, we close up many of the holes through which moisture may have been leaving your home. It is common that when windows which have a lower risk of condensation replace older, higher-risk windows that the improved sealing of the home cause previously free moisture exchange to stop. The condensation can often be an indicator of a well-done job! We can inadvertently increase the risks of condensation while providing a proper installation. When condensation forms on these windows, the culprits are always airflow and humidity.

Water condenses on a wooden window that has a loose drape on the interior.
Photo by Ozgu Ozden on Unsplash


What are the best types of windows to reduce condensation?

All modern windows use technology to reduce condensation. Generally, vinyl or composites are better than wood, which is better than aluminum.

What seasons are the worst for condensation?

This will depend on where you live. Humidity is the key. When humidity is high, condensation risks are high.

Why do my new windows have condensation? My old ones did not!

This likely happens because the house is better sealed than it was with the previous windows. Your new windows may have stopped existing leaks that were allowing moisture to escape your house.

Can window coverings cause condensation?

Window coverings can reduce the airflow around windows and change the temperature of the glass.

Top #6 How-To Tips for Choosing a Window Installer

Photo by Annie Gray on Unsplash

Choose the Best Window Installer for your Project

Choosing a contractor for any job is a daunting responsibility for a homeowner. The work that the contractor does to your home will have a substantial impact on the comfort, livability, and resale value. Everyone has heard of disasters – stories told by a friend of a friend of someone’s – that promises are broken or that the workmanship is inadequate. How can someone who is not experienced in the trades find someone who can provide affordable, good quality workmanship? When choosing a window installer, what are the key indicators of a company or tradesperson that can tell you more than just the sales pitch? What is important to you?

There are a couple signs of a good contractor that are generally universal. This person or company should be familiar with the needs of someone in your situation. It is exceedingly rare in today’s economy of mass production that your situation will be truly unique. For people in the window trade – glaziers is the trade name for people who work with glass and windows – most homes today fall into only a few categories. New construction work is generally the simplest. Installers can follow the manufacturer’s instructions and get the work done very efficiently for the other trades to follow.

Everything else is renovation and that is likely why you are here. Renovation jobs are when contractors shine. They have to evaluate the situation and make suggestions. This is also where inexperience may also rear its head: a contractor that is worth his salt will tell you what can and cannot be done. Good contractors say “no” to unreasonable or untenable requests.

Tip #1 – Know What You Want

Your job, when selecting a contractor, is to know what you want out of this job. Do you want to improve the aesthetics or functionality? Do you want to increase your home’s efficiency? Know your priorities going in. Check out these considerations that most homeowners face when considering a window replacement: Read More Here. Once you have an idea about what you want you can start to look for contractors who can provide that service. For example, some contractors may only do certain types of finishes. If they do not provide the service you are looking for they are likely not a great fit.

Tip #2 – Check out Their Reviews and Socials

Almost every contractor lives or dies by word of mouth. That comes either from direct referrals or from ongoing marketing presences. Some contractors do not have these tools available for prospective customers and instead only rely on direct references. Even if someone you trust has recommended this person, ask for photos of their work.

If you are going out on your own and prospecting different installers, look for history. Has the company been around for a long time? Have they been doing the kind of work that you want done? What are the opinions from previous customers? In this age of social media and digital interconnection, a good company will have presence on social media. They should be regularly interacting with clients and showing off their work.

HomeStars Best of the Best 2022 Logo
Better Business Bureau Logo

Tip #3 – Reviews Show the Bigger Picture

Look for the bad and the good. Every company makes mistakes and no company that has been doing work for a long period has no bad reviews. Do the company reviews seem too good to be true? That may be a red flag. What you should be able to learn from the reviews is how the company has dealt with issues. Does the company make their warranty complicated to exercise? Do they make fixing issues a priority? Do their products preform as promised? All of these questions can usually be answered quickly by reading the low- and middle-rated reviews.

There are tons of resources available for the consumer – more than ever before! Check out the company’s BBB rating; look for them on Google Reviews; find their HomeStars Rating! These are all independent tools that companies opt into so that customers can have a more informed decision process. The black marks stay for all to see and for all to learn from.

Tip #4 – Meet them, Sit with Them, Get an Education

Did you know that when salespeople should be well versed in their products and services? If yours are not, choose someone else! Whomever you speak with, if they are the ones quoting your work, they should be able to walk you through their entire process from A – Z. Cover any questions about the products, about installations, or about warranty on one of your initial conversations.

Before you sign anything and commit yourself to an installer, get to know what they are actually selling you. What will this job look like when it you finish? What exactly are you doing to my home? Is anything not included in this scope of work? In our industry, we have standard recommendations for many different installation challenges.

Did you see a poor review on their socials? Ask them what has changed since that review. What has the company done to improve? How did the company rectify that issue? If something happens on your job, how will the company react?

Tip #5 – Look for Local

When choosing a window installer, consider how well they know your area. Does the company manufacture their windows and install them or do they purchase the windows to install? Where are the windows made? Is the installer from your area – are they familiar with local conditions? A big part of a successful and happy installation is you knowing that the windows you purchase will accommodate the conditions of your region. We have written about the questions to ask your installers, which you can find HERE.

Tip #6 – Certification Matter

Every industry has standards. Local, provincial, and federal regulations govern windows and window installers. While there are too many certifications to explore here, I will list a few key ones to look for.

EnergyStar Certification — is the most well-known, international marker of quality windows. Windows that qualify for these markings test to high-energy requirements.

Other memberships to look for will mostly be local; however, there are some key terms to look for. If you see certifications for Housing Associations, Building Envelope organizations, or Glazing/Fenestration associations are all good things to see. They indicate participation in local initiatives and tell you that they are working on improving their products and services over time.

For full disclosure, here is a link to our associations page: CLICK HERE!

Choosing a Window Installer

So, you have done your homework and found a few installers who fit the bill. Get a couple of quotes to compare their pricing. Assuming that the work is similar or the same between the installers, the prices should be very close. If there is deviation, question it. Do they offer any incentive programs? If they do, get those numbers lower! Once you have a quote for the work that you are happy with you should be all set to sign a contract for the windows.

We can help!

A-1 Window’s Checklist for Preparing for a Window Installation

Two A-1 Windows Installers are loading windows onto the glazing rack of one of the branded vans.

All Proper Window Installations Start with Our Sales Team

A-1 Windows ensures that all of our sales people know window installation methods and best practices. When we come to your home to evaluate your house for new windows our team members will discuss the installation methods and finishing for your project. Take advantage of having us in your home! Ask any questions you may have from our knowledgeable staff and let them know any of your concerns. If you have not yet spoken with our team about your installation, reach out now with the button below.

I’ve Signed! Let’s Get to the Window Installation!

Hold up now! Once we have drafted the contract and collected a deposit we do not just start to make the windows. We send out one of our installers (not the sales team!) to take final measurements and to get to know the job before they are back there again installing. The person we send out for this step is often the team lead for your installation. Their expert eyes have seen it all! Therefore, anything that might have been overlooked is double-checked and final measurements are taken to ensure the perfect, custom fit of your new windows.

Man measuring window. Installing new window in house

Lightning Round Questions (FAQ)

How Long Does Window Installation Take?

Most projects take one day. Complex orders, or very large orders can be two or three days.

Do you Install Windows Year-Round?

Yep! Weather permitting we like to keep upgrading people’s homes. We do not install in heavy rains or snow. Depending on the install, heavy winds can also be dangerous.

Will My House Be Exposed to the Elements?

No. Our installers do one window at a time and we use the existing window openings. If weather is a concern, we will reschedule.

Do you need to change the walls or window frames?

In most cases, no. If there is a need, that work will need to be completed before A-1 Windows installs windows by another carpenter of your choosing.

Do you Clean Up After the Window Installation?

Yes. Construction work does make quite a mess. We do our best to contain and clean. Ideally there will be minimal disturbance from our work.

What Happens to my Old Windows?

Recycling is included in the installation prices. We will take them away and prepare them for recycling centers that we work with regularly.

Are the Installers Employed by A-1 Windows?

Yes! A-1 Windows manufactures and installs all with in-house teams. For projects like high-rise towers though, we do hire people with the proper qualifications. Rest assured that A-1 Windows guarantee the installation.

What can I do to Prepare for Window Installations?

I promised you a checklist so here it comes! These are all things you can do the day before your window installation to make everything go smoothly.

  • Remove the Blinds, Drapes, or other window coverings including the brackets and tracks
  • If you have storm windows, please remove them
  • Kindly remove any security bars before we arrive
  • Deactivate security systems with contacts on the windows and remove the contacts
  • Remove all items from each of the windowsills
  • Take down removable wall furnishings that are close to the windows (about three (3) feet)
  • Create a clear working area around the windows and doors so that we have room to work

That’s it! We will take care of the rest!

Woman in yellow gloves cleaning window

What is Your Role When We are On-Site?

I highly recommend sipping Mimosas with fresh Belgian waffles and berries. It is the perfect brunch for special occasions. In all seriousness, you are only required to be there in case there is an issue in the installation that needs to be brought to your attention. While rare, we do occasionally encounter unexpected elements such as mold and rot that lies hidden beneath existing window installation. When we encounter these issues we immediately stop work and bring these issues to your attention. Often this will include a call with our installation manager who can offer solutions.

Ninety-nine percent (99%) of installations do not have unforeseen complications. For the rest of our installations we will go around the house replacing each of the windows in turn until the day is over or we complete the job. Once we have installed the windows, our team lead will to inspect the work with you. Once the job is to your satisfaction, we will ask to confirm completion with your signature. 

Post-Installation Care

A-1 Windows is here for you! We can always be reached at our email or our landline during office hours (604) 777-8000.

Please Share Your Experiences!

Businesses like ours rely on word of mouth. Please make sure to leave a review for us after installations.

When Is it Time To Replace Your Old Windows?

Let’s Develop your Eye for Worn Windows

All windows have a life expectancy. Many homeowners are content allowing their windows to be wear well past that date. This can lead to higher energy bills, seasonal hot or cold spots near windows, and a general lack of comfort in your home. To answer, “When is it time to replace your old windows?” ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I see cracks in the glass or window frames?
  • Does condensation pile up on my windows?
  • Do my windows leak when it rains?
  • Have I had any difficulty opening or closing these windows?
  • Are parts missing from my windows?
  • Do I have high heating and cooling costs?
  • Is my house going on the market?

If you answered “YES” to any of these questions, you should consider new windows.

What Do Old or Damaged Windows Look Like?

Look at this rotation of stock photos. Each of them shows very common and very late-stage signs of issues with the windows. They show condensation – or fogging – on the glass, broken panes of glass, and peeling paint with wood rot. If you see any of these signs, they indicate issues with the windows that require correction. They all also imply that further damage may have occurred that might need replacing underneath the windows. Call your window professional and have pictures ready to send them for immediate assessment.

“I’ve Looked and I Don’t Have Those Problems. What’s Next?”

If your window problems are not obvious on a quick glance then we have to do a more thorough investigation. You know your home better than anyone else does. Only you can properly answer these questions. Be honest. Do you ever feel a draft in a room? Has it ever felt like no matter how much you heat your house it stays cold? In the summer, does the sunlight cause you to draw your blinds or move from the most comfortable spot on the couch? Have you ever put up reflective foils to block sunlight?

A “YES” to any of these questions tells me that your current windows might not be a great fit for your house or your needs. We have the technology to tailor windows to how you want to enjoy your home. These problems also mean that you are losing a lot of energy.

What Are My Window Needs?

Every salesperson wants to answer this for you. If you ask, “When is it time to replace my old windows?” every salesperson will answer that there is no better time than the present. How can you make sure that they are being honest and respectful? Let us do an assessment without technical babble.

Here is a checklist of questions to answer so that you can personally evaluate your needs:

  • Is your house frequently changing temperatures seasonally?
  • Do you have lots of shade or trees nearby that blocks direct sunlight from your home?
  • Do you want to change the aesthetics of your house?
  • Are you planning any other renovations in the near future?
  • Are you qualified for the government fund programs? Double-check by clicking here!
  • Do you want to change how your windows open?
  • Are you looking to soundproof certain windows?


Generally the more that the sun shines directly on your home the more energy efficient you want your windows to be. That often means that higher-efficiency glass options are required to reflect heat away from your windows. If you have high heating and cooling costs, you want to maximize your temperature retention.

Installation Methods

There are two most common installation methods in the residential business: the renovation installation and the new-construction installation. With the renovation installation, the labour costs are lower – because the installation is easier and faster – but doing other upgrades can be more difficult. In a renovation installation, the window has an additional flange that goes over your existing siding. In a new-construction method, the windows are finished with new wooden trims (or other materials!) If you plan any other renovations to the exterior, we recommend doing the new-construction finish.


If you live near a busy street, next to a skytrain rail, or anywhere that noise is a concern then windows can be upgraded to have sound-resistant glass. Upgrading the glass to sound-resistant laminated glass will reduce the sound more than any other upgrade, but it can be combined with others too. For the most sound dampening that is realistically affordable you can buy triple-glazed windows that qualify for rebates that have this upgraded glass. Hinged windows also reduce sound more than sliders.

How the Windows Move

In terms of functions that are available for windows there are two primary opening mechanisms: hinges and sliders. Hinges have many different configurations while sliders are mostly straight-forward (and less expensive!). I hope to illustrate the different options clearly in this blog soon, but for now I would recommend going into the showroom and playing with the windows. See how they move and operate and consider the different options from the manufacturer.

Convinced? Still Not Sure?

We can help you figure out what windows are the best fit for your goals. Give our team a call or click the button below to reach out.

Return on Investments: How Much Window Replacements Pay Off

Colourful Canadian Cash and Coins Clutter the cover of a clear background.
Photo by PiggyBank on Unsplash

If you are reading this blog you are likely trying to learn about windows and might even be shopping for them too. How much window replacement windows cost has risen. Windows are a significant purchase and you are approaching your investment seriously if you learn what I am sharing here. Many improvements in window technologies have made windows the best investment that they have ever been. At the same time though, these improvements have raised the price floor of window purchases.  The ticket shock of seeing the price of windows is scary. Is this more than you budgeted for? You are not alone.

The long-term benefits of windows, though, are worth the price. Here is a quick list of what windows do now that will save you money:

  • Windows are more energy efficient saving you on heating and AC costs
  • Modern windows are better barriers against moisture and condensation
  • UV Blocking technologies mean that furniture and fixtures won’t fade
  • Efficient windows earn great resale value
  • Easier maintenance that is less frequent

How much window replacements cost varies on too many factors, but the most efficient windows run in the ballpark of $1000-1500 per window before rebates, grants, or other programs. To learn more about what questions to ask, read my guide here.

Energy Savings as an Investment Opportunity

You and I both live here in the lower mainland. I have lived in colder climates and I have lived in warmer climates. Everywhere windows do the same thing: they keep the cold out and the warm in. Modern windows are better than ever at doing just that. The federal and provincial governments are aiming to achieve low-energy targets and are paying people to upgrade their windows. They know that older windows are usually the biggest culprits for energy loss. How much do you think escapes through old windows? Would your guess be somewhere between 5-15%?

What if I told you that homes with aluminum windows from as recent as the early 2000s see about 22-30% of their energy escape through their windows. Consider your current energy bills, how quickly will high-efficiency windows pay off? It is likely earlier than you thought.

Welcome to the Lower Mainland – It’s Always Raining Here

Have you ever been meandering downtown and had your own personal rain cloud? I have – the forecast here lies when it calls for clear sunny days. It is important that your home is also protected from the high levels of moisture and precipitation that our climate bears. Windows deteriorate over time: seals fail, weather-stripping gets worn down, and hinges need care. New windows mean that all of these problems go away and stay away for a long time.

Modern guidelines establish that you should expect sealants to last 10 years – at the very minimum – and modern compression seals use two or even three barriers against water penetration to seal up that window. With the basic maintenance, the expected life of these new sealants is up to 50 years. New glass and vinyl window technologies confront the menace of condensation building inside your home. With the right choice of glass, you almost need to be drowning in the humidity to see condensation.

Furniture Damage is a Faded Fad of the Past

Reduced UV light is a feature of efficient windows. Yes, you can purchase windows that will let in lots of UV light, but why would you? According to some research done by one of the largest glass manufacturers even the worst offenders of modern windows only allow about 30% of UV light. With the right combination, that UV allowance goes down to 7% in high efficiency windows, and we have achieved as low as 1% in laboratory conditions. This means that those beautiful wooden floors that you are thinking about restoring will last for decades. Your furniture will thank you. No longer will you dread accidental sun bleaching or fading. As long as you do not apply your frosted tips while lounging on your cloth couch, I think you will be quite happy with bleach-free furniture.

Thinking of Selling? New Windows are a Top Feature

Realtors dream of a client who knows how to maximize their house’s value. One of the best returns on investment is new windows and a good front door. You might be surprised to learn that houses can have up to 30% of their surface covered in windows. That means that a lot of the curb appeal comes from how those windows look. Good colours and properly aligned sight lines can bump up an OK house to an excellent eye-catcher.

New vinyl windows adorn an old ivy-covered manor. The contrast of the white windows on the green and browns catches one's gaze.
Photo by James Bold on Unsplash

How Much Window Replacements are Worth

Good Windows provide many benefits unique to their role as the most permeable avenue for energy, water, and light. Newer windows will better protect your home and your wallet. They are a superb long-term investment that will allow you to appreciate living comfortably in your home.

When to Use Single, Double, and Triple Pane Windows

A 3D model of a house rests on a building plan beside a piggy bank and a magnifying glass.
Photo by Tierra Mallorca on Unsplash

When Do You Choose Your Glass?

Frankly, most people don’t! The window or glass manufacturers will often already have selected what kinds of glass to use for your type of project. Glass options nowadays are very complex and technical and what decisions homeowners can make are often about specific performance targets or aesthetics. You need to communicate what you want. The manufacturer or contractor evaluates your needs and recommends to you a final product. Nowadays, the options are all double pane or triple pane windows.

The Origins of Single Pane Windows

Single pane windows – meaning windows made of a single layer of glass – are what humanity has been using as windows for a multitude of millennia. We take silica crystals – sand – and mould it into transparent sheets we have been looking through the lens of innovation. We have coloured our glass with dyes, embedded them with lead for decoration, and invented wondrous uses for changing how light interacts with glass. In all cases though, glass Single Pane windows are leaving our contemporary building practices for good. Glass alone provides poor insulation. Single-layer installations should be renovated if if they can.

The exceptions are historic. Stained glass fixtures are single-layered; so too are many decorative windows on old castles, homesteads, cottages, and cabins. Modern window systems do provide options that preserve what made these windows iconic. Stained glasses, leaded glasses, or molded glass designs are difficult or impossible to replace. Specialty glass and systems providers have options for specific applications but these are mostly unaffordable for consumers. Homeowners with these special glasses have great difficulty sourcing vendors for replacement.

The Advent of Double Pane Windows

Back in the 1950 at the peak of the energy crises of the 20th century builders, architects, and property managers were looking for ways to reduce their energy consumption. The double pane innovation led to a new keystone in energy efficiency thought because of how they revolutionized the construction industry. The primary innovation that these new glazing technologies introduced was air. Air! Sealed air between two panes of glass dramatically reduced the amount of energy that can pass through windows. Innovators used the ideas from light bulbs and vacuum tubes and applied those to High rises, skyscrapers, railcars, and airplanes all started to use this new technology to implement a cost-effective means of lowering passive energy losses.

Double-glazed windows are the standard for building codes in North America because they provide affordable energy savings for any project. Dual layer window systems can accommodate almost all needs that windows service. The two-layers of glass provide significantly increased sound resistance compared to single-pane and homes are more comfortable because of the stabilization of temperatures. With two panes of glass we now have 4 glass surfaces on which we can place coatings to change the mechanical properties of your windows to meet energy requirements, reduce the heat changes from direct sunlight, and include decorations between the glasses. These muntin bars allow us to imitate the decorative styles indicative of the creativity of wooden windows. Really, we are free to do almost anything that we want but there is a maximum to the ability of double-glazed windows to be insulators.

The Modern Miracle of Triple Pane Windows

Triple pane windows are everything that double pane is and more. Triple pane windows are more efficient; reduce more sound; are more customizable for glass coatings and; they qualify for government rebates. We can do styled and shaped windows. The aesthetic selections have the same options as in double pane. What sets three pane windows apart from the rest, however, are primarily the unmatched energy efficiency possibilities.

Triple glazed windows are more expensive and with current glass prices everyone is thinking about their bottom dollar. While what I have said above is true, sometimes the value equations encompass more than just energy efficiency.  Because many of the options are identical between triple and double glazed windows there can be better value in purchasing double glazed over triple glazed when energy is not the primary concern. While the difference between one and two pane sound reduction is significant, triple pane windows are only marginally more sound-efficient. Sound resistant glasses are available to more noticeably decrease sound.

Which Glazing Style is the Best Fit for Your Project?

A person holding a piggy bank in one hand and a 3d model house in the other. They are presenting a choice.
Photo by Tierra Mallorca on Unsplash

Well, that depends on your project. The first step should be to figure out what you want from your windows. There are four things that most homeowners prioritize: aesthetics, energy, safety, and sound. Once you have an idea of what order those sit in your priorities then your dealer or manufacturer can guide you through the choices needed to make your purchase an informed and positive experience.

If energy is key, you must go for the three.

If loud sounds won’t do, then its two’s for you.

How to Compare Energy Efficient Windows

Every homeowner shopping for windows is looking for energy efficient windows. I should know; I’m the guy you call. So in this article I am going to show you how you can compare windows. What do you need to look for? What questions should you ask? And what are the expectations you should have before you start shopping.

What Makes Windows Energy Efficient?

Have you ever wondered why all the glass-covered buildings in downtown Vancouver have that signature green tint? That is green colouring is multiple layers of Low-Emissions Coatings (aka: Low-E coatings) on the inside of the glass.

This photo shows Canada Place and some of the downtown buildings of Vancouver. You can see the coloured reflections in the glass showing the energy coatings.
Image by Michelle Raponi from Pixabay

There are three pretty important factors that contribute to how good of a thermal insulator windows can be. The frame materials plays a large role, the thickness of the glass used affects heat transfer, and the combination of Low-E coatings change the way that light bounces around. All windows have two primary ratings which I use for to compare windows: “U-Value” is the measure of how well the window passively insulates your home: the lower the number, the better the insulation rating; the “Solar Heat Gain Coefficient” (aka: SHGC) measures how much resistance the window provides to the direct sunlight heating up your rooms: what you need will be case-specific. When discussing how efficient a window is, these are the two primary ways we measure the energy properties of the window.

1.    Compare Material Types for Windows

Window glass is primarily double-glazed with a Low-E coating on the inside of the glass. Between the two layers of glass is an inert gas which is usually Argon. As windows have become more efficient, triple-glazed window have taken space in our market. We are combining different Low-E coatings within the glass to magnify their effects. The best energy efficiency ratings come from combining as much building science as we can.

Wooden Windows

We do not use wooden windows anymore, and for good reason. Wooden windows are very prone to water leakages, air filtration or drafts, and poor seals. They can also quickly deteriorate if proper care and maintenance is not provided. These windows are common in old houses and should be replaced. These are usually only single pane or uncommonly double pane.

An unkempt wooden window. Paint is peeling and the wooden facade is showing signs of water and UV wear.
Photo by Roman Mager on Unsplash

Aluminum Windows

Aluminum is a conductor. That means that heat can pass easily from the outside and into your home. The window industry has invested a lot into breaking that connection from the outside. In order to make metal windows that do not directly conduct heat, we have to make expensive windows. Aluminum is ultimately limited in what efficiency rating can be provided.

Vinyl Windows

They meet you in the middle. These uPVC blends have decent structural strength and vinyl is easily reinforced. It is also an inexpensive material to mass produce. So far, vinyl windows are the best at resisting the passive transfer of heat. Vinyl is a very affordable material and is usually the best option for achieving your energy goals. Some manufacturers are able to obtain Energy-Star’s Most Efficient energy rating in vinyl.

Composite Windows

Composite systems try to be the best of both worlds. They want to be as versatile and appealing as aluminum, while being the best for energy. Some composite systems are able to obtain the Passive House Certification which is highly coveted in the premium housing market.  See our Rehau Window System to learn about the possibilities.

2.    Know Your Glass Options

Rows of sunglasses with different glass tints and different frames.
Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

Windows are expensive because glass is expensive. Window improvements across the board come primarily from glass-related innovations. Remember those Low-E coatings that coat the insides of the windows? That coating is silver-based. Depending on the application we may require multiple layers of these coatings. The most efficient windows usually have more glass, more coatings, and larger spaces between the glass panes. If you have three panes of glass and three layers of Low-E coatings, the costs can quickly add up. Glass options are customizable and tailored to exactly your need. Many glass options will change the SHGC of your windows which will impact how comfortable your rooms will be. There are funds available if you are looking at the best energy efficient replacement windows though rebate programs which are federally and provincially available to help you make the best choices.

3.    Look for Labels and Ratings

Luckily for you there are organizations keeping us salespeople in check. All windows in Canada are federally regulated. There is a large international organization which tries to make this as easy as possible for consumers. Ask about ENERGY STAR ratings as well as the U-Value and SHGC. Depending on where you live, different climate zones have different suggested energy star windows and they base their recommendations on the U-Value. Energy Star’s most coveted rating is the ENERGY STAR “Most Efficient Window” which few manufacturers are able to achieve. Look for these labels on manufacture websites or on the windows themselves.

4.    Know Your Dealer

I know that you can buy windows from a big box store, so you ask yourself, “Why choose A-1 Windows?” We have knowledgeable and experienced staff who make sure that you get exactly what you want and what you need. Windows have so many options that it is unreasonable for the customer to completely know what they are buying. You need to find a dealer that is reputable and experienced. You can also look into their affiliations with other companies, governing bodies, or organizations. Being local also helps ensure that they know your market and will have worked on homes exactly like your own.

5.    Lastly, Know the Installers

You need to judge the quality of installers. Who you select determines the quality of the finish. They are the ones who will be in your house and doing the work to install your windows. They are the craftsman who will seal your windows from the outside and create the final barrier that make the windows work properly. Your installers should have input on your window order. They should dictate the installation methods and the final sizing of the windows to ensure a snug fit.  Did you know that A-1 Windows has our own in-house installation teams? Well now you do!

That’s All, Folks!

You are now well equipped to start shopping for windows. We have taught you that there are trade-offs when selecting a material and you know the basics of how we make windows more energy efficient. I have spilled the beans! Now, you know how I would approach finding a window supplier and how I would determine if their products were a good fit for my project.

What are Vinyl Windows and Why Are They the Best for You?

What are Vinyl Windows?

Vocab for today: Unplasticized Polyvinyl Chloride, or uPVC.

I am not going to type that every time, so we are going to use the common name: Vinyl. Vinyl windows are lightweight, and strong. The vinyl material is a durable and inexpensive material that we use to make our windows. Our industry is constantly innovating on the chemistry that makes this product a better fit for every market. These windows are almost always one of the best, if not the best, choices for most residential projects. Read through to know both the ups and downs of vinyl so that, when the time comes, you will make a confident purchase.

Trade-offs with Vinyl

When comparing vinyl frames to other frame materials it is best to compare and contrast the available options. In our market, aluminum is the competitor. In comparison to aluminum, vinyl loses on strength, durability, and flexibility. Aluminum windows can be much larger, have much more zany shapes, and be durable in those strange concoctions of configurations.

Composites are generally a premium product. In comparison, vinyl windows lack the structural abilities and are usually not able to achieve the Passive House Certification that composites can. Instead, vinyl options offer a compromise of affordability, excellent energy efficiency, and configuration for the vast majority of applications.

Vinyl is the all-rounder of the window world. They are the jack of all windows. However, specific cases do stump the abilities of vinyl and push past the limitations. In those cases, specialty or premium products are needed. When it comes down to value, vinyl will win where it can compete.

Where are Vinyl Windows the Best?

A glazier is loading window sashes into his work truck with a companion.
Image by Ryan Doka from Pixabay

Installing Vinyl Windows as Replacements

Most vinyl windows sold in the Lower Mainland are replacing old aluminum or wooden windows. In almost all cases vinyl is a significant improvement for the comfort in your home. Window Rebates are available for when you are considering replacing older windows. The best vinyl windows available can qualify for the Energy-Star “Most Efficient” label. We take homes with old drafty or leaking windows and seal everything up with new vinyl window installations. Your home’s temperature will not depend on the outside weather nearly as much.

Lower Your New Building Costs

The Vancouver region is rife with new, green technologies. There has been a major push to adopt energy efficient vinyl windows as the successor to aluminum products. City codes and Provincial requirements are based off of double- or triple-pane vinyl windows. Wherever possible, using vinyl windows will lower the costs of your project and accelerate your project’s timeline. On time and on budget is how vinyl thrives.

Vinyl Window Shapes, Rakes, and Colours

Can A-1 Make Vinyl Windows In Fun Shapes?

Yes! Vinyl windows can be bent, cut, shaped, squashed, and stretched! Round-top windows and triangle windows are very common here. In the ‘80s & ‘90s everyone went crazy installing arched windows and bayed and bowed windows – even curved windows on circular walls. While some of the sharp angles and tight circles are too much for vinyl to handle, there are lots that vinyl is able to accommodate.  

Are Black Vinyl Windows Available?

Not just black: we can do any colour you want! Our most common colours are White, Black, and Brown. Vinyl windows are coloured in one of two ways: for very common colours some manufacturers will extrude their materials in that colour. For us, we extrude everything in white. Like most offerings on the market, we use the painting method to attach our colouring. Painting windows is not a DIY project. In order for the paint to last we have to use industrial processes to bond the paint to the vinyl. The colour you choose should be the colour for the window’s whole expected life.

4500 Ultra Series Windows

A-1 Windows offers a very versatile vinyl window system. We have a full product line that can accommodate both double- and triple glazed windows in the same frame. Our frames are rated up to Commercial standards and exceed the requirements for the Energy-Star “Most Efficient” label. We offer the competitive pricing for high efficiency vinyl windows. We can even help you qualify for all of the available rebate programs.

Our Windows are Made Specifically for the Vancouver Climate

We have invested a tonne of time and effort into ensuring that our 4500 Ultra series has excellent water-resistance and robust weather sealants. Our Engineers have revised our product to ensure that you get the best bang for your buck. We use premium sealant on our glass and installation to ensure our product lasts longer than we promise.  Our installers work all day to make sure that your windows are properly sealed for the kinds of weather that you expect. Even if the highways wash away, your windows will be in excellent condition.

Soundproofing? Obscure Windows? What is the Limit?

For most people, the limit is your budget. That is why we always want to be assisting you in making the best cost-efficient choices with our products. We can help you choose products specifically suited to your needs. You may have been “up-sold” by other window suppliers, but we don’t do that here. At A-1 Windows we make sure that you get what you want and what you need.

What Window Rebates Are Available, and How Do the Windows Qualify

A mason jar lacking a lid is partially filled with coins and bears the label "House Fund" in hand-written lettering. It appears that the coins are Euros, but I am hoping no one looks too closely. If they do, one of the coins reads (for marketing purposes) BC Hydro Rebate.
Photo by Sandy Millar on Unsplash

What Are the Window Rebates?

Window rebates are your ticket to the market for renos with high-efficiency products. These are funds set aside by our government to incentivize you to make long-term energy decisions about your home. Canada has committed funding to a greener future. When making decisions about your home cost is often a primary factor in making decisions. Our government wants to make the choice to be more energy efficient much easier. They are doing that by paying you to purchase qualified products from specialist installers. Rebates reimburse the expected difference between normal windows and high-efficiency windows.

Who Pays for Greener Energy?

Technically: you and I do. The savings that are available in British Columbia come from two sources:

Provincial Rebates – BC Hydro Rebates

The Provincial government provides rebates through the cleanBC program. This program is a joint effort between BC Hydro, FortisBC, and the Provincial and Federal governments. The stated aim is to reduce our energy usage in our homes. They want to pay you to save money on your bills. That’s a double-good deal!

You can read more here:

Federal Grants – Canada Greener Homes Grant

The Canada Greener Homes Grant program is offered by Natural Resources Canada (AKA: NRCan). NRCan regulates the energy industry and ensures that windows, doors, and more meet rigorous standards. These guys keep our industry honest and competitive by setting the minimum standards. It is NRCan’s mission to have Canada maximize the worth of our natural resources. We share the belief that high-efficiency windows are the future. They are willing to bet on it.

See what they have to say here:

Why Should I Buy High-Efficiency Windows?

Use Green Energy, Lower Utility Costs

Windows are historically the weakest link in your building’s insulation layer. That means that on your home, a large portion of the money you spend on heating and cooling literally goes out the window. New windows which are funded by these programs allow us to plug those holes and make your home better sealed. BC will pay you to use green energy technology.

Get Paid to Improve Your Investment

Windows are an investment in your present and your future. The improved insulation and seal that the window provides equates to a better the long-term value. Buyers often consider updated warranties, modern aesthetics, and energy conscious decisions that you make now. Windows are sexy; they are sleek; they are more affordable than ever. Trust me: you can’t buy a house without them.

If I have convinced you already, click here to start the quote process:

Applying For Window Rebates

Application to these reimbursement programs involves some bureaucracy but it is made easy for the consumer.

The provincial program only requires that your house qualifies, the products qualify, and the installers are certified. If you tick all of those boxes with your purchase, congratulations! You have earned your window rebate. You just need to fill out an online form to complete the application.

**editor’s note: If you are a BCHydro customer please use this tool to confirm your eligibility:

The Canada Greener Homes Grant has a few more steps to ensure that you are getting the best value for your money. The first step is having your home undergo an energy evaluation. There are many companies who can provide this regulated service. They will provide you with an energy report for your home which details exactly how energy is used and lost in your home. They will then recommend a number of different products tailored to your situation. In our experience, windows are nearly always recommended.

See this page to find an evaluator near you:

Multiple people are gathered around a table looking at and pointing at a fruit-branded laptop. The subtext to this image is that they are looking at their Energy Report that qualifies them for their BC Energy Efficient Rebate Windows Window Rebate.
Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

Next, we install the high-efficiency windows in your home and provide you will all the details you will need to process your application. Afterwards, another evaluation is required to be completed by the same company that provided your initial energy evaluation. They will again provide you with an energy report that will detail exactly how the installed upgrades have improved your quality of life. Congratulations! It’s now time for paperwork! Now, you must complete an online form to claim the grant.

Government Rebates for Windows can Total Up To $7000

The cleanBC program offers up to $2000 and the federal program offers up to $5000. We combine the two programs for a total of $7000. Here are two tables which breakdown the savings:


Upgrade (Insulation Rating)Rebate Available
U-Factor 1.40 – 1.23 (W/m2-K)$50 per Window
U-Factor 1.22 (W/m2-K) or less$100 per Window
*Unfortunately, The City of Vancouver is exempted from Provincial Rebates ** Tier-1 Rebates are being DISCONTINUED in October 2022


Upgrade (Insulation Rating)Rebate Available
U-Factor 1.22 – 1.06 (W/m2-K)$125 per Window
U-Factor 1.05 (W/m2-K) or less$250 per Window

How Long Does this Take?

Close up photo of a hand holding a small alarm clock. The time reads 02:18:39. You are running out of time to qualify for Government Rebates for Windows!
Photo by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash

The answer is: maximum six months. Once you have started the process of qualifying your home for the green energy rebates the clock starts ticking. Therefore, before that six month timer elapses you must have completed your online applications. Once the applications are submitted it takes 2 weeks to a month for the cheque to arrive. The provincial program starts counting after the install, but you might as well do both forms at once, right?

A-1 Windows Get You Your Window Rebates

Our excellent sales consultants are knowledgeable and experienced with these processes. You can find us in southern Burnaby. Our local, in-house installation teams assure you that you won’t be dealing with anyone but A-1 Windows. We are very experienced at qualifying our customers for their BC Hydro and Federal window rebates.

Our showroom is open for visits and we have sales consultants on-site to demonstrate all of our products and features. We can answer any questions you have about your windows today.


Do All Windows Qualify?

As long as the windows meet the insulation ratings required then the windows will qualify. That said, only triple-glazed windows will qualify for the full $7000 of reimbursement. The important issue is whether your house qualifies. Usually if you have lived in that house as your primary resident for over a year you will qualify.

Can Bathroom Windows Qualify?

Absolutely they do! As long as the requirements for energy ratings are met, the windows with safety glass and obscure glass will qualify for the window rebates.

Are Window Upgrades My Best Option for Energy Efficiency?

In the vast majority of cases windows are the primary method of heat exchange with the exterior. The inspection for the federal program will highlight the exact best course of action. Even then, in our experience, rarely is there something more beneficial to upgrade than your windows.

How Do I Know How Efficient Your Windows Are?

Don’t take our word. Trust the third-party verifiers and testers that NRCan requires us to use. For our testing we use QAI one of Canada’s top independent testing laboratories. Energy Star, an international body, indicates that we produce windows with the coveted “Most Efficient” label. Industry regulators, and our customers, have every faith in our windows.

Do New Homes Qualify for Rebates?

In general, no they do not. If by “new” you mean that you have only been living in it for just over a year? Then it may qualify.

A1 Windows Partners With REHAU

To Manufacture REHAU GENEO® Tilt and Turn Windows in BC

We’ve been hinting at some important and exciting news for a few months now and today A-1 Window Manufacturing is proud to announce that we’ve partnered with REHAU to bring the best passive house compliant windows to our clients in the lower mainland. We know that these windows will be in high demand so please request a quote soon.


Why We Chose REHAU

For more than 70 years, REHAU has been driven by the ambition to enhance the lives of people around the world by developing innovative polymer-based solutions that continue to redefine what is possible in construction, automotive and industry. 

The GENEO® Tilt and Turn Window system, which we will be manufacturing on location here in Burnaby, is also Passive House certified which means they are among the most energy-efficient windows on the market. They also look stunning as part of a home window renovation or in a new home construction project.

GENEO Tilt and Turn Windows and Doors in a Bathroom

REHAU GENEO® Top Performance Ratings

GENEO® is composed of RAU-FIPRO®, a proprietary fiber composite material similar to those employed in aeronautic construction and racing vehicles for outstanding strength and load capacities. In fact, it is the first fully-reinforced polymer window profile system that doesn’t rely on steel for its strength.
RAU-FIPRO, specially developed for GENEO, affords window construction benefits only imagined before. GENEO does not only provide superior structural integrity but also excels when it comes to thermal and acoustical performance. 

With the GENEO design, tilt-turn, hopper and fixed configurations are possible.

Top-Performance Ratings for Thermal Insulation, Sound Insulation and Increased Security
Since the GENEO profile design is fully reinforced with fiber composite, the use of steel can be avoided and thermal bridges no longer occur. With its center seal and optional thermo-modules, GENEO achieves thermal insulation values up to the stringent passive house standard.

REHAU GENEO® Windows and Doors Are Passive House Certified

The REHAU GENEO Passive House window is designated as a Certified Passive House Component by the Passive House Institute in Germany. The Passive House Institute has defined international component criteria for seven climates zones. Further information related to this certification can be found at

The REHAU GENEO window and door system takes tilt-turn technology to its highest level of strength and thermal performance. The system is composed of a proprietary high-tech RAU-FIPRO™ fiber-composite material specially formulated for North America. GENEO is the first fully-reinforced polymer window and door system that doesn’t rely on steel for its strength, saving time, money and improving the ease of installation. A certified Passive House component, the system achieves top performance ratings for structural, acoustical, forced-entry resistance and thermal insulation: up to AW-PG70, up to STC 45/OITC 37, FER Grade 20 and a simulated U-value down to 0.13.

A1 Windows and REHAU GENEO®

We’ve been working on this exciting addition to our range of windows for quite some time. Adding REHAU GENEO to our range means that we have window options to meet all budgets, styles and most importantly to meet the highest energy efficient standards.

Start the new year off with a bang. Request a quote for REHAU GENEO windows from A1 Windows.

A1 Windows – Manufacturer’s Profile Article

This month, A1 Windows is featured in Canada Window and Door’s print magazine with a manufacturer profile.

We’ve been proudly serving our market for almost thirty years and the publication looks back on the success we’ve had. It talks about our award-winning service, our leading edge vinyl and aluminum windows and our investment in industry and technology.

The team behind fabrication, marketing, selling and installing windows and patio doors is what makes A1 Windows a success and the piece celebrates this.

Read on to get a sneak preview of some upcoming and exciting changes happening here. The full article is below.

A1 Windows exemplifies expertise, innovation, quality and service. Like many start-ups, A1 Windows Manufacturing Ltd began in a small shop. Nearly 30 years ago, former employees of Humphrey Aluminum purchased the substantial assets of the defunct company and in 1992, started producing aluminum windows on Beresford Avenue in Burnaby, British Columbia. It didn’t take long before the owners recognized the success of their new venture. In the first of many milestones, the product line was expanded to vinyl windows. Its impact was significant. “With our award-winning service and focus on the residential replacement market, rapid growth ensued,” says Company President Sarb Kaler.

The year 2005 marked the next milestone, a new manufacturing facility on a three-acre site, strategically located in central Barnaby. Equally as significant as its size was its capability.

“We invested heavily in both industry and technology. With recent upgrades to the CNC system, processing welders and corner cleaners, like new machinery, we established a state-of-the-art company complex to produce innovative products from our own technologies” adds Kaler.

Quality control that meets, or exceeds, industry standards is at the heart of the operation. Testing and certification is done by QAI, a leading independent, third-party inspection organization. Another milestone was the company-designed Ultra series of vinyl windows, a key factor in the company’s growth. Constructed from multi-chambered, impact-resistant and polyvinyl chloride – PVC won’t warp, yellow or fade over time – the Ultra series has been developed to accept “True Canadian” triple-glazing, with a true 1/2” air space/Argon gas, between the panes of glass and overall sealed units up to 1-3/8”

Stylish design features enhance street appeal, and other features, that may not be as visible, also make a difference. The Ultra series is offered in a full line of casements and sliders, in both the new construction nail-on-flange and renovation flange. It includes a unique, integral decorative brickmould; a 4.5 inch depth frame for true rain screen installation; and, more apparent, acoustic glass to help reduce excessive street noise. Among the options with the Ultra series are: horizontal sliding, vertical sliding, awning windows, casements, shaped windows and fixed windows, in a wide range of paintable colours.

The introduction of the thermally broken, aluminum 350 series window/wall system was beyond another milestone. It became the gateway to the commercial market. Designed according to rain screen principles, the 350 series is based on a company technology that has become a standard in waterproofing most types of building envelopes. The system is heavily thermally broken with polyamide struts that are optimally located within the perimeter and sash framework to greatly limit conductive energy transfer and provide superior energy performance. All windows are interior-glazed and face-sealed with Vision Strip. The glazing bead is made of extruded aluminum, for long-term durability, performance and colour matching. The entire system, including seals, barriers, corners and coupled connections, is sealed with durable gaskets and engineered to accommodate structural and wind load, inter-storey drift and seismic activity.

The 350 series is available as casement, awning and fixed windows. Whether vinyl or aluminum, for residential or commercial use, all models are ENERGY-STAR certified® for Zone 3 and are fully NAFS-08 compliant. In fact, they exceed the premium level of energy efficiency. They also provide many attractive advantages… added comfort by reducing drafts; better control of condensation, which can cause premature deterioration; significant cost savings because air leakage is minimized and that improves thermal performance; and better indoor air quality because energy efficient windows can prevent mold growth.

Complementing the Ultra and 350 Series are high quality patio doors, vinyl and aluminum, offering many choices in styles, configurations, panels and multiple grid options.

“What Makes Us Different?” it begins with longevity, serving BC residents since 1992. “We have evolved into a full-service, independent window manufacturer and installer, specializing in residential, commercial and multi-family window replacement. Infact, we’re one of the few local manufacturers providing turnkey window replacement solutions in both vinyl and aluminum,” says Kaler.

The driving force behind this growth, however, is the family, those who fabricate, market, sell and install windows and patio doors. While training focuses on specific skills, what is just as critical is safety. “It’s a priority with everyone, and we are taking measures so that every job, of any size, is handled with care,” says Kaler. “In the case of installation crews, we think of them as consultants, all fully conversant with stringent building code requirements for both the City of Vancouver as well as the entire province.”

“Consider, for example, the BC energy step codes which The Building and Safety Standards Branch defines as the product of a multi-year collaboration among local governments, industry stakeholders, utilities and the provincial government. In the most recent development, the “Clean BC” initiative is to have new homes (single-family, condos, townhouses) be net-zero energyconsuming by 2032.

There is no shortage of challenges, Kaler points out. “We met and survived all of those related to Covid, although we did not anticipate what followed. Shortages, in manpower and now materials through supply chain issues, are what we face today; and an ongoing challenge that has been with us for decades is a changing and highly competitive market.”

The company is presently working in partnership with REHAU, a leading global designer and extruder of PVC window and door systems and one of the first companies to introduce fusion-welded, vinyl profiles in North America. The result will be a further expansion of the A1 Windows manufacturing capability to produce ASPEKT, a casement window with a sophisticated multi-chambered design, elevated by advanced triple-seal technology that outperforms alternative window solutions.

A1 will also strengthen its product portfolio with the GENEO® tilt-turn window and door system composed of high-tech RAU-FIPRO® glass-fibre-reinforced PVC. This system takes tilt-turn technology to its highest level of structural integrity, acoustical insulation and thermal performance and is capable of meeting the stringent requirements of Passive House construction. Soon to be introduced, the new products will be featured in the company showroom and website.

“This is our latest and one of the most meaningful milestones in our history;” says Kaler and, it is how A1 Window Manufacturing exemplifies expertise, innovation, quality and service, having served the market for nearly thirty years.