By Karen Iwamoto

Windows bring light and air into a home, make a room appear bigger than it is, create a bridge to the outdoors from the comfort of the kitchen or the couch and provide an escape route during emergencies.

The average homeowner or potential homebuyer probably has a general idea of the type of windows they want — large, sliding, bay, jalousie. But every homebuilder knows that beyond aesthetics, material matters.


“Many of Hawaii’s homes have vinyl window sashing,” said Ken Park, the general manager of SLWA Hawaii, a licensed general contracting firm on Oahu. “This makes sense because vinyl is relatively inexpensive, and can be coated in various colors to imitate different textures.

“The downside is that vinyl, which is a synthetic resin or plastic, doesn’t last long,” Park said.


A more durable option is aluminum window sashing.

Windows with aluminum sashing are soundproof, keep interiors cooler and are low-maintenance, according to Park.


Many companies, including big home improvement stores, offer pre-made aluminum window sashing in standard sizes that can be modified for an additional cost to accommodate customer requests, but SLWA advertises “the only custom-made aluminum windows in Hawaii,” meaning it cuts and builds the windows at its warehouse in Kalihi.

“This lets the company fulfill its customers’ orders more quickly than the competition,” Park said.

“Pricing is also competitive because SLWA’s owner/general contractor, Song Lin Zhang, sources the aluminum from his contacts in South Korea, where he lived and worked before he moved to Hawaii,” Park added.

“The custom-made aluminum window sashing are a new product offering from SLWA, which has been doing general contracting work, such as home building and renovations, in Hawaii for about 10 years,” Park said. It began offering the aluminum window sashing in December with only the standard silver-colored aluminum but is expecting upcoming shipments to include a wider variety of colors.


SLWA is a small business with employees who speak Korean, Mandarin, Japanese and English. It is a member of the Associated Builders and Contractors, the General Contractors Association of Hawaii and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency.

Call SLWA at 892-4061 or 799-7825 or email for a free estimate.

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