Expert window advice
When it’s time to purchase windows the main question is: What is the best choice? Go with the foremost expert on replacement windows in Hawaii, Matthew Houar, who started selling windows in 1976 and opened his own vinyl factory in 1981.
Houar shared the five main types of windows and how they compare when purchasing new ones in Hawaii.
• Aluminum: Considered the king in the ’70s and ’80s, aluminum is inexpensive, sleek in style and has good strength without mass. Seventy-three percent of all replacement windows sold were aluminum, but its downfall is salt air, which surrounds Hawaii. That’s why the warranty standard in the industry is one year, which can go by quickly. Be sure to consider the warranty when purchasing windows as there’s a reason why products are warranted short or long term.
• Wood: These may just be the most beautiful windows made; however, consider two factors. First, all are made of clear lumber or finish lumber. Here, we also refer to this as non-termite treated lumber, which is “termite dessert” for termites. Secondly, every five to eight years, homeowners will need to paint the exterior and stain the inside to make it possibly last 10 to 12 years. The warranty is normally between one to five years.
• Steel: As strong as it sounds, it’s very expensive, bulky and used mostly for commercial applications. Most were installed in the 1940s and 1950s in Hawaii. Hour noted there are almost no steel windows being manufactured, and the warranty is between one to five years. He recommended not installing steel windows here due to the salt air.
• Fiberglass: This is the new breed of windows. Houar likes to call fiberglass windows a synthetic. At first, it sounds like a great idea (handles salt air and termites do not eat it), however, the uses show that it’s not stable or strong on its own. It also is an unproven product, very expensive and has maintenance issues. It needs to be painted and maintained to look good. Warranties vary, but are normally five years in Hawaii.
• Vinyl: This is the best window option. Remember the saying, “Vinyl is Final?” It is maintenance-free with a lifetime factory warranty. It will not chip, crack, peel, fade or stain. And, Hawaii’s salt air will not harm it. But remember not all vinyl is the same; just like any other product, there are good grades and cheap grades. So be akamai when you buy and look at the options. Good vinyl windows have a lifetime warranty in Hawaii. Take it from the expert when he says vinyl windows are the best choice for Hawaii homes. Seventy percent or more of all replacement windows sold are vinyl, and aluminum is now less than 7 percent of the market.
If you are on the hunt for windows and want to “buy local,” call Houar and his son Michael, who own Tropical Wholesale where you can find the best U.S.-made vinyl windows and siding products available.
CONTACT 263-1252 (windward) • 456-4892 (Leeward) • 593-2000 and 396-0971 (Honolulu)
ADDRESS 1351 S. Beretania St. (showroom)