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Window State Buying Guide for Hawaii
New window installation can be a big undertaking especially if you have a lot of windows involved. Depending on the style of windows and frames, plus any repairs that may be necessary, new windows can be a significant investment. The purpose of this buying guide is to cover some of the basic areas you’ll want to be familiar with to help make all the necessary decisions for a successful project.
Things to Consider for Hawaii Window Installation
The following list covers the basic information you’ll want to consider before installing new windows:
- Window information
- Frame information
- Window Glazing
- Certification and ratings
- Contractor selection
- Permit requirements
- Home preparation for window installation
- Rebates, tax credits, and incentives
Hawaii’s Climate and New Window Installation
Hawaii has one of the most desirable climates on the planet. With basically two seasons – summer and winter – property owners can easily plan and prepare for home improvement projects.
Climates in Hawaii vary among the different regions from tropical and arid and semi-arid areas to temperate and Alpine zones.
Rainfall is prevalent throughout the islands and the levels vary from place to place. Hilo, for example, receives approximately 130 inches of rain per year while other areas receive less than six inches.
Hawaii also has a designated hurricane season running from June through November. The state also experiences tropical storms that bring heavy rain.
When you start looking at the type of window glazing and window frames, temperature and rainfall are a factor. You’ll need to discuss the pros and cons of each with a knowledgeable salesperson or with your contractor so that you purchase the materials that will work best for your city’s climate.
Window Types for Hawaii
There is a long list of window styles to choose from and whether you’re staying with the same type or making a change to something new, this short list provides basic information about a few of the traditional styles:
- Single hung windows— one window that opens while the other remains fixed in place.
- Double hung windows– a convenient option is this style allows both windows to open.
- Bay windows – feature a single pane of glass banked by smaller windows on either side. It is a distinctive window from the outside and inside. Inside under the window usually provides a seating area.
- Picture windows – visually appealing from the outside, and from the inside, rooms have access to more light as well as views of the outdoors.
- French casement windows– visualize a smaller version of a French door. A lovely touch to any home, the windows open outward, like a door.
- Box windows – typically, these windows are installed side by side in a series of anywhere from 3 to 5 windows spaced evenly along the side of the wall.
- Arch top and Elliptical windows – add a decorative touch and can be installed most anyplace for a visual effect.
- Transom windows – You’ll find these installed over a doorway. They serve as both a highlight to compliment the doorway and to allow additional light.
Frame Information for Hawaii Windows
There are five prominent frame types. Depending on the climate in your specific area, each may have pros and cons. Discuss frame types with your contractor and the sales person regarding the best material for your property.
- Wood – adds a nice rustic look to any property but the material is highly susceptible to absorbing rain. This results in moisture retention that will cause the wood to contract. It also means a high risk of wood rot. Cladding material can be added to help reduce the problem.
- Vinyl – versatile, durable, low maintenance, and resists moisture, making this material a perennial favorite.
- Aluminum – another versatile material, aluminum is lightweight but strong. It is a durable and pliable material requiring minimal maintenance. Aluminum does not hold in heat as well as other materials and may not work well in climates with extreme cold.
- Composite – a blend of materials providing a sturdy frame that is resistant to moisture and wood rot.
- Fiberglass – comprised from recycled glass, this material is eco-friendly. Fiberglass has many advantages including low maintenance, durability, strength, not affected by weather that causes warping or expansion, provide good insulation, and work well in wet climates. The cost for fiberglass may be higher than other materials.
Window Glazing for Hawaii
Window glazing is another important consideration.
- Triple pane glazing is cost effective, energy efficient, and an excellent noise buffer. It is used mostly in cold climates.
- Double pane glazing is also energy efficient due to a special gas inserted between the window panes.
- Single pane glazing is not recommended for home use as it is not energy efficient and used mostly for outside sheds or garages.
Certification and Rating Criteria for Hawaii Windows
One label you’ll frequently see provides information about the products certification and ratings. Ask your sales representative to explain the differences between manufacturer ratings to ensure you’re making the best choice.
This is an example of the different ratings on the NFRC (National Fenestration Rating Council) label found on many products.
- Air Leakage (AL)
- Solar Heat Gains Coefficient (SHGC)
- Visual Transmittance (VT)
This link to the NFRC website explains what each rating means.
Window Contractor Selection in Hawaii
Hiring a contractor takes a little time as you need to get estimates from several contractors to do a comparison. The estimate should be inclusive of labor, equipment, and materials. It should also specify a start and completion date, an explanation of the contractor’s warranty for installation, as well as be signed and dated.
Take the opportunity to ask questions about the installation process, what’s involved, what you need to do, along with payment and/or down payment requirements. The more information you have in hand, the easier it will be to choose from the potential candidates.
You’ll also want to know about any damaged areas and repair work that may be necessary prior to the installation. Is the contractor including that in the estimate? This is something you’ll want to verify, if applicable. Also ask if there are any other fees will be added that are not part of the initial estimate. Usually, the estimate covers the main areas such as materials, delivery, equipment, and labor. There may be additional fees such as permit costs, sales tax, etc. Just ask so you aren’t surprised with a different price after the fact.
One step you’ll want to take during the hiring or elimination process is to verify that the person you’re considering has a valid license. Ask for their license number and proof of insurance. Check the license number at the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs website. You can call using the information found on this page or use the online search option found here. On the search page, you’ll also find a link to check for any complaints filed against a licensee. Checking with your local Better Business Bureau is also recommended.
Once you’ve made a decision and a contract is presented, compare it to the original estimate for any changes, omissions, or discrepancies. It, too, should be signed and dated.
If any down payment has been given, it should be reflected on the contract with an explanation of what it covered. Just like with the estimate, if there is anything unclear about the contract, ask for a clarification before signing.
Window Permit Requirements in Hawaii
Permits are usually required for any type of building modification. Windows, under certain circumstances, are an exception. Contact the local building and permitting center in your city to determine if you’ll need a permit.
Preparing Your Property for Window Installation in Hawaii
When the contractor arrives to begin the project, it’s to your advantage to have everything set and ready to go. This means doing a little prep work ahead of time. Below is a list of the most common areas to address:
- The contractor will be bringing materials and equipment inside and outside where windows are being installed. Make sure there is a clear and unobstructed path. This means moving any decorative accessories, children’s toys, or household pets to another area.
- Move furniture, chairs, lamps, and wall hangings from the area in front of or near the window. The contractor will need room to maneuver without the worry of breaking or damaging items.
- Remove all window treatments such as shades, mini-blinds, curtains, or any other type of window covering. You should also remove the hardware and rods. When getting an estimate, ask if this step is taken care of by the contractor and at what cost. He may, or may not, include or do this type of preparation.
- This is another step to check with the contractor prior to installation. Ask if drop cloths will be positioned on the floors and over furniture. He may do the floors, only. If so, you may want to invest in several drop cloths to protect furniture from dust and potential dings by equipment.
- The contractor will need clear access to the window opening from the outside. Remove any planters, lounge chairs, statuary, or any other obstacle that will impede progress.
- Tall plants and bushes may also be a hindrance. Talk to the contractor about this and ask if it’s necessary to trim back tall shrubbery before the project begins.
- This is common sense, but part of the basic steps. For the safety of children and pets, keep them away from the workers both inside and outside while the project is underway.
Rebate, Incentives, and Tax Credits for New Windows in Hawaii
You have many options for funding a new window project. There are also available programs offering discounts, grants, loans, energy efficiency incentives, and federal tax credits. Below is a list of websites with more information about programs available to you:
The information in this guide provides helpful tips on the basic steps to new window installation. With a successful project completed, your property benefit with more curb appeal, better energy efficiency, and an increase in property value.