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The Complete Guide to Replacing Custom Wood Windows In PVE

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There are many options to choose from when it comes to selecting new windows for your home, everything from vinyl to aluminum. However, wood windows continue to be a timeless choice that can be customized to fit almost any window style. If you live in an area like Palos Verdes Estates & Rancho Palos Verdes with strict architectural guidelines, then this article is for you! We'll educate you about the many benefits and features wood windows offer, as well as how to navigate those pesky guidelines. 

We've designed this guide to help you avoid common hurdles and remodeling pitfalls you might experience in places like Palos Verdes Peninsula. This article also covers topics like construction costs, construction timelines, benefits of new-construction windows Vs. retrofit-windows, why I love Pella Windows and their Traditional Series, and lastly the steps necessary to get city approval and installation. 

How to Get Your Windows Approved by Palos Verdes Art Jury

The Palos Verdes Art Jury is an HOA that controls the architectural styles in the Palos Verdes Peninsula. As a pseudo-government body, you’ll need to submit plans and architectural details if your home is located in Palos Verdes Estates or in the Miraleste neighborhood of Rancho Palos Verdes. In other words, you will need to meet these requirements to get your window project approved.

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You’ll need a full-set of Architectural Drawings that include:

  • Exterior elevation plans (all sides of the structures on the property).
  • Window Specs & Drawings (the complete specs of the proposed windows.
  • Exterior site pictures of the entire structure.
  • Exterior Pictures of the Structure (all sides, North, South, East, and West)
  • Window Schedule (with all door & window sizes).
  • Detailed Drawings (of the window and stucco connection will be required).
  • Detailed Drawings (of how the door jamb and stucco will be installed). 

Things to Consider:


One of the first things you should consider when selecting new windows is energy efficiency. When it comes to energy loss, 20% literally goes out the windows. High-performance windows, like those offered by Pella Windows, can reduce energy loss better than budget windows. Pella windows maximize energy efficiency and performance by using a combination of low-emissivity (LOW-E) glass coatings and argon gas-insulation (between the panes) to minimize air infiltration and conduction. These techniques keep homes warmer in wintertime and cooler in the summertime

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Window thermal and sound performance is impacted by the amount of Argon gas within the window panes (Argon is a noble gas that really improved window glass performance). For homeowners working from home, you can get triple-pane windows. These windows are very high-performing when it comes to sound and thermal efficiency. Pella windows have the highest percentage of Argon. 

Much of the Palos Verdes Peninsula is considered a ‘Very High Fire Hazard Severity Zones (VHFHSZ)’, and special window requirements must be met. That means that the glass on all windows installed in homes in ‘Fire Hazard’ zones must be tempered. Tempered glass is produced at higher temperatures and thus can resist extreme temperatures it might be exposed to from brush fires. During wildfires, Window openings are potential entry points for flames. Windows without tempered glass will be overwhelmed by radiant heat and will crack, or break, allowing outside flames to enter the interior. Keeping the flames out of the structure allows more time for firefighters to extinguish the flames. Once the flames enter the building, the structure is engulfed in flames rapidly.

Pella Wood-Window Benefits

  • Meets Palos Verdes ‘High Fire Hazard Zone’ (VHFHSZ) requirements.
  • Wood Interior/Aluminum Exterior options available.
  • Smooth Operation/Quality Hardware.
  • Style Availability (plenty of options to choose from)
  • Superior Energy Efficiency and Noise Reduction (triple-pane options available)
  • Higher Volume Argon Gas for better insulation (argon filled up to 80%)

Selecting the Right Window Series

Pella offers three different lines of wood windows. Pella Lifestyle Line, Pella Architectural Series, and the upper price point Pella Reserve Series. All three lines are offered in double-pane, triple-pane, and tempered glass.

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Pella Reserve Series ($$$$)

The Pella Reserve Series is their flagship window line, custom-made for every individual project. This line offers a total of 36 colors and a plethora of sizes & shapes to choose from. From oversized picture windows to odd geometric-shaped windows, you are sure to find the shape of the window you are looking for. The joints are also lower-profile extruded cladding. This line is offered in wood & aluminum-clad wood. Doors in the Reserve series feature high-end Baldwin hardware. This series also offers historic detailing for traditional homes like “Putty” glazing, and sleek minimal lines for contemporary structures. The contemporary styling offers thinner frames for unparalleled sightlines. The Reserve Series line is extensive, making it perfect for historic homes, contemporary homes, and custom-built ‘spec’ homes. 

Architect Series ($$$)

The Pella Architect Series offers high performance in great styles. Having a wide selection of styles, windows from the Architectural Series can fit almost any architectural style. A wide range of styles is important because of the varying degree of architecture requirements in certain cities. Style is important in Palos Verdes Estates and Miraleste because the windows must be approved by the PVHA Art Jury. This line of windows is made exclusively of wood windows. Wood offers spectacular beauty and craftsmanship in an array of versatile styles that can fit traditional or contemporary styles. The versatility and customizability of wood windows mean there are virtually unlimited design choices in any size and pattern. Single-hung and double-hung windows in the Architect series offer integrated roll screens that automatically retract as the window is opened or closed, an exclusive feature available exclusively in this line. 

Pella Lifestyle Series ($$)

The Pella Lifestyle Series is a mid-priced line of wood windows. Made of the same quality materials as the more expensive lines, the lifestyle series offers great performance at a reasonable price for wood windows. This line is intended to fit almost any home with 13 different colors and styles to choose from in a combination of energy, sound, and value. You can select optional performance packages to increase energy efficiency and noise reduction. You’ll find awning, casement, double-hung, and picture frame windows to fit almost any home.

Oversized windows or special geometric-shaped windows are only offered in the Reserve or Architect Series. Truthfully, if the house has common rectangle-shaped windows, price-conscious buyers should consider using Lifestyle Series windows. The price point is almost 15% - 20% less than the Reserve Series. Much of the cost savings are due to the manufacturing techniques in how the joints are connected. Make no mistake, these are 100% custom wood windows, but at a reasonable price. A limited set of size options also streamlines the manufacturing process. Lifestyle Series also features rolled-formed cladding. The joint is tight and often at a 45- degree angle on the corners. The Pella Lifestyle series is perfect for just about any home style. 

Selecting the Right Window Type

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Casement windows are very popular because the entire window opens allowing the maximum amount of breeze to enter the house. Casement windows are hinged on a single side and feature a crank that you operate to open and close the window. A perfect option for estate homes, or homes in private communities. Owners should keep in mind that casement windows, although beautiful, are more expensive than typical double-hung windows. The Reserve Series offers the most variety of styles and shapes.

Single & Double-Hung windows are amongst the most common type of windows you’ll find across the country. Usually rectangular in shape, they feature a screen on the exterior and interior glass panels that move up and down. A simple design that offers straightforward operation, hung windows are a safe choice to fit almost any style of architecture. A true classic.

The second most popular type of window you’ll find in the country is Sliding (or slider) window. Sliding windows feature vertical panels of glass that “slide” horizontally to open & close. Operating these windows is easy, so easy ‘a caveman could do it’. Because slider windows are simple and easy to build, they are the most affordable wood window style.

Picture frame windows are typically oversized windows that allow more light to come in but are non-operation, meaning they do not open. Usually, picture frame windows are placed in hallways, along staircases, or in great rooms.

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There are other types of uncommon window types like awning windows, which are usually rectangular and placed up higher than regular window heights, making them perfect for bathrooms and private rooms. Bay Windows & Bow Windows are similar in style & operation, typically found exclusively in living rooms or family rooms, they are also a popular trope in terraced homes. 

The Average Cost of Pella Windows For Homes in Palos Verde Estates, CA

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In our experience, the average cost of installing Pella Architectural windows installed is between $80,000 - $130,000, including installation. Much of the cost depends on the number of windows and the type of window operation you select. The shape of the windows can also affect the cost. Wood windows are an investment in your property, as they have such an impact on the overall look of your home and can also impact your annual energy costs.

Remember, the typical home in Palos Verdes has over 20 individual windows, and in some cases, make heavy use of large picture frame windows to capture spectacular views of the hillsides and the ocean. In larger homes, you usually install or replace several windows simultaneously, individual window replacements are not the norm.

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Production Lead Times

Wood Windows are custom-made products, currently, Pella Windows is taking about 15-18 weeks (as of October 2021) to produce custom window orders. Be mindful that lead times are also affected by the type of window and the time of the year that you order the windows. For context, before 2020 it would have taken 6-10 weeks to get a custom window manufactured, but supply chain issues and other factors have caused manufacturing times to increase drastically.

New Construction vs. Retrofit Windows: What is the best method for installing new window?

The pros, we highly recommend installing ‘new construction’ windows. It is the only way to guarantee that the window connection is tight and waterproof. Considering that your existing windows have probably been in place since the house was built in the 1950’s the existing window connection is not waterproof. That means that water is leaking in, rotting the wood, and enticing termites to eat away at your framing. In most window replacement projects; some framing repairs will be required. Termites, if left untreated, can do a lot of damage over time. New construction windows allow the opportunity to repair termite damage and provide a solid connection between the window and the stud wall.

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There are some cons, some negative aspects of new construction window installation. The labor cost for installation is much higher, and the overall project length could be twice as long. A major cost driver to new construction window installation is the stucco repairs that must be done. The windows below show the open stucco wire around the window openings.

Once the stucco is removed, any visible wall framing termite damage must also be repaired. This also adds to the cost. For new construction windows, you should factor in additional construction costs to repair stucco, $18,000-$30,000 (depending on window count). 

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If you have siding, expect to pay more for repairs. Remember, the siding must be matched or in some cases replaced completely, and then painted. You should consult a contractor that can handle all the aspects of the job including the trim work. This could add $50,000 to $80,000 in siding and painting to the total project cost alone. Consider the fact that not all existing molding can be matched exactly. In some cases, removing and replacing the siding is the only option. These decisions all affect the total construction price. 

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Please consider that EVERY project is different. This article covers the generality of wood window replacement costs based on our very own historical data. This is an educational too intended to provide readers with basic understanding of construction costs pertaining to wood window replacement in Palos Verdes Estates, Rancho Palos Verdes, and homes in the Palos Verdes Peninsula.

For an accurate cost assessment of your home, please contact our offices and book complimentary zoom consultation. 


Bay Cities Construction has been in business since 2004, proudly serving the South Bay!


about the author - alex rodriguez general contractor - best contractor south bay


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