This review specifically addresses replacing original, builder-grade, single-pane, aluminum frame windows in a townhome governed by an HOA. (If you live in a detached home with wooden frame or existing vinyl windows, YMMV significantly.) I’m going to tackle the review in two parts – window selection and installer selection (since you already know that I chose Coughlin!-) As is typical for me, I did a lot of research on the types of windows available. Since I face southeast and have an upper balcony overhanging my patio, I wanted to maximize the light entering the unit. I wanted reasonable quality, but also to avoid putting lipstick on a pig (1970’s vintage unit). After browsing countless web sites and checking Consumer Reports, the condo-grade brands that I eventually settled on were Anlin, Simonton and Window World. Milgard’s quality has taken a dive in the past few years, Renewal by Andersen appeared to be a lower grade retrofit-optimized model in their lineup and Pella seemed too premium for my needs. Do not skip this step since the performance and style of the windows need to be matched to your needs and budget – and some installers will only install certain window brands. TLDR; Scroll to the bottom for some key tips on ordering your replacement windows! After scanning Angie’s List, Yelp, checking the CSLB and BBB sites (and talking to friends), I narrowed down my list of installation vendors to Brothers Home Improvement, Coughlin Windows & Doors, DreamStyle Remodeling, BM Windows and Window World. Window World is a major national chain that manufacturers and installs their own windows. Their estimator was professional and provided a highly detailed quote. However, when he learned that the exterior trim had to be “Architectural Bronze” per the HOA, he pivoted from his own product to Simonton since the Window World product only comes in white and beige. DreamStyle only offered to quote Pella and heavily promoted its quality versus other brands. They did it after a quick walkthrough inspection and quoted a price 150% higher (that’s 2.5x people) and 300% longer installation time – verbally, then waited to see if I’d leap at that. BM Windows offered the Anlin product, which is manufactured and sold on the West Coast. It appeared to fall between the Simonton and Pella products in quality with a price closer to the former. If I owned a detached home or luxury condo, I would have selected that product and used them as the installer since they were knowledgeable and professional. Brothers and Coughlin both quoted Simonton Daylight Maxx. Brothers had a slight initial edge since they have licensing to handle structural remodeling rather than just windows. However, their estimator was a bit like a used car guy using hokey gimmicks to show off the product and talking smack about competing firms. They did provide a detailed competitive quote, but didn’t follow up after the visit. Coughlin really ticked all the boxes in terms of professionalism, knowledge, customer focus, etc. Their only real weak point was their insistence on providing a bottom-line quote for the entire job rather than a line-item quote for each window and door. It truly seemed to be as much a software issue as much as company policy though. They followed up after the initial quote and invited me to the showroom to answer my more detailed engineering questions that were beyond the site estimator. When the installation date arrived, they confirmed it in advance, showed up on time, did quality work, finished on time and cleaned up thoroughly. Their crew was a pleasure to work with. FINAL TIPS: --As with any remodeling job, you get out of it what you put into it. I did hours of research to understand the products and the vendors and I spent the entire installation day at home to monitor the process – and those efforts paid off. --Window installers quote the opening direction of your sliders based on the EXTERIOR of the building. Pay attention and you won’t be unpleasantly surprised at the end. --Window firms tout the new low-profile frames that are ONLY 1.5” wide with larger glass areas. That’s true relative to older style frames. However, they mount these inside your existing aluminum frames so you really lose a FULL 1.5” of glass around the window border (rather than 1.5” minus the original frame width). --If you have a low-profile handle on the outside of your slider door, you’re used to it sliding all the way to the edge of the frame when open – leaving a double pane on one side and an open/screen side. Vinyl windows have larger handles and use 4-6” stop in the track to prevent them from hitting the frame. You’ll notice this when the door is fully open and the frame edges no longer overlap – leaving you with both door edges visible in the middle of the opening. --Title 24 requires the use of low-E glass windows in new construction and most remodels. However, for these “frame in” replacements, you can get around that. In my case, I specified clear glass in my patio slider since it’s shaded by the balcony and I wanted maximum light as well as no greenish tint. However, you have to know to ask for this. --California is updating Title 24 in 2020/2021 and future windows will have to be even more energy efficient (think triple-pane!). Installers expect the new technology to raise window replacement costs by 50% so get yours done in 2020 rather than waiting. --Even if you don’t live in a current fire hazard zone (federal, state or local specified), you should still request the tempered glass option. It only adds $10-$15 per window and you’ll have some future-proofing against droughts and expansions of fire hazard zones (not to mention safer breakage in case of more common baseball or rock). --Double-pane windows will make your home significantly quieter. However, if you want a truly quiet bedroom or office, upgrade to laminated glass for that one room. It makes a big difference without having a major impact on the cost of the entire job. --You’ll be expected to remove anything obstructing the space in front of your windows and doors. Most windows will get trimmed in with a vinyl scrim to cover the original aluminum frame. However, slider doors will get a wood casement molding installed. Be aware that it’s primed white and you’ll need to paint it to match your existing baseboards (Likewise, if you want to match the molding design, be prepared to go buy it yourself and have it on hand for them since they just use a plain version.). Window coverings will be removed and remounted, but may not fit exactly the same depending on design. Bottom Line: I love my new windows and slider doors, but I worked hard to get what I wanted and you should expect to do the same!