Best to consult a specialist when buying new windows

Montgomery Newspapers on October 11, 2000
By Robert E. Trea, real estate editor.

More than likely you’ve noticed the sign posted on the front lawn of some home in our area. It’s virtually inescapable.

The sign has been popping up in our neighborhoods for decades, its vivid red, white and blue proclaiming the work of Roman & Sons.

Roman & Sons is a Warrington-based family business that specializes in windows and doors. Its work has attracted the patronage of thousands of local homeowners for nearly five decades.

“In fact”, says company president Murray Roman, “we’re now doing work for the grandchildren of some of my father’s early customers.

“My father started the business in 1951. My brothers and I grew up in the business. We’ve done work in virtually every neighborhood in Philadelphia, Bucks and Montgomery counties.

Murray and his brother Bruce gradually assumed operation of the company until they became, respectively, president and secretary-treasurer upon their father’s retirement. Murray credits his family’s commitment to quality workmanship and customer courtesy for “the longstanding relationship we enjoy with our customers.”

He explains that all windows and doors – even of similar style – can’t be assumed to be alike: “They can differ greatly in quality, durability, warranty and price.

“For example,” he says, “there are now over 500 manufactures and fabricators of vinyl windows. Most of them are essentially making a window of the same design. However, there are some industry leaders with innovative designs and better quality that are ahead of the pack.

“Consumers would be well advised to talk to companies that specialize in widows and doors as opposed to general contractors who may not have the industry’s knowledge to offer the best advice.”

He relates that in the early to middle 1960s, aluminum-framed windows were considered to be an improvement over those with wood frames because they were so-called maintenance-free and didn’t need to be painted.

“They were, of course,” he says, “not energy efficient because aluminum and glass are conductors, not insulators.

“At the time, energy was inexpensive and nobody gave it a second thought, but by the mid 1970s there was an energy crisis created by the oil embargo. When the cost of home heating oil, natural gas and electricity skyrocketed, window and door manufactures had to make their products more energy-efficient.

” That’s when double-pane insulated glass became the new standard in the window industry. “Also,” he says, “the concept of an aluminum replacement and an aluminum storm window attached together became popular. They were called ‘piggyback’ windows.”

He explains that at about the same time, vinyl replacement windows were introduced. “The advantage of vinyl over aluminum is that vinyl is an insulator and much more energy efficient. Insulated steel doors which sealed magnetically, like refrigerator doors, were also catching on.

“In the early and middle 1980s, most of the aluminum window manufacturers were converting their operations to vinyl windows. There were also hundreds upon hundreds of new companies just starting out to manufacture vinyl replacement windows.”

Better technology, of course, has produced better quality windows and doors, Murray Roman says. He adds that his nearly 50-year-old company will continue to install and service its products, incorporating the latest technology.

That promises that the company’s familiar sign will continue to show up in our neighborhoods.

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