Diamond Certified Company Report

Custom Exteriors, Inc.

Diamond Certified Company Report

Custom Exteriors, Inc.

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CUSTOMER SATISFACTION i
Customer LOYALTY i
Helpful Expertise i
Company Credentials i
  • Workers Compensation
  • Liability Insurance
  • License Verification
  • Business Practices
  • Current Complaint File
  • Legal & Finance
Phone SURVEY RESPONSES FROM 529 VERIFIED CUSTOMERS i

Paula E.

VERIFIED Custom Exteriors, Inc. CUSTOMER

1 of 529

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They gave me good service and understood the technical requirements for the project. They came out and did the work. It was a seamless experience.

The owner, Jeff Kendal, is a really nice guy and a pleasure to work with.

Victor G.

VERIFIED Custom Exteriors, Inc. CUSTOMER

2 of 529

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were very prompt in providing quotes, scheduling the job, and the installation. The product was top quality.

Good customer service and quality product, the owner contacted us directly and provided personal service.

Ryan F.

VERIFIED Custom Exteriors, Inc. CUSTOMER

3 of 529

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I would recommend them to others.

The quality of the work was good.

Read All 529 Survey Responses at Ratings View
Diamond certified VIDEO PROFILE
Diamond certified company PROFILE

Owners Jeff Kendall (L) and Kevin Gundry

Custom Exteriors, Inc. offers full-service home enhancement services to clients throughout the Bay Area. In addition to specializing in windows and doors, the company focuses on fiber cement siding. It provides free in-home evaluations and estimates, and it also offers exterior design services using photos of clients’ homes to show them what their completed projects will look like.

Owners Jeff Kendall and Kevin Gundry founded Custom Exteriors in 1997 with a simple business concept in mind: providing the best available home improvement products at factory-direct prices; hiring only professional, licensed sales staff members; and installing new windows using certified master installers who work exclusively for the company.

Custom Exteriors helps Bay Area homeowners improve the energy efficiency of their homes. Using PACE finance programs HERO, CaliforniaFIRST and Ygrene, qualifying homeowners can upgrade their homes with improved performance from windows, doors, insulation and even fiber cement siding. “Working with our PACE partners, we’re the single destination for our clients’ energy-efficient exterior home improvement projects,” says Mr. Gundry.

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DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESEARCHED CAPABILITIES ON Custom Exteriors, Inc.

Service AREA

Contra Costa County
Alameda County
San Mateo County
Santa Clara County
Marin County
Solano County
San Francisco

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SERVICES PERFORMED

New Retrofit and Energy-Efficient Windows
Fiberglass Entry Doors
James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding
Exterior Home Design

BRANDS Supported

DIAMOND CERTIFIED RESEARCHED ARTICLES ON Custom Exteriors, Inc.

Custom Exteriors installed new windows on this home.

Company Profile

Custom Exteriors, Inc. offers full-service home enhancement services to clients throughout the Bay Area. In addition to specializing in windows and doors, the company focuses on fiber cement siding. It provides free in-home evaluations and estimates, and it also offers exterior design services using photos of clients’ homes to show them what their completed projects will look like.

Owners Jeff Kendall and Kevin Gundry founded Custom Exteriors in 1997 with a simple business concept in mind: providing the best available home improvement products at factory-direct prices; hiring only professional, licensed sales staff members; and installing new windows using certified master installers who work exclusively for the company.

Custom Exteriors helps Bay Area homeowners improve the energy efficiency of their homes. Using PACE finance programs HERO, CaliforniaFIRST and Ygrene, qualifying homeowners can upgrade their homes with improved performance from windows, doors, insulation and even fiber cement siding. “Working with our PACE partners, we’re the single destination for our clients’ energy-efficient exterior home improvement projects,” says Mr. Gundry.

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Company Philosophy

“We understand that our clients' homes may be their biggest investments, so we take great care to provide the best home improvement experience possible. Each project we take on is touched by one of our owners, which ensures quality control at every level of the company. We want our customers to reap the benefits of their installations without having to worry about maintenance and troubleshooting.”

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Comparative Summary

Jeff Kendall and Kevin Gundry started Custom Exteriors, Inc. in 1997 with a simple objective in mind: to provide and install the best possible home improvement products alongside the best possible service. “It all starts with our mission statement: We want this to be the best home improvement project and experience our customers have ever had,” says Mr. Kendall. “That philosophy is backed by a lifetime warranty on everything we sell and install.”

Custom Exteriors’ expertise is multi-faceted–the Pleasanton-based company takes a full-service approach to home enhancement, specializing in windows, doors, stucco and stone, attic insulation, and roofing. It also offers free, in-home evaluations and estimates, and its showroom has gained recognition as one of the region’s most complete and accommodating. “We’re convinced we have the best showroom in the Bay Area,” says Mr. Kendall. “Customers can come in and get a real feel for our company.

“We have something called the ‘wall of install,'” he continues. “It shows people how, for example, a retrofit window is put in from start to finish, and it explains how a new construction window compares as well. Customers can come see the types of products we sell here and witness how they’d be installed in their home.”

Custom Exteriors has completed more than 12,000 Bay Area jobs since its inception, a consistent presence that Mr. Kendall attributes to the loyalty of his customers. “They’re our biggest award,” he says. “Sixty-five to 70 percent of our yearly business comes from referrals of satisfied customers, which says a lot.” The company has also garnered praise from the home improvement industry’s national media– Window & Door magazine named it “Number One Consumer Window Company” in 2006 and “Installation Company of the Year” in 2009.

Custom Exteriors employs every person on its crews, including estimators, so there are no subcontractors complicating a job’s progress. It also prides itself on buying the best-quality products available on the market–like superior caulking, low-expansion foam, and top-brand windows and doors–because, as Mr. Kendall says, “we want our customers to live with their installations trouble- and maintenance-free for as long as they own their home.”

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Industry Info

Take preventative steps to avoid buying the wrong windows for your home.

“There are lots of window and door companies out there,” says Jeff Kendall, co-owner of Custom Exteriors, Inc. in Pleasanton, “and many use high-pressure sales techniques designed to get you to sign a contract, because the actual product they’re selling is generally an afterthought.” The notion that “a window is just a window” is a fallacy, says Kendall. Each home is different and requires an expert to recommend the best window and door solutions. “All windows are not created equal. If you take time to get honest, straightforward facts, your decision will be easier.”

Replacing your windows can decrease the cost of energy used to heat and cool a home, reduce the amount of exterior noise, and improve a home’s overall value. To make sure your windows are of the highest quality, use this simple checklist and confirm they’re:

  • Designed and manufactured specifically for California homes.
  • Put through a rigorous 14-point test to ensure a lifetime guarantee (ask for the test results).
  • Designed with an Infinite High Performance Glazing System to guard against premature fading of art, carpets, furniture, and drapery.
  • Manufactured with Low-E glass as a standard feature.
  • Manufactured with a patented, two-layer metallic coating to block damaging UV rays, deflect outside heat and reduce heating loss.
  • Manufactured with a layer of silica dioxide designed to keep windows cleaner longer and to make cleaning easier.
  • Manufactured with a patent-pending, three-chambered spacer, providing the highest resistance to mold-causing condensation and the best U-factor to increase overall thermal efficiency.
  • Manufactured with fully welded corners, virgin vinyl, titanium dioxide, UV inhibitors in multi-chambered frames, and retro-fin to ensure maximum energy efficiency and long lasting durability.
  • Manufactured with thicker than standard glass.
  • Manufactured with argon gas for maximum efficiency.
  • Installed by certified professionals employed by the company selling the products.
  • Installed with low expanding foam insulation to eliminate any air or water leaks.
  • Able to be painted with your choice of 19 custom, exterior colors.
  • Double latched for added security.
  • Equipped with a Lifetime Guarantee.
  • Installed by a locally owned and operated company with a reputation for quality and customer satisfaction.
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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What’s low-expansion foam and why is it important?
A: Low-expansion foam fills all the air gaps in a retrofit window, which in turn filters outside sound, keeps dust, dirt and bugs out, and keeps the window in place. It’s designed to hit a window’s borders, seal up and stop—which is where the name “low expansion” comes from.

Q: What are the advantages of vinyl frames?
A: Vinyl replacement windows are energy-efficient, have longer warranties, cost relatively less than alternatives, and require practically no maintenance. Conversely, metal frames are terrible insulators, and wood frames can be expensive and costly to maintain over time.

Q: How do you install your windows and doors?
A: We do total replacement in a “new construction” style and retrofit over existing metal frames. All installs conform to local building code regulations, and we adhere to American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) guidelines.

Q: Can I expect my PG&E bills to go down with a window replacement? 
A: Most likely. Since every house is different in the way it’s insulated, heated and cooled, results can vary, but most owners experience a 15 to 40 percent reduction in their PG&E bills.

Q: Do you use subcontractors for your crews?
A: No. We employ more than 40 people and pay workers’ compensation, 401k, medical and dental. There’s virtually no turnover and we have very happy employees who are with us for the long haul.

Q: How do I prepare for the arrival of your installers?
A: Move furniture several feet away from openings and take down blinds and/or window coverings. We’ll bring drop cloths and tarps and carefully cover anything in near proximity to the work areas. When we’re finished, we’ll haul away the old windows and debris.

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SELECTED PHOTOS FROM Custom Exteriors, Inc.

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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTOR ADVICE & TIPS FROM Kevin Gundry

Expert CONTRIBUTOR PROFILE
  • Kevin Gundry is a 28-year veteran of the home improvement industry and CFO of Custom Exteriors, Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (877) 312-3507 or by email.

Kevin Gundry: Customizing Success

By James Florence, Senior Writer

PLEASANTON — After nearly a decade in the home improvement industry, Kevin Gundry took a seminal step to customize his professional destiny. “I got into selling home improvements back in 1989,” he recounts. “After working for a couple of different companies, I partnered with my friend, Jeff Kendall, to found Custom Exteriors in 1997. At first, we were basically going door to door, throwing flyers onto driveways and cold-calling past contacts. We grew substantially during the following decade, nearly doubling our business each year. When the 2008 crash hit, we had to weather some hard times, but we hung in there and have since been on the rise.”

Today, as CFO of Custom Exteriors, Inc., Kevin says his favorite part of his job is transforming people’s homes with exterior upgrades. “It’s amazing how something as simple as replacing windows can make a home look so much better. It’s really neat to see the impact of our work and get positive feedback from customers who have seen an improvement in their homes’ look and performance.”
A resident of Danville (where he lives with wife, Bianca, and their children), Kevin expresses his appreciation for life in the Bay Area. “I think the Bay Area is one of the best places in the world. With five kids, my wife and I don’t get to travel much, so it’s nice that we at least get to live in such a beautiful and diverse place.”

When he’s not working, Kevin likes to spend as much time as possible outdoors. “I’m a big backpacker—I probably backpack 100 miles every summer,” he details. “My goal is to backpack along the entire Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Oregon, and every year I do another chunk of it.” Besides backpacking, Kevin enjoys fishing, camping and spending time with his family.

In regard to his career, Kevin espouses the importance of quality over quantity. “While we’re happy to see our company growing again, we don’t want to grow just for growth’s sake,” he explains. “After all, you can be a huge company, but if you aren’t making your customers happy, what good is it? That’s why we pay close attention to efficient management and customer satisfaction, with the goal of continually improving the way we run our business. By staying focused on what matters most, we hope to continue growing in both size and excellence.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Kevin says he’d do some long-deferred traveling. “I’d visit some countries I’ve never been to, which at this point is most of them,” he laughs. “The truth is, I’ve only been to Canada and Mexico, so there’s a whole lot more world for me to see. Of course, I would also spend more quality time with my family.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: An early bird.

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The Oakland Raiders.

Q: What’s your favorite TV show?
A: “The Walking Dead.”

Q: Music or talk radio?
A: Talk radio—mostly sports.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to eat for dessert?
A: Chocolate ice cream.

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Expert articles
  • Upgrading Your Window Glass

    PLEASANTON — These days, double-pane glass is standard for new windows. That’s why, when a homeowner replaces their old, single-pane windows with new, double-pane ones, they assume they’re getting the best technology available. However, these homeowners don’t realize that all window glass is not alike.

    A lot of today’s windows come with single-strength, 1/16-inch glass panes, which is the minimum thickness available. To get more value for your new windows, you should consider upgrading to thicker glass. A good option is to combine one double-strength glass pane and one triple-strength glass pane.

    Why get thicker glass? The biggest advantage is the improved sound suppression. Upgrading your window glass from standard to triple-strength over double-strength will make your home interior much quieter. This can be especially advantageous if you live near a busy road or have noisy neighbors. So, if you want to enjoy a more peaceful home environment and sleep more soundly at night, be sure to ask about sound suppression when looking for new windows.

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  • Double-Pane Window Innovations

    PLEASANTON — Double-pane windows have come a long way over the last decade, with today’s products incorporating several performance-enhancing innovations. One such innovation is the development of Low-E 366 glass, which contains layers of silver oxide that reflect radiant heat and filter out UV light. These enhanced properties make the glass far more thermally efficient than conventional glass.

    In addition to improved glass, today’s double-pane windows feature non-conductive spacers that don’t conduct heat and cold like their metal precursors. There’s also argon, a colorless, odorless gas that further improves window insulation and performance when inserted between the panes. Additionally, homeowners can ask for soundproof windows that block out noise with the combined power of double- and triple-strength glass.

    The average double-pane window from 10 years ago doesn’t have any of this technology—usually, it’s just two panes of single-strength glass separated by a metal spacer. In fact, many older double-pane windows are now failing, often due to moisture seeping in between the panes. Whether your windows are failing or simply underperforming, consider upgrading to a more modern product. Not only will it save energy, reduce noise and improve comfort, it may also increase your home’s resale value.

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Expert video tip
  • Video: Best Window Glass for Sound Suppression

    Complete Video Transcription:

    PLEASANTON — Host, Sarah Rutan: When replacing your home’s windows, consider upgrading to a glass product that offers maximum sound suppression. Today we’re in Pleasanton with Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Kevin Gundry of Custom Exteriors to learn more.

    Diamond Certified Expert Contributor, Kevin Gundry: Most homeowners, when they get new windows, they’re getting windows with double-paned glass. What they don’t know is that a lot of windows come with just single-strength glass. It’s just what you see right here, which is a sixteenth of an inch thick. They get two panels of glass and they think they are getting the best technology. Unfortunately that’s not altogether true, because what you want to make sure is not only are you getting double-paned glass, but you get glass that is – has a thickness of double-strength glass on one panel of glass, and then triple-strength glass on the second piece of glass. What that does is that helps with sound suppression from the exterior noise of your home. If you live next to a freeway, or if you’re close to a busy road, or you have noisy neighbors – something that keeps you up at night or something that you can hear through your windows – by just upgrading your glass package in your windows from just a standard double-paned glass to what you see right here, which is triple-strength over double-strength glass will give you the latest in technology for sound suppression. Makes a big difference, gives you a better, quieter home, easier sleep at night. I highly recommend it. So makes sure you ask about sound suppression when you’re getting new windows for your home.

    Host, Sarah Rutan: To learn more from local, top rated companies, visit our Diamond Certified Expert Reports at experts.diamondcertified.org.

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  • Video: Upgrading Double Pane Windows

    Complete Video Transcription:

    PLEASANTON — Host, Sarah Rutan: Even if your home has double pane windows, if they’re more than 10 years old, you aren’t getting the benefits that modern products have to offer. Today we’re in Pleasanton with Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Kevin Gundry of Custom Exteriors to learn more.

    Diamond Certified Expert Contributor, Kevin Gundry: Double-paned windows have changed drastically just in the last few years. If your house is about ten years or older, it’s a good idea to take a look at the new upgrades that have been made on double-paned windows.

    For instance, a lot of the newer windows today have Low-E 366 glass with argon and non-conductive spacers. And then we also have now what’s called a sound package, which is double-strength glass combined with triple-strength glass, which gives you a better overall performance against allowing noise to come through the windows. A lot of your older windows that are in homes actually don’t have any of this technology. You have double-paned windows, but, unfortunately, a lot of it’s with single-strength glass– just clear glass– and a metal spacer bar in between the panes. And in fact, many of these windows are failing because there’s moisture getting in between the panes of glass.

    So, if you have a house that was built more than ten years ago, you have metal spacers, you may have either a vinyl-framed window or an aluminum-framed window that is hard to open and close and feels like there’s a lot of heat coming in, it’s a good idea to take a look at the new technology that’s out there today that not only is going to make the window open and close better and sound better and look better, but also is going to save you energy and save you money in your pocket and make your house much more energy efficient and bring up the resale value of your home.

    Host, Sarah Rutan: To learn more from local, top rated companies, visit out Diamond Certified Expert Reports at experts.diamondcertified.org.

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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTOR ADVICE & TIPS FROM Jeff Kendall

Expert CONTRIBUTOR PROFILE
  • Jeff Kendall is president of Custom Exteriors, Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (877) 312-3507 or by email.

Jeff Kendall: A Customized Career

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

PLEASANTON — Since taking his first sales job, Jeff Kendall has spent the subsequent decades customizing his career. “I’ve been doing sales since I graduated college,” he recounts. “I’ve always loved meeting and talking with people, and I appreciate not being stuck in an office all day. After working as a Yellow Pages salesman for a few years, I got a job as a window and siding sales estimator at Sears. It was there that I met Kevin Gundry, who is now co-owner of Custom Exteriors. Later, while working for a Bay Area home exterior company, I got a call from Kevin, who suggested we start our own business. I decided to take him up on the idea. At the start, we worked out of my wife’s flower shop in Orinda. Two decades later, we have our own showroom and more than 40 employees.”

Today, as president of Custom Exteriors, Inc., Jeff cites two crucial ingredients that account for the company’s success. “First, there’s a very solid partnership between the owners. Kevin and I are also very hands-on with the business, which is unusual for owners in this industry. Additionally, we have some incredible employees—very loyal, dedicated and caring. Despite the size of our company, it feels like a close-knit family business.”

A resident of Lafayette, Jeff spends his time outside of work on a variety of pastimes. “I’m a passionate golfer, an avid fisherman and a sports nut,” he lists. “My favorite sports teams are the Cal Bears, the 49ers, the Giants, the Warriors and the Sharks.” Jeff also enjoys spending time with his wife, Donna, and their three children and two grandchildren.

In regard to his professional career, Jeff says he derives great satisfaction from improving his customers’ homes and lives. “Really, we’re in the comfort business—we make our customers’ homes easier to heat in the winter, easier to cool in the summer and much quieter when high-quality windows are installed. We’ve completed 18,000 jobs over the last 21 years, and it feels good to know I’ve provided so many people with a more comfortable home and an improved quality of life.”

When asked what he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Jeff says he’d spend more time pursuing the activities he currently enjoys. “I’d play more golf, fish more often and spend more time with my family. However, I’d also want to work part-time and keep my hand in the industry. I enjoy what I do and I’m good at it, so it would be fun to work a couple of times a week doing measurements and dropping by jobsites.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: An early bird.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?
A: Postino in Lafayette.

Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: I would go to St. Andrews in Scotland to see the castles and play that famous golf course.

Q: What’s your favorite holiday?
A: Thanksgiving, because I get to be around the people I love most. Plus, I don’t mind the four-day weekend.

Q: What’s your favorite band?
A: The Beatles—I listen to them just about every day.

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Expert articles
  • Permits: An Important Consideration When Hiring a Contractor

    PLEASANTON — Before hiring a contractor to replace your home’s windows, siding or stucco, make sure they’re willing and able to handle building permits. The permitting process for exterior renovations can be quite daunting—there are Title 24 questions, floor plan questions, material questions, etc. That’s why it’s crucial to choose a company with the experience to fulfill all requirements needed to obtain a permit for your project.

    One reason it’s important to hire a company that’s experienced with permits is the complexity of modern building code. For example, at least one window in any residential bedroom must qualify as an “egress window,” which means an occupant can easily climb out in the event of an emergency. What’s more, the window must meet four specific criteria to fulfill this requirement. Also, all window and door glass within 18 inches of the floor must be tempered safety glass, which is heat-hardened to increase durability.

    When you apply for a permit, these kinds of details need to be laid out in the submitted plans. If this isn’t done correctly, you could be looking at substantial project delays. A less experienced (or less conscientious) contractor is more likely to make a mistake than one that’s well-familiar with building code requirements and the permitting process.

    One additional consideration regarding the permitting process is the city or county you’re dealing with. In most cities, you can get permits turned around fairly quickly, but in others, it can be difficult and/or time-consuming. For example, if you live in Oakland, you’re looking at about a 30-day turnaround time for permit approval. By working with a contractor that’s familiar with your local building department, you’re less likely to experience delays due to this factor.

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  • James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding

    PLEASANTON —Need to replace your home’s siding? A great product to consider is James Hardie fiber cement siding. While it bears the appearance of traditional wood siding, this product’s engineered composition provides a superior level of performance. Since it’s noncombustible, impervious to moisture and doesn’t attract termites, it eliminates most of the issues commonly experienced with wood siding.

    James Hardie fiber cement is available in a wide variety of styles, colors and finishes. One of the most popular styles is HardiePlank® Lap Siding. One nice thing about this product is the nails are situated behind the top layer, which gives the exterior a smooth, finished look. Fiber cement siding is typically combined with a prefinished trim that goes around all doors, windows and other penetrations in the siding. James Hardie also offers a great soffit solution that hides all fascia boards.

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Expert video tip
  • Video: James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding

    Complete Video Transcription:

    PLEASANTON — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you’re planning to replace your home’s siding, one product to consider is James Hardie fiber cement siding. To learn more, we’re in Pleasanton with Robert Vigil of Custom Exteriors, speaking on behalf of Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Jeff Kendall.

    Robert Vigil: A great solution to sliding project would be replacing your existing siding with James Hardy. James Hardy is a cement fiber board. Comes in various different options in terms of the finish, but what’s most common is the traditional lap siding, which you see here. The nice thing about this lap siding is, all the nails are behind the top layer, so it leaves a nice finish, non-nail finish. That way, when we install the trim, you basically have a completely finished product with the pre-finish on the trim, pre-finish on the siding.

    And what you’re looking at here is a project where we have windows involved and all of your windows, all of your doors, and any of the penetrations that may be in your house all get trimmed out with the same type of trim, which is, once again, James Hardy. And lastly, they offer a soffit solution, which hides all the fascia boards. Nice thing about the James Hardy is, it does offer pre-finished colors with pre-finished matching on the caulking. So, once we’re done with the installation, there’s nothing for you to do.

    Host, Sarah Rutan: To learn more from local, top rated companies, visit our Diamond Certified Expert Reports at experts.diamondcertified.org.

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  • Video: Consideration for Choosing a Window Contractor

    Complete Video Transcription:

    PLEASANTON — Host, Sarah Rutan: When choosing a contractor to replace your home’s windows, there’s one aspect you don’t want to overlook. Today we’re in Pleasanton with Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Jeff Kendall of Custom Exteriors to learn more.

    Diamond Certified Expert Contributor, Jeff Kendall: A helpful tip for homeowners looking to replace their windows, siding or stucco is to choose a company that takes care of the daunting permit ordeal that most cities and counties can put a homeowner through. There are Title 24 questions, there are floor plan questions, there are material questions, and it’s very, very important to choose a company that has the experience to get through all the requirements that are needed to obtain a building permit for your home improvement project.

    Host, Sarah Rutan: To learn more from local, top-rated companies, visit our Diamond Certified Expert Reports at experts.diamondcertified.org.

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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTOR ADVICE & TIPS FROM Grayeagle Porter

Expert CONTRIBUTOR PROFILE
  • Grayeagle Porter is a design consultant at Custom Exteriors, Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (877) 312-3507 or by email.

Grayeagle Porter: An Unforeseen Trajectory

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

PLEASANTON — As a young man, Grayeagle Porter could never have foreseen the unique course his professional path would take. One thing is for sure: he wouldn’t change a thing about it. “I actually began my career in the theater,” he recounts. “I got my degree in dramatic arts and acted professionally for about 10 years. After getting married, I needed higher-paying work, so I got into the hospitality industry and worked in hotels and restaurants. During this time, I was approached by the owner of a window company, who told me I’d be really good at selling windows. It seemed like a good opportunity, so I got trained and started doing it. Later, in 2000, I was hired at Custom Exteriors and I’ve been here ever since.”

As a design consultant at Custom Exteriors, Inc., Grayeagle says he takes pride in having a specific area of expertise. “After coming on at Custom Exteriors, I found myself drawn to wood windows and completely immersed myself in that aspect of the industry. I toured factories throughout the country and took every opportunity to learn more. As a result, over the years, I’ve carved a niche for myself as a leading wood window expert in the Bay Area.”

Born on the Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation in New York and raised in Niagara Falls, Grayeagle came to California as a teenager. “I basically ran away from home, came out here and roughed it,” he says. “I put myself through school and all of that. However, I’ve always kept close ties with my family back east, and I still visit them regularly.”

Outside of work, Grayeagle’s primary pastimes include performing with his band and traveling. “I’m the male lead singer of Site6, a local band that plays ’70s and ’80s pop, rock, and blues covers,” he details. “It’s a very fun, close-knit group, and we’re highly sought after. I also love to travel. Besides visiting family back east, I take lots of trips to visit the friends I’ve made throughout the U.S. and the world.”

In his life and career, Grayeagle measures his success by the quality (and quantity) of his relationships. “To me, the most important thing is considering others—to be kind, helpful and nurturing. As a professional, I never mislead my customers; rather, I try to lead them where they want to go. I’m very blessed. I have many friends and many people who love me, so I’m a living success.”

When asked what he’d do if he retired tomorrow, Grayeagle says he’d probably move to Canada. “Since I was raised in Niagara Falls, I have dual citizenship, and I still have family there. The people in Canada are nice and it’s not nearly as crowded as it is here. The main thing I’d have to give up here is the weather, but it’d be worth it to be closer to my family.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What was your first job?
A: I got a job as a roofer when I was 14. I was so excited to be making $2.35 an hour!

Q: Do you have a favorite band or musician?
A: My absolute favorite artists to sing are Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Engelbert Humperdinck and Tom Jones. If it were my choice, I’d be a Michael Bublé-type performer.

Q: If you could time-travel, would you go to the past or the future?
A: The past. I would probably go back to America about 800 years ago when there was nobody here but us natives.

Q: What’s your favorite thing to do on a rainy day?
A: I like to read, go over music or go to the movies.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: I collect things from my children, godchildren and grandchildren. I taught my kids that the greatest gift you can give is something you’ve made yourself, so I have all kinds of drawings, collages and other art pieces they’ve made.

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Expert articles
  • 3 Window Styles

    PLEASANTON — When installing new windows, it can be difficult to decide which style will work best for your home. To make an informed decision, consider the following window styles and their attributes:

    Vinyl

    The quality of vinyl windows has improved considerably during the last 20 years. The main criteria for homeowners who choose vinyl are affordability, thermal efficiency and minimal maintenance. Additionally, vinyl windows are easy to install (via retrofit or new construction) and come with a lifetime warranty. The main drawback of vinyl windows is the limited design and color options.

    Fiberglass

    Fiberglass is the strongest window frame material on the market—eight times stronger than vinyl. Unlike vinyl, fiberglass can be painted, and since it’s a natural product, it’s a good choice for environmentally-conscious homeowners. Because of its strength, it’s not easily damaged and will perform for a long time following installation.

    Wood

    If aesthetics are a primary concern for you or your home has a distinct architectural style, wood windows are an ideal choice. Basically, they’re the equivalent of hanging fine furniture on your walls. With wood windows, there’s an endless number of custom options for design, colors and stains. Additionally, wood windows exceed all national and local energy efficiency codes, so your windows will perform as good as they look.

    Read moreRead less
  • 4 Reasons to Upgrade Your Home’s Windows and Doors

    PLEASANTON — If you’re looking for a home improvement measure to invest in, consider upgrading your windows and doors. Replacing outdated windows and doors with modern, high-quality models can bring substantial benefits in the following areas:

    1. Aesthetic value
    This first benefit is pretty straightforward: Upgrading your windows and doors will beautify your home. You’d be surprised how much of an impact this seemingly minor aesthetic enhancement can have on your home’s overall appearance.

    2. Resale value
    According to a recent Cost vs. Value report (published annually by Remodeling Magazine), homeowners who upgrade their windows and doors can expect to recoup a 120% investment return when they sell their homes.

    3. Ease of use
    Few things are more irritating than a door that sticks or a window that won’t open or close properly. Upgrading your windows and doors will eliminate these sources of irritation and increase the ease of using them, which will give you more peace of mind.

    4. Improved thermal efficiency
    Who doesn’t want to save on energy costs—or for that matter, be more comfortable in their home? You can enjoy both of these benefits by upgrading your old windows and doors with new, improved replacements.

    Read moreRead less
Expert video tip
  • Video: Benefits of Door and Window Replacement

    Complete Video Transcription:

    PLEASANTON — Host, Sarah Rutan: If you’re looking for ways to improve your home’s comfort and efficiency, consider upgrading your doors and windows. Today we’re in Pleasanton with Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Grayeagle Porter of Custom Exteriors to learn more.

    Diamond Certified Expert Contributor, Grayeagle Porter: The main reason why people do windows and doors these days is, first of all, to beautify their home, obviously. Of course, new windows and doors make your home look much more attractive.

    Second is resale value. According to a value versus – it’s a new report that comes out every year – is that you can recoup 120% of your project costs by doing windows and doors in your home. Another reason is ease of use. That’s a big one. People want to be able to open and close their doors easily.

    Another reason is, of course, thermal efficiency. That’s probably the big one. Who doesn’t want to save energy? And who doesn’t want to be more comfortable? And, you know, we all have to admit it: As we get older, the quality of life becomes more important to us. And why wouldn’t you want to be more comfortable and have it more quiet in your home?

    Host, Sarah Rutan: To learn more from local, top rated companies, visit our Diamond Certified Expert Reports at experts.diamondcertified.org.

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  • Video: Understanding Your Window Options

    Complete Video Transcription:

    PLEASANTON — Host, Sarah Rutan: When choosing new windows for your home, it’s important to learn about the different options available. Today we’re in Pleasanton with Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Grayeagle Porter of Custom Exteriors to learn about three popular choices.

    Diamond Certified Expert Contributor, Grayeagle Porter: When buying windows, sometimes it’s very difficult to discern what type of window should I have. What would work best for me? What is my criteria? Well those are all good questions since the – the industry has a lot – lot to choose from. I think to break it down into categories would work best, and just talk a little about each one of them and what criteria they serve and what would be best for you. So I’ll break it down into three different categories, vinyl, fiberglass and wood windows.

    So let’s start with vinyl. Of course there’s been a lot of talk about vinyl in the past, the quality of vinyl has changed considerably in the last 20 years. The quality has gotten a lot better. So the criteria usually for vinyl is, I want something that’s affordable, I want something that’s thermal efficient, and something that I don’t want to maintain or have to worry about again, something that has a lifetime warranty. But with vinyl comes, you know, limitations of color. You can get some of them with color on the outside. You can retrofit them, which is a method of installation that’s very easy. Or new construction, which means take out the old frame and put in the new frame. So vinyl is very popular, probably – I’d say 70 percent of all windows sold are vinyl these days, and that’s because of that criteria. Quick, easy, affordable. Very limited options and so forth, and very easy to take care of.

    So now let’s move in to fiberglass. Now fiberglass is the strongest material you can get for a window frame. It is eight times stronger than vinyl. It is a product that can be painted, and it’s usually a stream-lined kind of product that looks a lot like vinyl. You put them next to each other, sometimes you don’t know which is which. But fiberglass came out of the whole green movement, you know – things that are natural. I want something that’s not made from oil. I want something that’s made from sand which is, you know, very plentiful. And also I want a strong window, that I know it’s going to last, something that’s not going to scratch or gouge – that sort of thing. And of course you do pay a little bit of a premium for that. So fiberglass is an up and coming window, and I’m talking about all fiberglass, not a composition window.

    Now the final category is probably something I know most about, and that is a wood window. Now if you’re looking for virtually unlimited design options and flexibility and you want to hang furniture on your walls, now you can do that with wood. There’s so many options. There’s so many exceptions. There’s so many things to think about, and of course I’m not going to go into it in this viewing, but if you want stained finishes, if you want 19 different colors on the outside, if you want to meet and exceed all of the national codes and local codes, then wood windows are for you. Again, if you’re looking for something that’s architecturally correct, that has unlimited design options, then wood is for you.

    Host, Sarah Rutan: To learn more from local, top rated companies, visit our Diamond Certified Expert Reports at experts.diamondcertified.org.

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DIAMOND CERTIFIED EXPERT CONTRIBUTOR ADVICE & TIPS FROM David Lopez

Expert CONTRIBUTOR PROFILE
  • David Lopez is sales manager of Custom Exteriors, Inc., a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (877) 312-3507 or by email.

David Lopez: A Grounded Career

By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter

PLEASANTON — After joining the United States Air Force, David Lopez figured he’d spend the rest of his life soaring through the skies. In the end, he found satisfaction in a more grounded career. “Out of high school, I joined the Air Force and served four years as a crew chief on an A-10 Thunderbolt,” he recounts. “After I got out, my plan was to become a pilot for United Airlines. Between moving back to California from my Air Force base in Tucson, I made a friend who was in the construction business. I started working with him and I enjoyed it, so I figured I’d do construction for a while and look into piloting later.”

David’s temporary stint in construction turned out to be a long-term engagement, and over the next several years he became versed in all aspects of the trade. At a certain point, he decided to switch from field work to sales. After gaining experience with a couple of different companies, David was hired by Custom Exteriors, Inc., where he has been for nearly a decade.

Today, as sales manager at Custom Exteriors, David says his favorite part of his job is passing on his knowledge to the company’s new recruits. “I really like working with our new sales reps, teaching them what I’ve learned in my career and equipping them to help homeowners like I do.”

A resident of Pleasanton, David spends his time outside of work on a variety of pastimes. “I like going fishing, camping and pretty much anything else outdoors,” he details. “I also enjoy cooking at home and watching football.” Additionally, David likes doing activities with his wife, Lourdes, and their two children. “I really enjoy getting out and about with my family and exploring different parts of the Bay Area.”

In his life and career, David says one of his primary motivations is helping others. “I want to be able to look back on my life and say, ‘I did something good for somebody.’ I like helping others, and I’m very thankful to have a job where I get to help people fix up their homes—that gives me great satisfaction.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, David says he’d take a vacation. “My son has been bugging me about taking the family to Bali, so maybe I’d go ahead and do that.”

Ask Me Anything!

Q: What was your first job?
A: I had a paper route when I was in elementary school.

Q: What’s your favorite sports team?
A: The Oakland Raiders.

Q: Are you a dog person or a cat person?
A: A dog person.

Q: If you could time travel, would you go to the past or the future?
A: I would go to the future, just because I’m always interested in what’s coming next.

Q: Do you collect anything?
A: Fishing equipment.

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Expert articles
  • Protective Film for Window Installation

    PLEASANTON — One issue that sometimes occurs with window replacement is when the new window glass gets accidentally scratched during installation. Fortunately, some manufacturers have taken steps to alleviate this issue. It’s quite simple: a plastic film is applied to the glass panes before they go to the jobsite, and once they’re installed, the film is removed. This provides protection against scratches (as well as fingerprints) during installation. Not surprisingly, it makes for a cleaner installation and, most important, a happy homeowner. So, if you’re planning to have your windows replaced, ask your installer about protective film.

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  • Benefits of a Fiberglass Entry Door

    PLEASANTON — When choosing a new entry door for your home, it’s worthwhile to consider the many benefits a fiberglass door provides:

    Performance

    Wood entry doors expand and contract with changes in weather, which can cause issues like sticking or air gaps between the door and frame. Since fiberglass doors aren’t made of wood, they don’t fluctuate with the seasons, which avoids these types of issues.

    Energy efficiency

    Because it has a foam core, a fiberglass door is denser and more energy-efficient than a conventional wood door.

    Strength/durability

    A fiberglass door offers comparable strength to a steel door, but without steel’s cold aesthetic. Fiberglass doors also resist dents and retain their color longer than wood doors (which require ongoing repainting/recoating).

    Style versatility

    Fiberglass doors are available in a wide variety of colors and styles, so you’re sure to find one that suits your needs and preferences.

    Home resale value increase

    Many homeowners are surprised to learn how much a front entry door can affect their home’s resale value. In fact, according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2018 Cost vs. Value Report, a nice front door can increase a home’s value by as much as $18,000. That’s why it’s worth investing more for a high-quality fiberglass entry door.

    Read moreRead less
Expert video tip
  • Video: Fiberglass Door Benefits

    Complete Video Transcription:

     Host, Sarah Rutan: When choosing a new entry door for your home, consider the many benefits a fiberglass door provides. Today we’re in Pleasanton with Diamond Certified Expert Contributor David Lopez of Custom Exteriors to learn more.

    Diamond Certified Expert Contributor, David Lopez: My tip for the day is going to be about entry doors, and one of the main reasons why people pick fiberglass entry doors is because of their longevity. A lot of folks will tell us when we get to their house that they want to replace their door because in certain times of the year they either get stiff or they have gaps around them, and fiberglass doors hold up much better. And maintenance – a lot of folks tell us that they don’t like to have to keep maintaining their doors, where fiberglass will hold their color – either it’s paint or stain – much longer. And they are much more insulating as well.

    So as far as energy savings a lot of people are trying to do fiberglass doors because of the energy savings. Because it is a foam-filled door, so it’s a lot better than just having a wood door that, you know, might get cracks in it and things like that. Also people like to have the strength of steel, but they don’t like steel because it’s such a cold door. Where fiberglass has the strength of steel but it doesn’t have the ability to have cold or it doesn’t have dents, so it’s able to outlast a lot of wood doors and other steel doors and options that homeowners might pick.

    And there are so many new options for the fiberglass door that allows homeowners to basically have any door that they ever imagined in fiberglass versus the wood that was a traditional door in home owner’s homes. So we like to do the fiberglass door because of the fact that it really adds value to the house. When we see a house, we can see the neighbors and what the neighbors have done and so we’ll pick out designs to help the home owner pick a door that fits their home and also to increase the value of their home. Because the door – it makes a statement to your home.

    Host, Sarah Rutan: To learn more from local, top-rated companies, visit our Diamond Certified Expert Reports at experts.diamondcertified.org.

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  • Video: Protecting Window Glass During Installation

    Complete Video Transcription:

    PLEASANTON — Host, Sarah Rutan: When installing new windows, one minor protective measure can make a big difference. Today we’re in Pleasanton with Diamond Certified Expert Contributor David Lopez of Custom Exteriors to learn more.

    Diamond Certified Expert Contributor, David Lopez: Many of our customers have shared with us that when they got their windows installed that there were scratches on the glass. So, there is manufacturers out there that help to alleviate that problem. And one of the window manufacturers that we use is Anlin out of Clovis, California. And they actually use a product called “AnlinArmor,” and it’s a film that they put on the glass. So, after the installation process, our installers simply peel off the film, and there is no scratches and no fingerprints. So, it leaves for a much happier customer and a much cleaner installation.

    Host, Sarah Rutan: To learn more from local, top rated companies, visit our Diamond Certified Expert Reports at experts.diamondcertified.org.

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Custom Exteriors, Inc. WEBSITE AND EXTERNAL FEED
  • Custom Exteriors, Inc. SOCIAL MEDIA FEEDS
Diamond Certified RATINGS ON Custom Exteriors, Inc.
Diamond certified ratings dashboard
CUSTOMER SATISFACTION i
Customer LOYALTY i
Helpful Expertise i

Each surveyed customer was asked, “If you needed any helpful expertise, did this company provide that expertise?” To calculate this score, total “Yes” responses were divided by total responses (excluding those that stated they hadn’t needed any expertise).

Company Credentials i
  • Workers Compensation
  • Liability Insurance
  • License Verification
  • Business Practices
  • Current Complaint File
  • Legal & Finance
Phone SURVEY RESPONSES FROM 529 VERIFIED CUSTOMERS i
Custom Exteriors, Inc. : Average 9.0 out of 10 based on 529 unique customer surveys of customer satisfaction.

Paula E.

VERIFIED Custom Exteriors, Inc. CUSTOMER

1 of 529

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They gave me good service and understood the technical requirements for the project. They came out and did the work. It was a seamless experience.

The owner, Jeff Kendal, is a really nice guy and a pleasure to work with.

Victor G.

VERIFIED Custom Exteriors, Inc. CUSTOMER

2 of 529

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were very prompt in providing quotes, scheduling the job, and the installation. The product was top quality.

Good customer service and quality product, the owner contacted us directly and provided personal service.

Ryan F.

VERIFIED Custom Exteriors, Inc. CUSTOMER

3 of 529

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I would recommend them to others.

The quality of the work was good.

Teri D.

VERIFIED Custom Exteriors, Inc. CUSTOMER

4 of 529

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I recommend them.

The customer service and the quality

Rod F.

VERIFIED Custom Exteriors, Inc. CUSTOMER

5 of 529

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were very knowledgeable, on time, fairly priced, and they did a great job.

Their knowledge in suggesting what to use

Roberto T.

VERIFIED Custom Exteriors, Inc. CUSTOMER

6 of 529

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They do good quality, detailed work. The only issue I had, was that they left the scaffolding equipment outside of my house for about a week or longer.

They were straightforward and in the end they were able to accommodate me and match a competitor's pricing.

Mary C.

VERIFIED Custom Exteriors, Inc. CUSTOMER

7 of 529

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

Great integrity, got back to us right away with any issues, good prices, and I would definitely use them again.

Their friendliness, we worked with Jeff and my daughter actually ended up getting something done too.

Nancy K.

VERIFIED Custom Exteriors, Inc. CUSTOMER

8 of 529

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I was satisfied with their products and I would recommend them.

Good quality products

Bill L.

VERIFIED Custom Exteriors, Inc. CUSTOMER

9 of 529

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I've recommended them to two friends.

They did what they said they would do and they did it in a timely manner.

Noah H.

VERIFIED Custom Exteriors, Inc. CUSTOMER

10 of 529

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They're good.

Their product's quality

Olga K.

VERIFIED Custom Exteriors, Inc. CUSTOMER

11 of 529

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

When there was a little bump in the road and the city informed them they needed to caulk something, they came out quickly and fixed it.

They did it quickly and I didn't have to be here for weeks at a time, just a few days.

Namrata J.

VERIFIED Custom Exteriors, Inc. CUSTOMER

12 of 529

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They're reliable, very helpful in explaining how the project was going to go, and they followed through.

They had the product I wanted and my project was done on time.

Chris C.

VERIFIED Custom Exteriors, Inc. CUSTOMER

13 of 529

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

Great customer service and great prices, we were probably difficult to deal with because we wanted to do a lot, then we wanted to do a little, but they worked really well with us.

How quickly they were able to get it done

Renie G.

VERIFIED Custom Exteriors, Inc. CUSTOMER

14 of 529

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They did a very good job.

They did a good job.

Leverne B.

VERIFIED Custom Exteriors, Inc. CUSTOMER

15 of 529

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I would highly recommend them.

They are very efficient and their work is fast and the cleanup is excellent. I am very happy with my windows.

Stacy

VERIFIED Custom Exteriors, Inc. CUSTOMER

16 of 529

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They're reliable, they met the time they estimated on the job, fair pricing, and a knowledgeable sales representative.

They did a great job on the windows and the subcontractor for the stucco did a perfect job.

Connie D.

VERIFIED Custom Exteriors, Inc. CUSTOMER

17 of 529

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They take care of things.

They were very professional.

Virginia L.

VERIFIED Custom Exteriors, Inc. CUSTOMER

18 of 529

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

I've already referred a couple people to them.

They did a good job, they showed up on time, quality product, and they did what they said they would do.

Ellen B.

VERIFIED Custom Exteriors, Inc. CUSTOMER

19 of 529

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

They were very knowledgeable.

Nothing really comes to mind.

Terry D.

VERIFIED Custom Exteriors, Inc. CUSTOMER

20 of 529

Quality 10
10 10
Loyalty Yes
CRITIQUE

This is the second time I've used them, and I plan on using them a third. From the first phone call to the guys in the field, everyone was always on the same page.

I liked the owner's involvement.

Read All 529 Survey Responses at Ratings View