Vinyl is the most commonly installed window frame on homes today. They are composed of PVC or polyvinyl chloride. The material is mixed with a range of chemicals and pigments to allow it to stand up to direct sunlight and to give it the color you choose. After being mixed, it’s extruded into the proper shape needed to construct the window.
Vinyl windows are more affordable than wood, aluminum, and fiberglass. Even top quality vinyl windows are often more affordable than base options in wood or aluminum. No matter what style of window you want on your home, it can likely be made from vinyl. Casement, picture, architectural, double hung, and single hung can all be produced with a vinyl frame or custom-made to a homeowner’s specifications. Well constructed vinyl frames can be as energy efficient as wood, particularly if their hollow pockets are filled with additional insulation. You won’t have to paint your vinyl windows, only clean them periodically so they are pretty low maintenance.
Vinyl windows are generally the least durable option. The frames are easiest to break and the PVC they are made from is known for fading, even though the chemicals used during construction today help preserve the look and form of the windows for much longer than they used to. In general, vinyl frames still have a significantly shorter lifespan than aluminum or wooden windows. There are some paint products available today that can be used on vinyl windows but they are difficult to apply and aren’t offered in many colors. Most homeowners choose to replace the windows every 10 to 20 years, rather than repaint them.
Vinyl windows aren’t all the same quality and it’s important to consider these tips on how to recognize quality windows when shopping for replacements. One of the best ways to determine if you’re looking at quality vinyl windows is to take a look at the cross-section of the frame. Make sure to count the chambers and note how large they are. Vinyl windows are not solid on the inside and each window comes with a different number of chambers. The quality products have more chambers that are smaller in size. This makes the windows more durable and weather resistant over time. Some vinyl window frames are fastened together using screws and caulk, while others are welded. The welded windows are more reliable during installation and longer lasting.
When shopping for vinyl windows some of the best options available will have what is known as a “double lifetime” warranty. These are excellent to have if you ever plan on selling your home. These warranties will cover the windows against possible problems during your use with them and will cover another homeowner if you decide to sell your home later on. While it’s nice that the next owner can be covered too, the real benefit is in the increased value of your home.
When you’re shopping for vinyl look for manufacturers like Simonton or Harvey that are known for producing high quality vinyl windows. Take a look at some of their products and compare them to competitors by looking at the cross-sections and the frame construction to see that they have superior construction overall or a better warranty to rely on.
Pay attention to the glass of the vinyl windows that you select to make sure it is double or triple paned and that it’s treated with coating to be as efficient as possible. For more high traffic locations you also might want to look into impact-resistant glass to help keep your home safe.
Here’s a list of some of the top vinyl window brands on the market today. These are by no means all the available brands that you should consider, but the list is a good place to start.
If you’re looking for a low-maintenance and affordable window solution then vinyl is a good fit for you.