All About Vinyl Windows
Vinyl is the most common type of window frame installed on homes today. Vinyl windows are composed of PVC or polyvinyl chloride. The material is mixed with a range of chemicals and pigments, which give it the color of your choice and also allow it to stand up to direct sunlight. After being mixed, it’s extruded into the proper shape needed to construct the window.
The Benefits of Vinyl Windows
- Price: 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.
- Versatility: No matter what style of window you’re envisioning on your home, it can likely be made from vinyl. Casement, picture, architectural, double hung, and single hung windows 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.
- Low maintenance: You won’t have to paint your vinyl windows. In fact, periodic cleanings are the only necessary work you’ll have to do.
The Limits of Vinyl Windows
- Wear and tear: 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 preserve the look and form of the windows for much longer than they used to.
- Longevity: 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.
How to Find Quality Vinyl Windows
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.
Examine the Warranty
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 issues and will even cover another homeowner if you decide to sell your home later on.
Rely on Quality Manufacturers
Look for manufacturers that are known for producing high-quality vinyl windows, like Simonton or Harvey, and compare some of their products to those of their competitors. Look at the cross-sections and the frame construction to see that they have superior construction overall or a better warranty to rely on.
Get Quality Glass
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 high-traffic locations, you can also look into impact-resistant glass to help keep your home safe.
Top Vinyl Brands
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.
- Window World
- Ply Gem
Should You Get Vinyl?
If you’re looking for a low-maintenance and affordable window solution, then vinyl is a smart choice for your home.