Vinyl replacement windows are a great choice for many window projects and certainly can be the most affordable option. But, can they really be the right choice for every home? Our award winning teams will explain your window options and help recommend the right replacement windows for your unique project.
Vinyl Replacement Windows
A homeowner’s most cost effective window choice are Vinyl replacement windows. In addition, vinyl window replacements can achieve or exceed the efficiency values of wood or composite windows. Furthermore, this can be often be achieved at ⅓ to ⅔ the cost of wood or composite window replacements.
Another huge benefit of Vinyl replacement windows is that they are virtually maintenance free. For example, window manufacturers construct Vinyl windows with pre-colored vinyl – eliminating the need for periodic window painting or staining. However, most manufacturers only offer a handful of pre-colored vinyl colors. So, manufacturers will often offer an approved painting process that allows them to paint the exterior surface of the window. This process affords consumers the ability to choose from a large selection of colors.
Some vinyl window manufacturers satisfy the appeal of real wood windows by offering real wood veneer interiors. In fact, homeowners can stain interior wood veneer surfaces just like real wood windows.
Because vinyl replacement windows have a lower price point than other materials, consumers often perceive them as lower quality. Consumers often hold this false perception, but this perception sometimes founded. For example, like with most products in general, manufacturers offer product lines that appeal to a variety of consumers. Manufacturers market the quality variety as good, better, and best.
Some window manufacturers offer cheaper, builder grade series, vinyl windows. These window systems are constructed using a thinner (lower quality) vinyl that is more susceptible to weather related damages, being affected by high heat conditions, and long-term efficiency degrading. Whereas a premium vinyl windows will more likely withstand impacts from a hailstorm and maintain long-term efficiency values.
Wood / Wood Clad Windows
Wood windows are beautiful. Because of this, homeowners often perceive wood window replacements as being high quality in comparison to other window types. Following a purchase and installation, wood window operation is smooth and sturdy.
Homeowners also find versatility in the finished look of a Wood window replacement. Manufacturers offer a variety of stained and painted options, or left unfinished to allow for further customization.
Wood is also a great material to construct a window with because it has a very low thermal conductance. Therefore hot and cold does not transfer through the framing material very well. This attribute is a great foundation quality to have for energy efficient windows.
Aside from wood windows being very expensive to purchase and have installed, wood windows also require regular inspection and maintenance. In fact, it is important that homeowners inspect exterior and interior surfaces every 3 to 4 years. Inspection and maintenance ensures that paint and stain are still protecting the wood surfaces. Those who neglect to inspect and maintain wood window surfaces create a high probability for water penetration. Consequently, this can cause the wood to swell, rendering poor operation of the window. Also, if left unprotected, wood can become brittle – in dry climates.
Wood window manufacturers oftentimes offer windows that have an aluminum clad exterior surface. As a result, homeowners with clad exteriors can extend the time between recommended (exterior) inspection. However, it is easy for a hail storm to dent and damage cladding due to the thin material used. But, if the windows are fairly new, the manufacturer may be able to replace the cladding. But, if the manufacturer cannot replace the cladding, a window replacement may be the only way to fix damaged cladding.
Aluminum windows are a strong, sturdy, and low maintenance window option. Unlike wood windows, when paint fades or chips away, it’s not imperative that homeowners reapply paint to avoid water penetration.
A window professional can typically repair an aluminum window after a hail storm – rather than replacing the window. This is because hail storms usually only damage the vinyl glazing bead – not the entire window frame. Window manufacturers use a thin vinyl material around the perimeter of the glass, known as glazing bead. Manufacturers use glazing bead to secure the glass into the window or sash frame. However, this may not be an issue as many aluminum windows do not use glazing bead at all. Regardless, window professionals can often just replace the glazing bead, rather than having to replace the entire window.
The main problem with aluminum windows is that they have high thermal conductance values. This means that heat is able to pass through the framing material very easily. Because of this, aluminum windows a poor choice for colder climates, from an energy efficiency and comfort level standpoint.
Fiberglass & Composite Windows
Fiberglass and composite windows are much stronger than vinyl windows. Their durability give them the ability to last much longer than other window materials. Like wood windows, homeowners perceive fiberglass and composite windows as having high value through their elegant appearance.
However, unlike wood windows, fiberglass and composite windows do not swell, shrink, rot, or become brittle. They are also an excellent choice for achieving energy efficiency due to their low thermal conductance. It is also important to note that, like vinyl windows, these windows can be virtually maintenance free.
Fiberglass and composite windows are not as easy to find as vinyl windows. In fact, many manufacturers do not offer a series of window in fiberglass or a composite material. Fiberglass and composite windows are great from an efficiency, aesthetics, durability, and maintenance standpoint. But, they also come at a higher price point.
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