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Last updated: October 11, 2023

Vinyl Windows for Homes US Guide 2024

What are the Advantages and Types of Vinyl Windows?

Vinyl windows for homes

Vinyl windows are made from a synthetic plastic material called polyvinyl chloride (PVC). This material can be easily molded and customized with different designs and colors. The plastic frames of the window are hollow or are sometimes mixed with insulating materials. Vinyl replacement windows are growing quite popular in the United States as opposed to wooden window replacement.

Vinyl windows were first manufactured in Germany in the 1950s, after the Second World War. These windows were gradually adopted in the US, although grudgingly at first. With years of inventive designing, vinyl windows are now quite a popular choice among homeowners and are more commonly found in homes across the country. These windows are mostly preferred for their properties of being weatherproof and not susceptible to warping, rotting, corrosion, and pests.

The quality of vinyl windows differs among manufacturers, making it important to choose a manufacturer with care. Certified window installers can help you determine which manufacturer would suit your needs and budget. Finding a reliable, trustworthy certified installer is, however, another challenge altogether.

GreenMatch can help you simplify the lengthy process with a simple click. You click on the button below and fill out the required details, and we will match you up with up to 3 reliable certified window installers along with their quotes to compare. Our service is free with no obligation.

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What are Vinyl Windows?

Vinyl windows are made from synthetic plastic or PVC. These windows were first used in Germany after World War II when they needed to spend less and rebuild quickly. Germans, in the year 1954, were the first to manufacture vinyl windows in order to build cheaper windows.

PVC polymer was first discovered by Dr. Waldo Semon, who worked for BF Goodrich. The company, recognizing the benefits of the bulky and small vinyl windows used in homes across Germany, started mass producing them in the late 1950s. These plastic windows, however, didn’t see much light of the day in their initial days as plastic was not considered a high-end material for use in building homes.

Over the years, innovative technology helped manufacturers modify the design of these vinyl windows to make them look sleeker and more appealing. They started infusing insulating material along with the plastic, to make the

vinyl windows more energy efficient. Gradually, vinyl windows were designed to look like their aluminum and wooden counterparts, giving homeowners the illusion of having aluminum or wooden windows, but at a much cheaper rate.

Today, vinyl windows are widely used in homes across the US. However, the design and manufacturing of these windows differ from manufacturer to manufacturer. It is, hence, advisable to check and ensure that the manufacturer you’re choosing produces windows that would be a good fit for your home.

Vinyl vs. Wood Windows

Wood windows undoubtedly come out as winners when it comes to the conventional aesthetic appeal of your home. Wood windows give your home the traditional appeal and an impression of strength and sturdiness. These windows also play a role in amping up your home’s value.

Vinyl windows on the other hand fail to give your home that traditional appeal that you may be yearning for. However, with the recent developments and innovative technology at the manufacturers’ disposal, vinyl windows can made to look equally appealing. Today vinyl windows can be given the appearance of aluminum or wood windows.

Wood and vinyl are both, more or less, equally energy efficient. Although vinyl windows were mostly hollow initially, today manufacturers infuse insulating materials in between that makes them energy efficient. Wood and vinyl both do not conduct heat, which makes them ideal for maintaining internal temperatures. However, wood is more susceptible to rot and pest infection over time compared to vinyl.

Wood windows require regular maintenance like repainting and repairing them while vinyl windows are technically maintenance free. With vinyl windows, all you are required to do is a simple wipe down. Wood windows may last up to 20 years with regular repaints and repairs, while vinyl windows may last for as long as 30 to 40 years.

Wood windows if not repaired may crack or split, reducing their energy efficiency. Vinyl windows, being plastic in the end, expand and contract easily with the temperature changes, again resulting in air gaps and reduced energy efficiency. Vinyl windows cannot be repaired and will have to be replaced but may still be cheaper compared to wood window replacement.

Moreover, with modern designs giving vinyl windows a wood counterpart look may make the windows susceptible to dust collection over time. This is one of the reasons why a majority of the vinyl windows have a smooth finish, retaining their plastic look at the risk of looking slightly less appealing than their wood counterparts. However, you have more customizations in terms of colors and designs available with vinyl windows.

All in all, they each have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. The best choice for you depends on your priorities and requirements. If you’re on a tight budget, then vinyl windows may prove to be the best fit for you. However, if aesthetic appeal is your priority, wood windows are the windows for you.

Vinyl vs. Aluminum Windows

Aluminum and vinyl are both low maintenance windows, durable, and cheaper compared to wood windows. Vinyl is technically maintenance free, with a simple wipe-down sufficient to clean the windows. Aluminum windows are low maintenance but require timely upkeep in order to cover faded paint or topcoat, scratches, or dents.

Aluminum windows are lighter and thinner, with more glass in the window. They can be painted or given a wood like appearance, but it appears more artificial than natural. Vinyl windows, on the other hand, appear more like traditional windows. They also offer more customization options as far as design and colors are concerned. However, both windows manage to give your home a sleek and modern appearance.

Aluminum windows are stronger than vinyl windows but can be easily dented, which is visible. Any damage is difficult to spot on vinyl windows, making them more durable. Aluminum, being a metal also is a conductor of heat, making it difficult to maintain internal temperatures. Moreover, being a metal, it is also susceptible to corrosion and rust.

The aluminum windows, hence, are not an ideal choice if you’re living in a coastal area. Retention of heat can also cause condensation, which means more moisture and that can lead to corrosion and rust. You will require regular maintenance of the moving parts of your window, such as cleaning and oiling, in order to prevent them from the effects of corrosion and rust.

Vinyl windows, on the other hand, are highly energy efficient given that they do not conduct heat and can hence, maintain internal temperatures easily. These windows are also not susceptible to rotting, warping, corrosion, or rust. However, vinyl is affected by extreme temperatures and expands and contracts easily. Hence, if you’re living in an area with extreme temperatures, aluminum windows might be a better choice for you.

All in all, both windows have their own pros and cons. Which window is right for you depends on a lot of factors such as your budget, the area you’re living in, and more. A certified window installer can help you determine which window will be the best fit for your home.

GreenMatch can help you find a trustworthy, reliable certified window installer. Click on the button below and fill out the form. We will match you with up to 3 installers and get their quotes to compare. Our service is free with no obligation.

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Pros and Cons of Vinyl Windows

We have compared vinyl windows with wood and aluminum and noticed that each window has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Vinyl windows are the cheapest and most durable option you have when considering window replacement or installing new ones. Let us explore the pros and cons of vinyl windows to help you make an informed decision.

Advantages of Vinyl Windows

Vinyl windows are highly energy efficient and provide excellent insulation, which helps reduce your energy costs and save on your energy bills.

Vinyl windows are resistant to rot, corrosion, and pests, making them highly durable. These windows typically last longer than wood or aluminum windows.

Vinyl windows are technically maintenance free. You do not need to paint them from time to time in order to prevent them from rotting or warping. Moreover, if you do paint them you may end up losing the warranty on your windows offered by your manufacturer. They simply require a wipe down with a wet cloth and soap.

You have a wide variety of customization options available if installing vinyl windows, which may not be possible with aluminum or wood windows. If you want your windows to look like their wood counterparts, you can have them customized to look like a wood window, and at a cheaper rate.

Affordability is the biggest advantage of vinyl windows besides the ones we have discussed. They are comparatively cheaper than the aluminum and wood windows.

Disadvantages of Vinyl Windows

One of the major disadvantages of vinyl windows is that their growing popularity has given way to differences in quality. Vinyl is hard to shape, as a result of which the quality may differ among manufacturers. It is advisable to check what type of vinyl is used to make the windows you’re choosing.

The difficulty in shaping vinyl also leads to higher customization costs. If you go for the standard vinyl windows, they may prove cost-effective. But if you want a custom designed vinyl window, it may cost you more.

Vinyl windows cannot be customized by painting them as it may result in cracking the paint over time. It may also cause you to lose the warranty offered by manufacturers.

Types of Vinyl Windows

There are three types of vinyl used to compose vinyl window frames. The difference lies in the way vinyl is composed. Below we have discussed these three types in detail to give you a better understanding of what they are. it will also help you make an informed decision regarding what type of vinyl to choose when going for replacement vinyl windows are new ones.

Standard Vinyl

Standard vinyl is simply vinyl, without any additional materials added to the composition. It is the least expensive of the different types of vinyl but also more susceptible to fading and warping. Standard vinyl windows are usually recommended and ideal for short-term replacements.

Composite Vinyl

Composite vinyl windows are ones that have a blend of two materials. It is usually fiberglass and wood or vinyl and wood. These windows are more durable with a stronger frame compared to the standard vinyl windows. However, these windows may cost slightly higher than the windows with standard vinyl.

Engineered Vinyl

Engineered vinyl is composed differently, the difference lying in the way vinyl is processed compared to standard vinyl. Engineered vinyl is unique and differs with each manufacturer. Engineered vinyl is processed differently to accentuate certain features of the window. Engineered vinyl windows may have added insulation, increased strength, or fade-free frames.

Cost of Vinyl Windows

The average cost of vinyl windows ranges between $200 and $500 per window and is cost-effective compared to wood and aluminum windows. The price of vinyl windows may differ based on the style you choose. Single-hung windows cost the least, starting at an average of $300 while a bow window may cost an average of $5,000 per window.

Although vinyl windows are cost-effective, the size of the window to be installed also plays a role in determining the cost of your windows. The average cost for different sizes of vinyl windows may range between $200 to $1,500 per window. The cost may also differ among brands and manufacturers.

Certified window installers can help you determine the right size, brand, and style of window for your home based on your requirements. Finding a trustworthy, reliable window installer is a task in itself, especially one that adheres to your needs and is responsive to any and all your doubts or questions.

GreenMatch can help you find a trustworthy, reliable window installer with just a click. Fill out the form with the required details and get quotes from up to 3 installers. Our service is free with no obligation.

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