A Comprehensive Guide for the Pro’s and Con’s of Vinyl Windows

There are several major window materials which you can choose from when you’re looking to replace your home windows, this often makes it quite difficult for the average person to select the right window material to suit their needs.

In the remainder of this article we aim to highlight some of the major benefits and downsides of choosing vinyl replacement windows for your home over other less popular window materials such as aluminium, steel, fibreglass and wood.

The Advantages of Vinyl Replacement Windows

In the US today vinyl replacement windows are the most popular replacement windows you can buy for your home, they represent the largest part of the window market today. There are several reasons why more and more people are choosing vinyl windows over other replacement window materials, the main reasons being:

  • Energy Efficient
  • Easy To Maintain
  • Relatively Cheap
  • Broad Range Of Styles

Vinyl Replacement Windows Are Energy Efficient

It’s well-known that vinyl windows are more energy-efficient that most other types of window material out there on the market at the moment. The reason for this is that vinyl replacement windows generally have high R-values meaning that they are often very resistant to heat flow, making them super efficient. In particular windows with high R-values keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer, allowing you to save on both heating and cooling costs.

Our full replacement window ratings guide gives an in-depth overview of the window ratings system used when looking at the energy efficiency of replacement windows.

Vinyl Replacement Windows Are Maintenance Free

In general vinyl windows will require very little, if any, maintenance once they’ve been installed. Most of the replacement window units now come with vinyl which repels water marks and dirt meaning that your windows stay looking good over time. Other types of window materials require constant maintenance such as scraping, painting and staining, vinyl windows however don’t require any of this.

Vinyl Replacement Windows Are Relatively Cheap To Purchase

Vinyl windows are a type of window which come in a range of styles, shapes and sizes, this means they also come with a range of price options attached, making them affordable for most budgets. Due to the overall simplicity of vinyl replacement windows they are also relatively quick and easy to install, this makes the vinyl window installation cost a lot less than with other types of window.

Read our full guide on replacement windows cost to fully understand the costs associated with replacement windows.

Vinyl Replacement Windows Are Available In A Broad Range Of Styles

Vinyl replacement windows are available to buy in a range of different styles which include both internal and external finishes as well as different styles of muntin bars. Vinyl windows also come in a range of different colors and finishes to match the overall style of your home, so you don’t just have to choose white vinyl windows.

Overall, vinyl windows can be a good choice when it comes to replacing your home windows and they are certainly the most cost-effective and energy-efficient option currently available, especially when replacing a lot of windows.

So, the next thing for you to do is to get a free quote to estimate the cost of your replacement windows. Our window replacement cost calculator provides you with a quick an easy way of getting free quotes from a range of approved window contractors.

Now for the Downsides, or Disadvantages of Vinyl Replacement Windows

As detailed above, overall vinyl replacement windows are seen as the number 1 inexpensive solution to your replacement window problems, offering a wide range of shapes, sizes, colors and styles to fit with the look of your home. They are currently the number 1 replacement solution for wood replacement windows. However, we every positive comes a negative, and there are a few negatives you need to consider:

  • Vinyl windows will shrink and expand
  • The lifespan of vinyl windows is not fully understood
  • Vinyl glass spacer’s eventually fail
  • Vinyl is not environmentally friendly
  • Why replace when you can repair

The above 5 points are incredibly relevant downsides to buying vinyl windows to replace the current ones in your home. Below, we examine each one a little more closely.

Vinyl Windows Will Shrink And Expand

Wood replacement windows are rigid and for that reason the material generally won’t shrink or expand that much when it heats up or cools down, vinyl however is not a rigid material. In actual fact wood windows are known to increase & decrease in size over half the amount of vinyl windows.

For very reason stated above vinyl will soften and become ever so slightly distorted at a temperature around 160 degrees and whilst that may sound a lot, it’s a temperature which is highly reachable in-between the glass panes in hot spells. Conversely, vinyl will shrink in extreme cold, something which can be easily seen in heavy winter periods. The expansion and contraction seen in vinyl windows makes it twice as likely that the seal between the glass and the framework will fail. If your windows aren’t in warranty, someone will need to pay again for them to be replaced.

The Lifespan Of Vinyl Is Not Fully Understood

The lifespan of vinyl replacement windows cannot be fully understood, why? The main reason is because of the length of time that vinyl windows have been used in homes around the U.S. And around the world. Vinyl replacement windows have been used for some 25 years around the globe, is this really enough time to establish how well vinyl stands up to the test of time against other alternatives such as wood or stone replacement windows?

Whilst you may say that many of the vinyl windows sold will come with a claimed lifetime warranty, you need to ask if this is transferable to new owners, because in most circumstances it won’t be. Will you be in the same home 20 years from now?

Glass Spacers On Vinyl Windows Will Fail

When you are looking to buy replacement windows one of the biggest advantages you will be told about is the fact that the vinyl windows can be double or even triple glazed, offering you massive benefits in home insulation.

The problem with this is that the glass panes are sealed with a sealant often made from silicone or rubber. Eventually though, moisture will find it’s way through the sealant and in-between the glass panes, since no sealant is able to permanently prevent moisture from passing through it. So what’s the problem with that? The problem is that the windows will become cloudy, this is unrepairable.

Why Replace When You Can Repair?

This is the final and probably “least important” to most people, however it’s a well-known fact that vinyl is a petroleum product compared to wood which is easily destroyed and renewed. In addition to that the cost of repairing wood windows can often be cheaper than replacing entire window units and also far more effective and efficient, you just have to get the right  window contractor for the job.

Overall, there are always going to be positives and negatives to replacing vinyl windows, it’s important to consider each carefully before spending your hard-earned money on replacement windows.

Did we miss anything? Feel free to comment below to add to our list.

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