Vinyl is the most popular material for window frames. From the outside, many of these look the same, but not all make the cut in regard to quality. Cheaper plastic vinyl often lacks durability and efficiency. However, there’s an abundance of high-quality vinyl products. The points below explain what to look for in vinyl replacement windows that meet high-quality standards.
Quality of Materials
Polyvinyl chloride (or PVC) by itself is a decent material. But it isn’t super strong. Therefore, it’s important to research the ingredients added by the manufacturer. Additives like organic tin and titanium dioxide strengthen the frame and can prevent it from yellowing with exposure to UV light. Some additives can make the vinyl more insulating as well.
A visual look will show you how well the window is constructed. If the frames are held together by screws and brackets, air can leak. On the other hand, welding both improves strength and makes the frame weathertight. It prevents heat loss and drafts.
Look for evidence the frame has been heat-welded at the corners. A warning sign is if caulk has been applied to mask the crease at the window sill. Corners should be fusion welded and the top sash should slide into the mainframe while the bottom sash should tuck into the sill (both are concealed under the weld).
The contractor should have a cross-section of a sample window on display. It provides a look at the thickness of the material used. Generally, the thicker it is, the stronger the frame (and better insulating it is). The frame can also hold more weight, meaning larger windows are more durable.
Vinyl Frames with Multiple Chambers
When viewing a cross-section of a vinyl replacement window, there should be several chambers of different sizes. Varying sizes add support and strength while improving energy efficiency. The more chambers in the vinyl window frame, the higher the quality of the product.
High Energy Efficiency Ratings
High-quality vinyl replacement windows are more energy efficient, meaning they retain heat or keep out the cold. This means your home is not only more comfortable but more energy efficient. Lower U-factor, Air Leakage, and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient numbers mean the unit is more efficient; a window’s DP rating indicates how structurally sound it is (the higher the better).
Also, look for vinyl windows with low-emissivity (Low-E) glass panes filled with argon gas. These are efficient in winter and summer. Energy Star and National Fenestration Rating Council labels are important to look for as well.
The Window Matches Your Home
Window manufacturers that take quality seriously also prioritize customer service. The color options for vinyl are usually somewhat limited, but the manufacturer should offer enough variety that the window complements the exterior and interior style of your home. A wide range of window styles should be available, as almost every type of window comes in vinyl.
Contact Window World of SoCal
We offer high-quality, energy-efficient vinyl replacement windows that can increase the value of your home. Our products include sliding, casement, awning, double-hung, bay and bow, and garden windows with high-quality vinyl frames. Start with a free in-home estimate, while we offer a lifetime limited warranty on residential installations and flexible financing options. To learn more, contact us online or call 805-323-9174.