Thanks to several improvements in manufacturing vinyl replacement windows, these windows are one of the most popular choices among homeowners. For example, today’s vinyl windows offer more energy efficient than aluminum or wood windows. Another advantage is that there’s less maintenance as they don’t peel, swell, shrink or corrode, making them an excellent choice for people living close to water or heavy industrial areas.
What’s more, they’re cosmetically appealing. If you’re in the market for vinyl windows, you’ll want buy the best windows for your money. Here are some of your options, as well as some basic buying considerations.
Vinyl Window Frame ConstructionOne of the main factors in selecting vinyl windows is how a frame is constructed. When deciding on a particular frame, examine a frame’s cross section. Window frames have several chambers of various sizes. The more chambers there are in a frame, the better is the frame quality. This is because several chambers can protect a frame from warping caused by harsh sunrays that can melt vinyl.
Check how a window frame is assembled. While some frames are assembled by using brackets, screws and caulk, others are welded. The best assembly technique is welding because it produces a vinyl seal that’s smooth, due to its chemical reaction with PVC. On the other hand, caulked seams are more likely to break when being shipped.
Types of FramesThere are three primary frame styles:
- Flus fin frame—This style is used for replacing old windows.
- Block frame—This type of frame construction is suitable for replacement windows, as well as new construction purposes.
- Nail-on fin frame—This is mostly suited for new construction.
When selecting a vinyl window, consider the general appearance of your house. Unlike installing replacements windows that are just like your old windows, installing new vinyl windows can significantly change how your home looks. You’ll want to consider the style of your home. If you select the wrong style, you can detract from your home, instead of adding to it. Some of the main styles in vinyl windows include double-hung, casement and bow windows.
- Double hung vinyl windows involve two windows that slide both up and down. This style goes well with colonial homes. These windows are especially a good option for people living in multi-story homes as they’re easier to clean.
- Casement windows have cracks, swinging outward as a door. This style goes well with most traditional homes, although it’s especially seen in homes with a European Medieval style. For a vintage appearance, consider mutins, which are used for dividing each casement window into six glass panes.
- Bow windows, also known as a compass window, entails a curved bay window. These windows are used to space for sitting as they extend a home’s exterior wall. Therefore, they're a good style for smaller homes that need more square footage.
Just as important as aesthetics and frame construction, is a window’s insulation properties or U-Factor. Also called the R-value, the U-Factor measures how well a window is able to resist changes in warm and cold temperatures. Consider that R-values have a range from 0.9 to 3.0. The greater the R-value, the more energy efficient it is.
Additional Considerations and Warnings
- Reinforced meeting rails, besides balanced systems, indicate high quality, so check for these added features.
- As vinyl can be custom-made for matching the color of your house, ask a manufacture about what can be done. Many vinyl finishes can look like real wood.
- Laminated glass windows are ideal if you live in a noisy area because they reduce noise. They’re also excellent for security purposes and work well in regions that have extreme temperatures, although they cost more.
- Be sure a window frame fits properly as this can reduce the energy efficiency of the window. Custom window frames can assure you of the best fit and an energy efficient window.
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