June 18, 2024


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What are the Pros and Cons of Vinyl Windows?


Two months of the year have come and gone in a flash, and if you are anything like us, you are probably wondering where the time went.  If you have several home improvement tasks on your 2022 to-do list and are yet to tick them off, do not worry. There is still time! Perhaps this year you are looking into replacing the windows in your home. Window replacements are one of the best home improvement projects you can undertake. Whether you want to lower your heating and cooling costs or upgrade your home’s appearance, there are many benefits to replacing your windows. However, with so many choices available, replacing your windows can be an overwhelming and confusing task. This is especially true when trying to figure out the window replacement material that will suit you best. In this article, we will be answering all your burning replacement window FAQs, with a focus on the pros and cons of vinyl windows. 

All About Vinyl

Vinyl windows are made using polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is the same material used in many plumbing products and other household items.  Generally, vinyl window frames are the most popular choices. Apart from their high energy efficiency and modest price point, vinyl windows come in a variety of colors, grids, and hardware options that give homeowners the benefit of being able to customize the look of their home. Vinyl windows are also virtually maintenance free and easy to clean and never require painting or re-coating.

Vinyl windows are available in different grades, with the most popular being Recycled Vinyl or Pure Virgin Vinyl. Basically,  recycled vinyl is made from a variety of recycled vinyl products. Although this can reduce the cost of the window, it can also affect its durability and longevity.  On the other hand, pure virgin vinyl (meaning zero recycled materials are used in the vinyl) is a stronger material and is more durable than the alternative.

The Pros of Vinyl Replacement Windows

  1. Energy Efficient Windows

Vinyl windows are typically very energy efficient. A quality vinyl replacement window will save you money on energy bills due to the fact the insulation in the frame of the window itself is energy efficient. However, it is important to note that not all vinyl windows are built the same. When shopping for vinyl replacement windows, always look for windows manufactured with Low-E glass and an Energy Star logo. Purchasing a vinyl window with both these features will help to reflect heat from the outside in summer, and keep heat inside in winter. The result? A much more energy-efficient house and lower utility bills. 

  1. Cost Effective Windows

Vinyl windows are incredibly cost-effective, no matter your budget. Costing less than both wood and fiberglass windows, vinyl windows are just as energy efficient as the alternatives and are virtually maintenance free. That is not to say there are no variations in vinyl window pricing – you could pay $200 for alow quality replacement vinyl window with a short lifespan or $700 (not including installation) for top shelf quality that will last a long time.  Always research your options and just remember that if it is too cheap and too good to be true, then it probably is. If you are stuck, ask for advice from a trusted home improvement contractor. They will certainly point you in the right direction.

  1. Simple and Budget-Friendly Installation

When it comes to installing replacement windows, it does not get much easier than vinyl windows. Of course, you also need to ensure you find a quality home improvement contractor who knows what they are doing. However, vinyl windows paired with a professional contractor mean faster installation, less mess, and a real difference in the overall price of new windows. 

  1. Virtually Maintenance Free

If you are after maintenance free windows, it does not get any better than vinyl windows. Once they are installed, you do not need to maintain the windows (other than giving them a clean every so often). Vinyl windows do not rot, peel or chip – no matter what climate you live in. They are a truly long-lasting, low maintenance replacement window option. 

  1. Variety of Choices

If you want plenty of choices when it comes to the style and color of your new windows, you cannot beat vinyl. Vinyl windows can be made to be sliders, double-hung, single-hung, casement, picture and so on (head here for more info on window styles). Vinyl windows can also be created into custom shapes and sizes, with a variety of color options available to finish off the job.   

Cons of Vinyl Replacement Windows

  1. Not The Most Eco-Friendly

Due to the fact vinyl windows are made from PVC and sometimes non-recyclable materials, it means the manufacturing process and windows themselves are all chemicals. Because vinyl is cheap to manufacture and can be manufactured for a low cost, it means it does have a significant environmental footprint. While some manufacturers have tried to curb this impact by creating recycled vinyl windows, the quality and durability are compromised. 

  1. Varied Quality

Vinyl windows are one of the most popular replacement windows on the market, and with increased demand comes increased manufacturers and therefore varying levels of quality. When shopping for vinyl windows, make sure you do your research, read reviews, and get the opinion of a trusted home improvement advisor. Also, look for vinyl windows with an excellent warranty (20+ years). 

  1. Cannot Change Color

If you are prone to changing your mind, you might not enjoy the fact vinyl windows cannot be painted over once you have chosen a color. The color you select for your vinyl windows is what you are stuck with once they are installed. If you change your mind on color, you will need to fully replace your vinyl windows. With replacement window materials like wood for example, you have the option to paint or stain them if you want to change up the color scheme of your home. 

Overall, vinyl windows are an excellent window replacement option. They offer great value for money, are energy efficient and durable. If you do your research and find the right contractor, you cannot go wrong with vinyl windows. 

Replacement Windows Buyer's Guide


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