Arkansas home owners used to see vinyl-framed windows as cheap and unflattering. Advancements, however, have not only made vinyl frames more aesthetic, but more energy efficient than wood or aluminum. Plenty of inexpensive and physically inferior window frames are on the market, so you should pay attention to a variety of factors. Wilson’s Home Improvement wants Arkansans to be sure they get the best possible replacement window for their money.
Good Vinyl Characteristics
Vinyl window frames are made from polyvinyl chloride, commonly known as PVC, the same plastic used in plumbing and electrical pipes. Several chemicals, fillers, plasticizers and pigments comprise PVC, all of which are available in different grades of quality. Better vinyl costs more. One indicator of quality is color. If the vinyl has a bluish tint to it, chances are it does not have sufficient quantities of titanium dioxide and organic tin. Take care, though, as some manufacturers add a bluish tint to their product, which some people think is more aesthetically pleasing.
When shopping for vinyl frame windows, look at a cross section of the frame. The frame has multiple chambers of different sizes. More chambers means higher quality. Good-quality frames and sashes have more chambers to avoid deformation due to vinyl melting from the sun’s heat. Screws, brackets and caulk, or welding are the two methods used to assemble frames. Caulked seams can break during shipment. Welding, on the other hand, chemically reacts with the PVC to form a smooth vinyl seal. Look for additional features such as reinforced meeting rails and balanced systems that indicate higher-quality windows.
Your home’s architecture dictates what type of vinyl window is right for you. The age and overall aesthetics of your home are important considerations, as radically changing the color or the style -- such as double-hung, casement, bow and other window types -- affect how the exterior looks. Choosing the wrong style may make your home look worse instead of improving it, and ultimately be a deal killer when trying to sell your home. Wilson’s Home Improvement offers a variety of finishes, some very closely mimicking wood.
Frame construction and looks are not the only important factors in selecting vinyl replacement windows. You should consider the quality of glass and its insulating properties, commonly known as R-value. Based on standards set by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), R-values range from 0.9 to 3.0. The larger the number, the greater the energy efficiency as the glass will have more resistance to transferring heat in or out of the building. Glass works in conjunction with seals and tight frames to produce an energy efficient window. Do not confuse R-value with U-Value. R-Value is about the frame and U-Value is about the glass. Both work together to give you a more energy efficient vinyl window.
When you are ready to explore all the options for vinyl replacement windows in your home, call Wilson's Home Improvement and set up an appointment to meet with on of our Estimators.