Vinyl windows are one of the most popular types of windows on homes around the country and right here in Fort Wayne, IN.
Vinyl was first introduced after World War II when there was a shortage of wood and aluminum. Vinyl worked well because it was both low-cost and energy efficient. Today’s vinyl is better, more durable, and resistant to moisture, humidity, and decay. For these reasons, vinyl continues to be a major player in the construction industry.
What Are Vinyl Windows and What Are They Made Of?
Vinyl is manufactured from ethylene and chlorine. These materials are processed together and form Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) also known as vinyl. PVC is one of the most commonly used polymers in the world. It is a highly developed plastic used in virtually every industry you can think of including construction, transportation, medical devices and more. PVC, or vinyl is so popular because it’s resistant to natural wear like the sun’s heat, moisture, rot, and decay. These characteristics are very useful when it comes to building windows.
Why Choose Vinyl Windows
You can often find vinyl all around your home. It’s likely in your gutters, drainpipes, fascia, siding, etc. This is because it’s a highly reliable and durable material – which is why vinyl makes great windows.
- They Hold Up Well in Extreme Temperatures: Vinyl is a great material for both hot and cold climates, making them an ideal choice across the country. Plastic doesn’t naturally transfer heat, which means your windows will not warp, discolor, fade, or crack
- Vinyl Windows Look Great: Vinyl windows are easy to use for almost any style of home. They come in a wide range of styles and colors, but also provide a classic look that gives seamless curb appeal.
- They’re Affordable: Over time, as vinyl manufacturing increased, it became one of the most affordable materials to use in new constructions. Because they are easy to install, your labor costs are significantly lower as well.
- Low Maintenance: If you’re not interested in sanding, painting, or repairing your windows on a regular basis, vinyl is a great choice. They only require a good cleaning once or twice a year.
- Energy Efficiency: Vinyl windows provide exceptional insulation for your home. This can make a big difference on your monthly energy bill. Vinyl windows do a great job of keeping the heat in during the winter and keeping the hot air out during the summer, so you don’t have to rely on your HVAC system so much.
- Fast Installation: Contractors have been installing vinyl windows for almost 100 years. By now, the process is quick and easy, which means your installation is fast and affordable.
- Longer Lifespan: On average, vinyl windows will last a homeowner in Fort Wayne for at least 30 years.
- Moisture and Insect Resistant: Well-made vinyl windows are impervious to moisture, even in the heaviest of storms. This means they do an excellent job of keeping woodworms, termites, and other insects out of your home.
Comparing Vinyl to Other Window Types
There are four major players in the window market: vinyl, aluminum, wood, and composite. So how does vinyl stack up to the competition?
Vinyl vs. Aluminum Windows
Both vinyl and aluminum windows are strong and durable but the similarities end there. Aluminum windows aren’t even in the same league as vinyl. Aluminum windows are notorious for bringing in unwanted heat (or cold) from the outside. To prevent this, they must be specially treated, which adds to their cost. Aluminum windows also create condensation between the window and the wall, which can cause rot, mildew, and mold over time. Lastly, because aluminum windows have moving parts which are metal against metal, they must be lubricated regularly and carefully maintained to avoid chipping paint.
Vinyl vs. Wood Windows
Wooden windows may last you a lifetime, but vinyl is significantly more convenient. Wooden windows can be difficult to keep clean, and may warp in humid climates. While vinyl windows are virtually maintenance free, wooden windows do require repainting every few years and can be attractive to pests if they are not treated regularly.
Vinyl vs. Fiberglass Windows
Of all window materials on the market, fiberglass provides the stiffest competition for vinyl. Fiberglass can be painted, it rarely warps, is more eco-friendly and is incredibly durable. However, fiberglass tends to be much more expensive than vinyl. While it does tote some benefits, those rarely seem to outweigh the increase in cost.
Vinyl vs Composite Windows
Composite and vinyl windows have a lot in common. Both options are virtually maintenance free, and won’t chip, or rot like wood frames do. They both operate and function smoothly and are durable in both hot and cold climates. Composite windows win narrowly in the energy efficient category. However, vinyl does offer additional options to increase efficiency while still keeping costs lower than composite windows.
Vinyl windows come in a range of different finish options, including a smooth PVC finish, or a textured wood grain. They are resistant to facing, cracking, and corrosion and require very little maintenance, giving you reliable windows to last a lifetime.
Signs That You Need To Replace Your Vinyl Windows
New windows can go a long way toward improving your home. They can reduce energy costs, increase safety, and provide a positive return on investment. Vinyl windows typically last 30 years or more, but there are a few signs you may notice when it’s time for a replacement.
- Outdoor Air Creeps In: If you feel cold drafts in the winter, or notice your AC is constantly running in the summer, you may be suffering from creeping air. This can lead to cold rooms, hot spots, and increased energy bills. Today’s vinyl windows create a seal that the elements can’t penetrate, no matter the weather.
- Mold or Mildew in Your Home: If you’re worried about mold or mildew in your home, your windows might be to blame. Moisture can seep in through leaking windows and lead to mold or mildew on walls, the floor, and ceiling. Before mold takes hold, replace your windows and seal your home.
- Windows Stick When You Try to Open Them: Wooden windows are notorious for getting stuck in their tracks. This is particularly true if your wooden windows have been painted for years. Your windows should be easy to open, and you shouldn’t have to exert yourself just to enjoy some fresh air.
- You Have to Prop Your Windows Open: If you have to jimmy-rig a broom handle and a pillow to keep your windows from slamming shut, it might be time for an upgrade. Slamming windows open is both irritating and can cause damage to children, pets, and the window itself.
- Window Locks are Broken: The locks on older windows can break over time, leading to easier break-ins. Older homes are more susceptible to burglaries than newer homes with locked windows. Check your locks regularly, and if they aren’t working properly it’s time for a window upgrade.
- Outside Noise Are Audible: Modern windows are designed to sound-proof your home. Because they are made of thick, reinforced glass, they keep outside noise out, and inside noise in. If you can hear the traffic, dogs, or children outside, enjoy the peace and quiet that comes with a window upgrade.
- You Need a Ladder to Clean Windows: Stop scaling your home to clean the windows. Today’s vinyl windows can be tilted inward for easy cleaning to remove the inherent dangers that come from cleaning high windows.
- Cracked Frames: If the wood around your windows is cracked, chipped, or rotting, the entire home suffers. Don’t put off a window replacement any further. New vinyl windows are resistant to cracking, chipping, rotting, or warping and will last you a lifetime.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Vinyl Window Maintenance
The good news is vinyl windows don’t require a lot of maintenance. With very little TLC, they will serve you and your home for decades. The even better news is that the maintenance they do need is very, very simple.
- Use an everyday glass cleaner to clean the windows regularly.
- Clean the interior vinyl frame with warm soapy water.
- A few times a year, clean the outside of your vinyl window frames with soapy water.
- Easily remove dirt and dust from the window tracks using a soft dry cloth.
- If necessary, you can clean window screens with a vacuum or a brush whenever they look dirty.
- Lubricate your window hardware periodically with a silicone-based lubricant.
- To avoid scratching the vinyl surface, don’t use steel wool or abrasive pastes to clean your windows.
- Don’t use acid-based cleaners or petroleum-based lubricants.
How Much Do Vinyl Windows Cost to Install?
Because vinyl windows have been popular for so many years, the cost today is significantly less expensive than other options. A double paned vinyl replacement window could range anywhere from $375 to $685 based on the brand, type of window installed, and average cost of labor in your area.
Step-By-Step Vinyl Window Installation
We don’t recommend installing windows yourself unless you are an experienced contractor. A DIY installation of your windows can lead to small mistakes that can cause significant problems down the road. Replacement or installation of vinyl windows can be an easy process, if handled by a professional.
- Step 1: Inspect the window to ensure there are no defects or imperfections.
- Step 2: Double-check the window opening is perfectly square and the measurements are accurate.
- Step 3: Next, fold in the Tyvek to protect the inside edges of the roughed window frame and place the window in the rough opening.
- Step 4: Temporarily fasten the window in place with a nail through a nailing fin hole and then continue to finish nailing the exterior nailing fin.
- Step 5: To further weatherproof the window, add self-adhesive flashing and fill in any air gaps with foam sealer.
How to Repair a Crack in a Vinyl Window Frame
If you find a crack in your vinyl window frame, you have two options. First, you can contact your contractor, especially if your windows are under warranty. Otherwise, this may be a simple fix you can do yourself.
- Step 1: Clean the area around the crack with a small piece of metal like a file, skewer, or pocket knife to remove all dirt and debris.
- Step 2: Put on clean gloves to protect your hands and carefully apply vinyl adhesive in and over the crack. Smooth the adhesive and let it dry for 24 hours.
- Step 3: Once the adhesive has dried completely, sand the surface smooth and buff out any visual signs of the crack.
- Step 4: When the crack has been completely repaired, simply polish and clean.
How to Repair a Hole in a Vinyl Window Frame
Finding a hole in your vinyl window frame is rare, but possible. The process for repairing a hole is similar to repairing a crack – but uses patches instead of just adhesive.
- Step 1: Sand down any sharp edges and outline the hole or crack with a pencil and carefully cut the section away with a razor blade. It’s important to be careful that you don’t cut deeper into the frame than the vinyl.
- Step 2: Measure the area to be repaired and cut two patches. The first one should fit the space exactly, the second should be slightly larger.
- Step 3: Insert the larger patch inside the hole first and use vinyl adhesive to secure it in place.
- Step 4: Next, hold the exact match patch over the hole, press down firmly and seal the edges with more adhesive.
- Step 6: Let it dry for 24 hours and sand smooth.
- Step 7: When the hole has been completely repaired, simply polish and clean.
FAQs About Vinyl Windows