Replacing your home’s windows is an easy decision. Having new windows in your home brings a considerable number of advantages, such as less draft, less noise, and a greater visual appeal for your home. New windows are also easier to clean than older models and can even reduce your carbon footprint.
The material that will replace your window frame, however, takes more time to decide. You will have to keep multiple factors in mind when choosing the right materials, such as appearance, how much it will cost to install and maintain, and how it will affect the rest of your home. Vinyl is an increasingly popular window replacement choice, as opposed to wood or aluminum, and it is easy to see why. Below are some of the factors to consider when choosing you home’s replacement windows, as well as the reasons vinyl is the best choice.
One of most important factors to look for when looking into replacing your windows is how well they will insulate your home. Heat and energy costs are a growing concern among homeowners who want to save up on bills and want to avoid warm air from escaping their homes. Vinyl is the ideal choice for energy efficiency for two important reasons:
• Vinyl material minimizes heat transfer, which keeps heat or cold within the building and improves energy efficiency.
• Vinyl is a versatile material that allows for an easier process of designing and building energy efficient windows. The designers can integrate air barriers and interlocks a lot faster than with other materials. In addition, foam insulation is easier to install on vinyl frames due to multi-chambered extrusions.
Other materials such as aluminum do not have the same advantage as vinyl. As a metal, aluminum conducts both heat and cold easily, reducing its effectiveness in energy efficiency. Also, metal materials in general allow for less flexibility when it comes to designing energy efficient mechanisms.
Vinyl material is also the most durable compared to other materials. Vinyl’s elasticity allows the frame to withstand the elements, as well as adapt to most environmental changes. Because vinyl frames contain the same material all throughout, they are less likely to show off internal damage from dents, chips, and scratches.
Wood frames, on the other hand, are not so fortunate. Even the best treated wood will eventually deteriorate over time and need replacement. In addition, due to wood’s vulnerability to moisture, it always runs the risk of deterioration. When the wood’s finish eventually breaks down and moisture appears, it can affect the wood in the following ways:
• Poor fit
Aluminum also faces its own durability issues. An aluminum window’s fasteners, usually, made of steel or zinc, eventually will corrode, especially in coastal environments. The enamel used in aluminum also fades over time due to sunlight.
A strong wind can punish a weak window, either allowing air to sneak in, creating obnoxious noises, or outright destroying it. Vinyl-framed windows are resistant against wind due to their versatility and how it allows the components to stick together. Vinyl sash and frame corners become air tight after the parts are welded together. However, poor vinyl window installation might allow air to leak in, and homeowners will need to perform some caulking. Hiring a professional window installer can prevent this from happening.
Wood and aluminum, on the other hand, are inherently less airtight. These window frames have mechanically joined parts, so there is always the possibility of air and wind sneaking in. Even if the owner caulks the windows, the process will deteriorate, and air will continue to sneak in.
Maintaining windows every few years is a task that is both costly and tedious. Vinyl material is strong and adaptable, so it requires very little to no maintenance. Vinyl lacks the deteriorating weaknesses that other materials have and the only reason it will need fixing is because of poor installation. Plus, vinyl material has a permanent color that is even throughout the frame, so once you choose it; it will stay consistent and will never wane, even after a few years. In fact, painting can often void the warranty, that’s how confident manufacturers are in vinyl’s color.
Despite the inherent strength of metal, aluminum windows also have some weaknesses that prevent the lack of maintenance that vinyl windows have. Some of the constant maintenance tasks for aluminum windows include:
• Using a special aluminum cleaner to clean, rinse, and dry semi-regularly to prevent the damage that condensation brings, such as mold and rust
• Lubricating the mobile parts of the window to prevent the mechanisms from undergoing wear and tear
• Repainting the windows, whether to change colors or hide chips and scratches, with enamel paint, which may not match the window’s original finish
While considering the replacement window’s functional traits is important, the window should also look great and fit seamlessly with your home. Vinyl windows allow you the choice of at least 14 standard colors, as well as an unlimited amount of custom choices. Plus, vinyl frames have the option of finishes that are either smooth, textured, or wood imitation. In fact, homeowners tend to choose vinyl when they want the natural appearance of wood, but with none of the drawbacks the material has with durability and longevity. Due to the variety of choices, vinyl fits well with both classic and contemporary homes.
Aluminum windows do not have the same adaptability to other buildings. While these windows can complement modern, sleeker buildings, they cannot adapt as well to more traditionally-styled homes. A wooden imitation paint, for example, would look too artificial compared to vinyl’s range of texture choices. Not to mention that if aluminum needs to be repainted, most paint will not adhere well and flake off over time. Finding an enamel coating to match the original is also difficult.
A Timeless Choice
Vinyl material’s ability to resist most conditions, its energy efficiency, and its adaptability in appearance and function makes it the best choice for your window replacement. Vinyl can combine the earthy appeals of wood windows and the modern flare of aluminum windows without the weaknesses inherent to both those materials.