Best Vinyl Replacement Windows – Forbes Home

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing vinyl replacement windows, including selecting the company with a high quality product that looks great, offers optimal function and lasts for decades.

Here’s what research we recommend before purchasing vinyl replacement windows.

Quality Construction

There are several key markers of a well-built vinyl window that are important to look for when shopping for vinyl replacement windows. The thickness of a window correlates to its strength and efficiency; the thicker the vinyl window and the more glass panes, the more durable the window. A window frame with multiple chambers will add additional reinforcement, rigidity and insulation. Frame extrusions and sashes should have welded corners, and the highest quality construction should even make it look seamless, as if they are constructed from one continuous material.

This unbreakable seal should also prevent condensation between the panes and support smooth functionality and operation of the window’s opening hinges and locks. A beautiful, wood-like finish on the vinyl window is also to be expected.

Materials and Additives

Each vinyl window manufacturer has its own “recipe” or combination of chemicals and materials that combine to create their proprietary vinyl. More chemical additives usually means a lesser quality vinyl. However, some additives also protect against wear and tear on your windows, such as color fading, yellowing, brittleness and climate damage.

The best quality vinyl windows utilize metal as an internal structural element to stiffen and support the window frame while staying insulated from the elements.

Glass quality

You’ll want to choose vinyl replacement windows that have optimal functionality, not only from the frame, but also the glass. More glass means more barrier between you and the outside, which also minimizes noise, reduces heat loss or gain, protects your indoor furnishings from sun damage and promotes energy efficiency.

Some vinyl window manufacturers offer double-pane or triple-pane windows, so especially consider these in areas of your home that could benefit from added protection.

Warranty

Your vinyl replacement windows should last 20 years or more with basic maintenance, which includes seasonally scheduled window cleanings. Ideally, your manufacturer should provide a warranty that lasts at least this long. Many companies will offer a lifetime warranty on your window, and some will offer what is called “double lifetime warranty,” meaning it can even be transferred to the next homeowner, potentially adding value to your home appraisal.

Energy efficiency ratings

Energy conservation is one of the biggest benefits to installing vinyl replacement windows, and not all are created equal. Even if the manufacturer guarantees the window performs well, you can look for independent verification from organizations that specialize in product testing, establishing performance standards, energy efficiency certifications and labeling for windows and more, such as the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) and the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA).

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