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Does “Premium vinyl” have any meaning with vinyl windows?

ranson | Posted in General Questions on

I spoke with a window salesman today, and he kept using the term “premium” like it meant something. The yarn he spun, was that the industry has standardized on three levels of vinyl, “contractor grade,” “builder grade” and “premium.” And they sell only “premium.”

Is this marketing hogwash? I mean, some windows are better than other, but is there any sort of verifiable material difference in the vinyl?

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    Yes, it's marketing hogwash. All vinyl window manufacturers use similar types of PVC.

    1. Expert Member
      MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #2


      I disagree. My understanding is Premium Vinyl is hand sourced from organic plastic plants and curated into groups so only the fittest polymers are selected.

      1. Expert Member
        Akos | | #4

        I believe that is Artisanal vinyl.

        1. Expert Member
          MALCOLM TAYLOR | | #6


          Ah - my mistake!

  2. stolzberg | | #3

    Could premium vinyl have to do with the quality of the finish, e.g., invisible corner seams, or fake wood grain and colors?

  3. Expert Member
    Akos | | #5

    Usual the "premium" range from most manufacturers offers slightly beefier casing and more finish choices.

    Overall, all North American vinyl windows that I've installed are quite terrible.

    The big problem with them is there is no reinforcement inside the frame, vinyl being plastic tends to flow when put under stress and slowly deform over time. This is why it is important to avoid large operable vinyl windows.

    If you want actual premium windows, go for fiberglass, aluminum clad wood or UPVC tilt and turns.

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