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Sturdy and long-lasting vinyl windows?

Martin Holladay | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

I am researching an article on vinyl windows for Fine Homebuilding, and am looking for feedback and help.

I am not looking for people to explain to me why vinyl is bad and why no one should ever buy a vinyl window. I already know those arguments. I have never installed a vinyl window in any home I have built, and I don’t recommend them. (I like fiberglass windows, but that’s another story.)

Here’s my question: Have any GBA readers had experience with a brand of vinyl window that is more durable, better built, or longer-lasting than other brands? If so, tell me which vinyl windows are built better than the competition.

Thanks.

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Replies

  1. Jesse Thompson | | #1

    Ignoring the bad elements of vinyl windows, the PVC series from Schuco is much more substantial than most US vinyl windows: http://www.schueco.com/web/de-en/architekten/fenster_und_tueren/products/windows/pvc_u/basic_depth_70_mm

    Haven't used them personally yet, however.

    We had a rep come through from New Brunswick CA that showed us their vinyl window profile which looked much more substantial than typical as well: http://www.mbfwindows.com/product-window-case-prestige.htm

  2. lavardera | | #2

    My best experience has been with Weathersheild's Visions line of vinyl windows. They are very substantial and completely defy the stereotype of flimsy cheap windows. The frames are strong enough to use multiple units in large openings that are too big for other brands. However they do cost significantly more than other all vinyl windows.

  3. Brett Moyer | | #3

    Martin,

    Perhaps you could also report on the vinyl-ish (composite) windows out there such as Anderson's 100 series. Apparently they are "twice as stable and rigid as vinyl."

    As I'm sure you know, most window manufacturers make vinyl windows in 2 colors- white and tan. Anderson has 4 colors available in the 100 series.

    I don't have any experience with these windows but it would be nice to have an expert like yourself report on them.

  4. Aaron Vander Meulen | | #4

    I've used Solaris windows a couple of times and been pretty happy. Huge Variety of colors. Seem plenty sturdy. Respectable U values and SHGC.

  5. Kevin Dickson, MSME | | #5

    I've seen cheap 20 year old vinyl windows and they look fine and still operate OK. (Fiberglass is probably a better investment long term)

    The main point of today's vinyl windows is the low cost. If you have no problem with vinyl, then I say go ALL IN, and make installed price your god. Window World will install ANY size vinyl slider or single hung window for $189 total. At that price, why even speculate on durability or nitpick leakage rates, U values, SHGC, or "sturdiness"?

    It can now make sense to replace your windows just to get a window that actually works. Any energy savings, maintenance reduction, comfort improvement, and appearance improvement are all just bonuses.

    They are nationwide, and even though they use vinyl, they seem to be a benevolent company. Therefore, I expect to see a fiberglass frame from them in the future. I've used them and been happy with all their work as well. Another bonus - no imported content, which benefits the local economy.

    I'm seriously considering having them install two windows per opening. Quadruple-glazed windows installed for $378 per hole. Quadruple glazing with a redundant air seal is tough to find at any price.

  6. John Semmelhack | | #6

    I just looked at the vinyl line from Serious Windows the other day. They certainly appeared to be better built than the vinyl windows I typically see, though I can't say I have experience with them. I'm pretty sure the glazing options for Serious vinyl are similar to the fiberglass line.

  7. Greg Smith | | #7

    Martin,

    Take a look at Innotech Windows and Doors out of western Canada. In Tilt/Turn series, U-values as low as .15 (using NFRC and not Euro calcs), air infiltration .003cfm, DP 100...comparable windows to the "big five" Canadian fiberglass folks, but in a vinyl, not fiberglass sash and frame.

    Available in both high and low SHGC glazing packages.

    http://www.innotech-windows.com/

  8. 5C8rvfuWev | | #8

    Martin,

    I don't know if I'm too late with this. You might want to check out Ply-Gem (bought out MW) windows -- a local builder who is pretty careful re: energy efficiency and construction quality has been pleased with them in a couple of "affordable" projects he's done. Don't know if they're available nationally.

    Regards, Joe W

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