Vinyl is currently the most used material when it comes to replacement windows. One of the main factors behind its vast popularity is its efficiency and affordability.
Every day, more homeowners shift to vinyl windows because they aren’t only the cheapest material compared to wood, aluminum, or fiberglass but they’re also durable, easily maintained, and available in all shapes and sizes.
The reason behind the name is that they’re made of PVC or Polyvinyl Chloride, hence the name (uPVC). This is a chemical material used in making a wide variety of plastic materials that are characterized by hardness and lightweight.
What most people like about PVC replacement window frames is that they’re available in all colors to easily blend in with the surrounding style and they can withstand moisture without rusting or chipping.
Additionally, they also resist all kinds of warping, peeling, or cracking all the while staying extremely tough and resilient. Some of the most trustworthy vinyl windows manufacturers will offer a double lifetime warranty.
Vinyl windows also score pretty high on energy efficiency. This means that you’re also going to save on heating, air conditioning bills, and maintenance costs as well.
Despite their perks, some poor quality PVC polymers don’t stand the test of time very well, and consequently, their vinyl windows become more vulnerable with time, shrinking the lifespan of vinyl windows.
This is because the vinyl contracts and expands 7 times faster than glass panes. This leads to collapsing of the window frames with time.
Vinyl windows are recommended for long term investors who are looking for the best deal. Vinyl replacement windows are a highly reliable and budget-friendly option for those who want more for less.
Aluminum replacement windows are a moderate option when it comes to price. They’re usually costlier than fiberglass and vinyl windows but comes at a cheaper price tag compared to the more artistic wooden replacement windows.
Unlike vinyl, you can paint aluminum replacement windows much easier. Aluminum is known for its high-end durability and featherlight weight. They also resist all forms of cracking, peeling, chipping, or warping.
Although they’re known for their slim designs and lightweight frame, aluminum frames are sturdy and can handle aging very well unless they suffer a dent. In such a case, it’s usually very hard to fix the window without replacing the part of the frame where the dent is visible.
Another issue with aluminum lies in its ability to withstand weather changes despite outperforming vinyl and fiberglass windows. They react to changes in temperature greatly, making them expand and contract.
This lowers aluminum score on the energy efficiency scale. This everlasting problem has now been solved with the introduction of thermal breaks.
By adding these thermal breaks to various parts of the aluminum frame, they enhance the window’s ability to insulate the rooms.
Aluminum frames are recommended for modern houses as they fit the contemporary style perfectly. With their easy to paint properties, they can be a game-changing asset in modern house design art.
Fiberglass is the newest addition to the windows industry that’s taking the market by storm. Although it’s new and yet to be discovered by many homeowners, it’s gaining popularity every day because of the cool features it possesses.
Similar to wood and aluminum replacement windows, fiberglass can also be painted to suit homeowners’ tastes. However, the newcomer is more durable than both aluminum and wooden window frames.
Since fiberglass is essentially a reinforced mixture of plastic glass fiber, it has the same physical properties of glass. This makes fiberglass the perfect material to work with window panes since they expand and contract at the same rate.
This protects the window frames from breaking down through the course of years; rendering fiberglass as one of the most long-lasting materials to be used in making window frames.
Unfortunately, nothing is perfect, and this applies to fiberglass too. Owing to the fact that fiberglass frames are usually hollow on the inside, they don’t insulate well.
Recently, this bullet has been dodged by installing foam paddings. Foam is known for its ideal sound and heat insulating properties. As a result, fiberglass frames have higher energy efficiency.
With all its perks, fiberglass windows are quickly becoming a fan favorite, and its prevalence and sustainability are working for its favor. Milgard’s fiberglass Ultra Series is a fine example of this innovative step in the future of windows.
That’s why fiberglass is recommended for anyone who wants a heavy-duty replacement window, it lasts much longer than any other material, and costs way less than wood or aluminum.
Combination (Hybrid) Windows
Merging building materials to obtain the best out of both is the smartest new idea that’s currently tested and executed by many manufacturers.
This innovative and practical step has a lot of benefits such as reducing the price of the more expensive but better-looking materials such as wooden frames.
Additionally, this can help in enhancing the energy efficiency of some materials such as fiberglass.
Milgard windows were one of the few manufacturers that produced a hybrid replacement window in the Essence Series (currently discontinued).
In this production line, they combined the amazing view of all-natural wood and durability and long-lasting resilience of fiberglass.
The Types of Windows Available in The Market
When shopping for a replacement window, your choice will depend on a deep understanding of these types and how they operate as well as their style.
Let’s briefly check each one of these types and see what they have to offer.
Horizontal Slider Windows
One of the most common window designs is the horizontal slider windows. The window sashes slide to the left or right depending on your desired airflow direction in the room.
These windows are a great choice if you’re into larger windows which allows sunlight to enter the room or overlooks an aesthetically pleasing scenery.
In such a case, a vinyl window with an extra slim frame profile like Milgard’s Style Line series would be an excellent option for you.
These windows have two sashes that are hung in a vertical style. The top sashes are fixed to allow sunlight into the room. However, some manufacturers allow a slight forward or backward tilt in their top sashes to allow for easier cleaning of the exterior pane.
The bottom sashes are the freely moving ones. They can slide up and down to allow airflow into the room. If you’re thinking about a window style for a room that faces a patio, then a single-hung window would fit your criteria perfectly.
Similar to the Single-Hung windows, the double-hung also has two vertically hanging sashes. However, both the upper and lower sashes can move up and down freely.
This allows for more flexibility and convenience concerning many aspects. For example, you can control the airflow into the room, and they’re also much easier to clean because you can both slide and tilt them.
Casement is a door-like window that opens outwards with a hinge. They hold the maximum ventilation capacity between all windows because they can be completely open.
If you own a room that requires a high level of continuous ventilation, then casement windows are a great option.
Awnings are tilt-out windows that are hinged from the top and open upwards. Similar to the casements, they also offer high levels of room ventilation.
Unlike casements, awnings are usually smaller in size, making them perfect for smaller rooms that require a constant flow of fresh air such as laundry rooms and kitchens.
The market is full of different types of windows and materials. Each one of these variables will serve a different purpose. Although choosing your ideal windows depends on many aspects, the final pick is a matter of taste, perspective, and a full understanding of your needs. So there you have it, a complete guide with everything you need to know about window replacements for your next home renovation project.