Vinyl Windows

Vinyl windows are easily the most popular replacement window option, accounting for just over half of all replacements in the United States. They offer lots of advantages compared with other frame materials, just avoid poorly made vinyl windows that will typically provide bad long term value to the consumer.

Vinyl Window Basics

There are literally hundreds of vinyl window manufacturers in this country. The majority are regional producers that put out a mid grade window with mediocre to decent performance numbers. While there is nothing wrong with these windows per se, they are not going to be your best bet in terms of long term value. Nearly all manufacturers purchase the actual vinyl extrusions from one of the handful of vinyl extruders across the nation. They will also buy the glass panes, spacers, hardware etc. and then put it all together at the factory. What most consumers don't know is that there are a ton of ways to cut corners in the process of making a vinyl window, the majority of which are very difficult to see with the unpracticed eye (imagine looking at two car engines side by side and having to say which was the superior engine).

Vinyl Window Pricing

The relatively low cost of vinyl windows is the principal reason for their popularity. The overall price range for fully installed vinyl windows is $200 to $750 for a normal sized double hung. The average or mid range cost is $300 to $500 fuly installed for a normal sized vinyl window. Typically, the cost of installation will account for 25% to %35 of the total cost of the replacement.

Good Performance Numbers

Mid range to high end vinyl windows get good to great ratings and performance numbers. They will almost always beat out comparable wood and aluminum windows. The material that will typically beat out vinyl windows is fiberglass windows (these two frame materials will often start out very similar and the fiberglass will often maintain its numbers better than vinyl). Poorly made vinyl windows - cheap extrusions, bad seals and glazing, clear glass, poor corner welds etc. -- will not have good performance numbers, which will affect the energy savings of a home and the overall comfort level of a home.

Simple Look

Vinyl windows simply can't compare to wood windows, which are undeniably the nicest looking windows on the market. However, for the most part, once they are in place, windows are rarely noticed unless they are stunning looking or very shoddy looking. Replacement vinyl windows are neither. They are usually clean and simple looking. For most homeowners, it's nearly impossible to tell the difference in look between vinyl, fiberglass and many composite windows. So unless you are buying wood clad windows or aluminum (which are really only recommended for very hot climates), vinyl is as nice as the more expensive material options.