Comparing vinyl replacement windows before you buy

August 10, 2010

Many people choose vinyl windows when they are doing a window replacement on their home. Vinyl windows offer versatility, reasonable cost, low maintenance, and can be very easy to use and clean. However, there are many vinyl window manufacturers out there, and each seems to have many models of windows to choose from. How do you decide which vinyl windows are going to work best for your situation? One way might be to do a vinyl replacement windows comparison.

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Feature comparisons for vinyl replacement windows

Vinyl replacement window reviews compare windows to help you understand the differences in various models and assist you with the decision as to which windows meet your particular needs and budget. There are several areas that should be investigated before you make your decision. This list will help you compare feature categories as you do your research:

  1. Corners
  2. Balances
  3. Sill
  4. Colors
  5. Glass options
  6. U-value
  7. Solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC)
  8. Sound transmission class (STC) rating
  9. Glass thickness
  10. Grids
  11. Structural pressure
  12. Warranty
  13. Glass breakage warranty
  14. Sash lock

Since the majority of the window is glass, you might want to pay special attention to the energy-efficiency categories: u-value and solar heat gain coefficient.

  • U-value. The U-value is the amount of heat loss through the window. The lower the number, the better window's insulation qualities.
  • Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC). The SHGC is the amount of radiant heat that passes through the window. The lower the number, the less heat from the sun you should receive.

A rating of 0.30 for either of these categories is considered excellent and can qualify for an Energy Star certification.

Vinyl windows: construction methods

No vinyl replacement windows comparison is complete without reading what reviewers think about the construction of the window. The vinyl windows you purchase are a long term investment and you want a window that is going to maintain its structural integrity for many years. Reviewers examine locking systems, ease of operation, and general quality of construction when they compare vinyl windows.

Warranties are important, especially concerning glass coverage. When looking at hardware, decide if plastic or metal is more important to you. Does the appearance of the window esthetically please you? You will be looking at it a long time. The STC, Sound Transmission Class rating, lets you know how much sound can pass through the window and into your home higher numbers are better with this rating, so if you have a noisy neighborhood, look for a higher rating.


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