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Cellular PVC Window Replacements | Cellular PVC Home Windows Print Bookmark and Share

Cellular PVC is a material that is used for replacement windows - it is an economic choice for budget-minded homeowners. Regular PVC is a thermoplastic polymer, and has become a popular building material because it is durable, inexpensive, and easy to fabricate. Cellular PVC, while still relatively new, is rapidly becoming even more popular because it is half the density of regular PVC, weighs about the same as softwood, and has a tensile strength of up to 5,000 PSI.

What is cellular PVC? - Cellular PVC is a solid, foam-extruded material that expands as it cools and hardens. The foam extrusion process creates air bubbles that help to make cellular PVC lighter and stronger than most other materials. For instance, it is 140% stronger than vinyl, which makes it more stable. That stability means it can compete with cellular pvc frames for large windows. It's also a 214% better insulator than vinyl.

Remodeling With Cellular PVC

Similar to wood - Cellular PVC has wood-like characteristics that also make it a popular choice. It can be milled, and since it has the appearance of real wood, it is used to produce trim, paneling, windows, doors, blinds, and even furniture. It is a 60% better insulator than wood, and it won't succumb to the weathering or insect-related issues of wood.

Other benefits - Cellular PVC can withstand heat to 150F, won't absorb paint, and doesn't expand or contract in response to the weather. In fact, cellular PVC is guaranteed not to swell, rot, warp, bend, crack, splinter, or stick. It can bend to accommodate curved forms such as arches. It is a durable, cost-efficient, low-to-no-maintenance option that is an excellent alternative to traditional wood, and an improvement over vinyl. Not just in strength cellular PVC is also a 214% better insulator than vinyl.

Availability - Cellular PVC typically comes in white, and while it doesn't have to be painted, it can be. As it resists paint absorption, unlike wood, it requires less paint and thus less effort and cost. If using darker colors (an L value of 56 to 0), choosing a heat reflective paint is recommended.

Cellular PVC windows are available in all-cellular form, or as a cellular PVC-clad wood window. The clad version offers a wood interior frame in a variety of wood types and finishes, which allows homeowners to match their interior trim to their décor and to stain or paint the trim easily.

Why Choose Cellular PVC? - Most homeowners will tell you that their mantra seems to be 'maintenance, rot, repair.' Siding and roofs get repaired and replaced, windows rot, and trimboards deteriorate. It happens over time, usually decades, but even with all the time and effort spent assessing and maintaining, the rot and repair phase seems to come all too soon. When it does, the expense can be overwhelming.

At this juncture, many homeowners opt for the cheapest alternative. It's appealing from a financial perspective, but you get what you pay for, as the old adage goes. As far as performance and quality go, you may find yourself in the exact same position much sooner than you expected.

When it comes time to make the dreaded purchasing decision, here are some factors to consider:

The Appreciation of Your Home - Almost every home improvement you make to your home increases its value. Generally speaking, the larger or more expensive the improvement, the more the value will increase. In other words, when it comes to improvements such as replacing windows or siding, a better quality of material will actually increase your home's overall value.

If you plan on living in your home for some time after making the improvement, you will also reap the benefits that way as well, enjoying your new deck, bigger kitchen, or lower utility bills. Often it's best to keep the big picture in mind, and consider the long-term benefits rather than just the short-term savings.

Wear and tear - Newer, man-made materials such as no-rot composites and cellular PVC are making significant inroads in the market, finding popularity with builders and consumers alike due to their obvious benefits. For example, in the Midwest a primed and painted finger-joint pine trim might make it to 15 years. Cellular PVC trim, however, would easily last twice as long.

Cellular PVC is more energy-efficient than vinyl windows, can be painted, and won't be affected by termites. It looks like wood, acts like wood, but won't weather like wood. The paint won't blister and peel. Wood, on the other hand, requires maintenance. It must be treated regularly.

In 10 years, wood will usually start to show signs of rotting and cracking. If those trouble spots aren't repainted, the sun, rain, and snow will exacerbate the process and introduce mold and moisture into the picture, and possibly into the home. Soon replacement, rather than repair, becomes the only real option.

The benefits of energy efficiency - Whether it's your home siding, your roof, or your windows, choosing higher-quality materials almost always means better-performing materials when it comes to energy conservation.

The high-performance options may cost more up front, but over time they will save you more money on your utility bills, and also by way of less frequent maintenance and repair problems. Moreover, they boost a home's value and can become major selling points, especially in leaner times.

Even if your budget is tight, you should consider the long-term scenario and make a careful decision. Consider all the factors, including appreciation and performance as well as cost. Never make a decision based solely on your bank account you'll regret it later when the cheap materials fail and you wind up making the same repair a second time. A home is a long-range investment, and every decision about its upkeep should be made from the same perspective.

Manufacturers of Cellular PVC - Cellular PVC can be used to make window trim, window flower boxes, panels, decking, and more. Some of the major manufacturers to use cellular PVC are VEKA, Versatex, Trex, CertainTeed, AZEK, Gossen, Windsor Windows, and NuCedar.

These are just a few of the firms who've recognized the versatility of cellular PVC. Each has created exterior building products that capitalize on the durability and performance of cellular PVC for the consumer market. VEKA Innovations has created VEKAdeck™, a long-lasting reinforced cellular PVC deck board with a natural woodgrain look.

Versatex, Trex, and CertainTeed specialize in cellular PVC trim. AZEK and Gossen make trim, moulding, decking, and railing products. Windsor Windows offers a line of cellular PVC and clad cellular PVC windows. NuCedar makes cellular PVC siding that also meets LEED certification, as it is made from 20% pre-consumer recycled material and is 100% recyclable itself.

These durable, economic wood alternative composites offer consumers the advantages of wood and vinyl, with better performance and longevity. While cellular PVC products still only represent a fraction (about 5%) of the wood moulding market, the market share is growing rapidly. Due to its performance, cellular PVC has been embraced by industry associations such as the American Architectural Manufacturers Association and the Wood Moulding & Millwork Producers Association. They've recognized what the building industry and consumers are just beginning to realize: Cellular PVC is the building material of the future, today.