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Vinyl Replacement Windows | Why Choose Vinyl Window Frames For Your Home Print Bookmark and Share

Vinyl replacement windows If you've sorted through the many types of replacement windows and decided on vinyl replacement windows, the battle is half over. However, there are still many features you should be aware of before you start measuring and ordering. How will you know whether vinyl replacement windows are the best for your home?

Wind load - You want to make sure that the windows have been tested for wind load. It should meet the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) parameters for your area. This is especially important if you live in a high-rise or in an area subject to severe storms (esp. hurricanes). Look for the Energy Star label; it indicates the requirements for thermal performance, structural integrity, water resistance, air infiltration, and wind load have been met. Another certification to look for is one from the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) and Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA).

Window Replacements With Vinyl Frames

Structural Load

Structural loads just means the amount of weight or design pressure the window can take, usually tested in pounds per square foot. There are different classes, starting at 15 psf for 'Residential,' 25 psf for 'Light Commercial,' and so on. The actual structural test pressure required by test standard is 1.5 times the design pressure (or performance grade). For example, an LC 30 Design Pressure/Performance Grade (light commercial test size) window would have to pass a structural load test equal to 45 pounds per square foot (30 x 1.5 = 45 psf). Again, look for AAMA/WDMA certification.

Water Resistance

Water resistance, as you can imagine, is pretty critical. Most vinyl frames are water resistant, but you should verify the rating. Water tightness is determined by projecting five gallons of water per hour per square foot of window area, which is the equivalent to about eight inches of rain in an hour. At the same time, air pressure is increased to simulate winds between 35 and 76 mph. The water tightness rating indicates the pressure reached before there was interior water leakage. Look for certification from the AAMA/WDMA.

Other Features

There are many features to consider when choosing a vinyl replacement frames. In addition to the issues of structural integrity, you'll have to take into account the climate, size, color, and style of the window. Your vinyl replacement framesshould complement your home's architecture and color, and match the other existing windows (unless you're replacing them all at one time). Of course, you'll want to make sure that your purchase have met or exceeded quality standards.

Energy efficiency is probably one of the reasons you decided to replace your home windows, so you'll need to investigate all of the energy-saving options of today's market. Consider Low-E coatings, an argon gas fill, and what combination of U-factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient will work best for your home and climate.

You don't need to obsess over all the details discussed here. In fact, you can eliminate much of the headache by hiring a local window installer. Discuss your concerns and objectives with him or her, and let the installer deal with it.

For many reasons, hiring an installer is the best decision. Vinyl windows are durable and can last a lifetime as long as they're installed properly. However, if mishandled, they can twist and warp during the installation, and a poor installation job can lead to water damage, heat transfer, higher energy bills, and more. It's always tempting to take the DIY path, but sometimes it's cheaper in the long run to make sure a job is done professionally.

How does vinyl stack up to aluminum - they certainly have advantages and disadvantages over one another. Learn more on this epic match up at aluminum vs vinyl windows.