Why Not All Vinyl Windows are Created the Same

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In our previous blog post about why new window prices vary so much, we focused on the major components that make up a window like materials, insulation and glass. In this blog post, we want to go a little deeper into the different types of vinyl windows you can purchase and how that will affect the cost of new windows. Easier to clean, available in many colors, and generally longer lasting than wood or aluminum, vinyl windows are the most popular windows available on the market today.

The thickness of vinyl windows is a good gauge of the quality. Take a look at a cut-away cross section of competing windows if you can, and measure the vinyl thicknesses. This cut-away view will also show you what material is used to insulate the hollow part of the frame, or if it is insulated at all. Thicker and heavier is usually better and, of course, it will usually cost a little more as well. An insulated frame is the best way to go, however, most window retailers don’t offer that quality of product due to cost.

Virgin Vinyl Vs Reground Vinyl

Vinyl is a man-made synthetic first invented in the 1920s by combining ethylene, a product found in crude oil, and chlorine, a product in found in regular salt. When processed, these substances are combined to make Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) resin, commonly known as vinyl. Manufacturers quickly incorporated vinyl into common household items like windows, siding and flooring because it was stronger, more durable, and cheaper than other materials.

Since vinyl is a man-made product, it can also be recycled and used again in new products including new windows. This is an inexpensive process for window manufacturers so you’ll find a lot of these products on the market.

There are three types of vinyl windows on the market today. Each variation has different amounts of virgin and recycled vinyl in its make-up. While the end products will look identical, the type of window produced varies greatly in quality and durability. How can you tell the difference between virgin and reground vinyl? The information should be easily available from the manufacturer if you are asking the right questions.

Virgin Vinyl – First generation vinyl windows include no recycled material. These are the strongest and most durable type of vinyl windows. Not surprisingly, these will also be more expensive than recycled windows.

Combination of Virgin Vinyl and Recycled Vinyl – This will sometimes be referred to as 100% virgin vinyl because a portion of the product does actually include first generation, virgin vinyl but the rest is made of recycled materials. The ratio of virgin to recycled vinyl determines the quality. If the product has the VSI (Vinyl Siding Institute) stamp on it, it is likely to be of higher quality even if it is not actually all virgin, first generation vinyl.

Recycled (or Reground) Vinyl – This product creates a weaker window frame and is not as durable as either the true virgin vinyl window or the combination of first generation vinyl and recycled materials. It tends to become brittle and crack, warp and/or fade more quickly.

Home Town Restyling carries a complete line of windows along with licensed and insured crews for professional installation. Once you have a better idea of the direction you want to go with your home’s replacement windows, stop by or contact us for a free estimate. You can also download our FREE Window Replacement Checklist to learn what else you need to know and start planning for your new windows like a pro.