Let’s ignore the issues related to installation this time – by now you know that you can buy a million-dollar window, and if it’s not installed properly…yada yada…so let’s instead talk about the vinyl window itself. The idea of vinyl consists of many different things, beginning with the best, pure virgin vinyl. Pure virgin vinyl is a petroleum product that when manufactured properly, leads to a window composition that will never fade, peel, corrode or warp over time. This type of vinyl window is manufactured by a select few whose manufacturing facilities have been in business for over 30 years. Rest assured, if you are purchasing a window from a manufacturer who has manufactured vinyl windows for over 30 years and is still in business with a good standing, you should be in good shape. One hundred years from now, you could look at that installed window and barely notice any difference.
So let’s backtrack for a moment. Many vinyl windows are assembled in different ways, but today when we are talking about vinyl windows, we’re just talking about presentation of the product, not the assembly of the window. Vinyl, like many other things, can be pure or impure. Many homeowners never realize that the “vinyl window” they purchase, although aesthetically seeming perfect upon installation, will falter not due to any other factor other than the vinyl window was not actually pure vinyl. The “vinyl” product that homeowners think they have purchased actually does encompass vinyl but also includes glass scrap, recycled plastic and other impurities that may cause it to react to the elements of nature in an adverse manner. By contrast, a pure virgin vinyl window will cause no problems. You only replace your windows once. Vinyl windows that include impurities will begin to fade, warp, corrode and inevitably become dysfunctional. Therefore, the answer to your question is very simple – how do you know that your window is a virgin vinyl window, not a vinyl window that has been comprised with impurities? Take a look at the manufacturer – their size, the length of time they have been in business, and their warranty information. If the answers to these questions are: a strong and well-published reputation; over 30 years; and a lifetime warranty, then you should be okay.
Dozens of vinyl window manufacturers come and go every decade. Please ask this question: How long has the manufacturer – not the company selling the window – but the manufacturer, been in business? If the answer is under 30 years, move on. If their manufacturer has been in business for over 30 years, has a well-established reputation and credentials to back that reputation, then the vinyl window that you are purchasing should be conducive to the needs of your home. Now you can concentrate on the other dynamics that are involved with replacing your windows, including installation, price, service and your overall comfort level with the company you are working with. Lastly, we cannot stress enough the importance of the longevity of the window manufacturer. Three things to look for are: 1. a government-approved Energy Star rating; 2. a government-approved NFRC certification; and 3. an AAMA approval. Once you have these credentials and these boundaries have been established, you can now move on to the fun part of purchasing vinyl windows, reputation of the company and its installers, the right price point and of course your comfort level with the window company.