Windows 101: Vinyl Windows

Curious about vinyl windows? U.S. Exterior by Seidel in Buffalo Grove takes a closer look at how vinyl windows can provide benefits for homeowners seeking to replace their existing windows, or incorporate windows into new construction.


There was a time when vinyl windows were considered a last-ditch, budget-friendly option for window replacement – specifically, rotting and leaky wooden double-hung windows. Why such a low opinion? Unfortunately, the earliest versions of vinyl windows would wash out (if it was colored vinyl) or yellow (if white vinyl was used). Even worse, the vinyl itself gained a reputation for cracking and splitting at extreme temperatures.

Thankfully, those days are long gone. The vinyl windows of today are appreciated by window contractors nationwide for their exceptional weather resistance in any climate, attractive and diverse faux-grain finishes, and “no-fade” color options. Perhaps most importantly, 21st-century vinyl windows boast superior construction and insulation that easily meets Energy Star standards. Vinyl windows now offer the best of both worlds: they superbly mimic the look of real wood while simultaneously offering significant energy savings.

Six Tips for Vinyl Window Shoppers

Now that we’ve covered the upside inherent to vinyl windows, here are six tips for vinyl window shoppers, courtesy of the professionals at our window replacement contractor.

#1: Don’t settle for second-best

There are lots of vinyl window choices on the market, but not all of them qualify for top billing. When shopping for vinyl windows, the first thing you should do is confirm that the vinyl component includes special additives that defend against fading, yellowing, and brittleness. Next, check the sash and frame extrusions. The corners of these items should be welded, and they should contain abundant internal air chambers. This latter component maximizes insulation, rigidity, and strength.

#2: Don’t just skim the warranty

Sure, it’s natural to skim quickly through the warranty for a product. But in the case of vinyl windows, you’ll want to confirm that the windows you choose have a “double lifetime” warranty that covers potential performance issues, one of the most common of which is condensation between the panes. A double lifetime warranty is also transferrable should you decide to sell your house at some point.

#3: The more color options, the better

Top-line vinyl windows can be ordered in two different colors – one for the inside, one for the outside. This offers you the opportunity to match or contrast the trim/color of your home both inside and out.

#4: Inspect the glass

Along with warranty and color, high-quality vinyl windows standout in their construction. When speaking with a window contractor, you’ll want to confirm that inert gas and “warm-edge spacers” are sandwiched between the two window panes. These items contribute to low-e coatings that reflect heat, delivering better energy savings and protecting your furniture from fading.

#5: Energy Star confirmation

An Energy Star-qualified vinyl window is one whose airtightness and efficiency are confirmed by the National Fenestration Rating Council. Only select vinyl windows with this verification. Also, confirm that your vinyl windows are Gold Seal-certified by the American Architectural Manufacturers Association. This seal means that the windows have passed a rigorous structural-integrity exam.

#6: Understand the care instructions

Tilting double-hung windows are the easiest to clean, along with double-pane vinyl windows with grilles sandwiched in-between. If ease of care is important to you, these are the styles to consider. But regardless of style, don’t use a pressure washer to clean your windows, as it can break the glass and damage the seals.


U.S. Exterior By Seidel | 741 Hastings Lane | Buffalo Grove, IL 60089

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