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A Simple Guide to Vinyl Replacement Windows

Updated on October 17, 2011

vinyl replacement windows


Vinyl replacement windows are a great way to improve the looks of your home while increasing its energy efficiency. You can replace your old windows with vinyl replacement window inserts that are easy to install without having to replace the original frame, casing, or exterior trim. The other choice is full-frame replacement windows, where the original frame and sash are replaced with a whole new window.


Both of these choices of vinyl replacement windows have their advantages. The insert replacement windows are less expensive, less disruptive, and require less labor. The full-frame vinyl replacement windows will provide for a tighter fit and a complete window makeover.


Why vinyl replacement windows?


Vinyl replacement windows have several advantages. For one thing, they’re very energy efficient. A lot of heat and cold can be transferred through the windows in your home, so it’s important to use windows that will help keep cool air in during the summer and warm air in during the winter. Vinyl replacement windows do just that.


Another advantage to vinyl replacement windows is that they don’t have to be painted. Vinyl is tough and durable, so these windows last a long time and retain their good looks. In fact, some vinyl replacement windows offer a lifetime warranty.


Vinyl replacement windows are super easy to clean and care fore. They practically maintenance free and can be wiped clean with a damp cloth.


Vinyl replacement windows will also increase your home’s value, usually by thousands of dollars. And they’ll certainly increase your home’s curb appeal. If you’re selling your home any time soon, curb appeal is one way to attract buyers.


Basically, there are three major categories of vinyl replacement windows: all-vinyl replacement windows, wood replacement windows with a vinyl coating on the outside, and wood replacement windows with a vinyl coating on both the exterior and the interior.


Vinyl replacement windows come in many types, shapes, sizes, colors, and grille patterns, so you should have no problem at all finding ones that will look great on your home. In fact, if you have unusual or unique window shapes, you can have vinyl replacement windows custom made to meet your specific requirements.


The numbers: what to consider


Many vinyl replacement windows have several numbers that go along with them. If you don’t know exactly what these numbers mean, choosing replacement windows can be very confusing. Do you want high numbers or low numbers? Actually, you want some of each. Sometimes a higher number is better, and sometimes a lower rating is better:


  1. The glass. Will you choose double insulating or triple insulating? How big should the air space be? The air space is the amount of distance between the glass panels. The more area, the more insulating capability.
  2. Low-E? Low-E is like sunscreen for glass. Low-E windows are specially treated to resist the harmful UV rays from the sun. These windows will help protect your carpet, rugs, furniture, and drapes for UV light.
  3. The U-factor. The U-factor is a rating for how much heat is lost through the window. Each is assigned a number, and the lower the number, the better.
  4. The SHG rating. SHG stands for Solar Heat Gain. The lower the assigned number, the less heat the window transmits from the sun. Whether you’ll need a lower or higher Solar Heat Gain coefficient depends on whether you live in a cold or hot climate.
  5. Condensation resistance. This number relates to how condensation-resistant the windows are. The higher this number, the more resistant the windows are to condensation.
  6. Air leakage. How resistant are the windows to air leakage? You might be surprised at how much air can leak through windows if the joints and panes are not tightly fitted. For this number, the lower, the better.


Will your vinyl replacement windows qualify for a tax credit?


Everyone likes a tax credit, and your vinyl replacement windows might qualify for a tax credit of up to $1,500. To qualify, the windows must meet the following:


  1. The replacement windows must be installed on your primary residence.
  2. The replacement windows must be installed before December 31, 2010.
  3. The replacement windows must have the ENERGY STAR sticker.
  4. The replacement windows must have a U-factor of .3 or less.
  5. The replacement windows must have a Solar Heat Gain rating of .3 or less.


Where to shop for vinyl replacement windows


The best place to shop for vinyl replacement windows is online. Look at several different brands before making your final selection. Be sure to read the companies’ warranty policies and make sure you understand them.


By shopping online, you’ll get to see hundreds of examples of vinyl replacement windows, which will help you make an informed choice. You’ll also be able to compare prices for vinyl replacement windows easily by getting online quotes.


To read more about replacement windows, click the link below!

Andersen wood-clad replacement windows.
Andersen wood-clad replacement windows.

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