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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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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      If iniormatfon were soccer, this would be a goooooal!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Awesome article. I know a few companies like who offer vinyl replacement windows.

    • elf_cash profile image


      10 years ago

      Excellent take on vinyl replacement windows.

    • nancy_30 profile image


      10 years ago from Georgia

      Very useful hub. Thanks for sharing this information.

    • profile image

      nike air max classic BW 

      10 years ago

      Hola he revisado su pagina, es muy interesante y una tematica muy interesante, ademas ofrecen mucha informacion para ese día tan especial. Me encantaria agregarles a mi directorio.

      Avisenme si les interesa.


    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      Lol, Don. Thanks for visiting!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      Right, Buckie! Replacement windows can really increase your home's value!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, Pam! If we ever finish our garage enclosure, we'll be using vinyl windows!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      HH, I appreciate your continued support!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      Bpop, have you looked at vinyl replacement windows?

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      Msorensson, thanks for reading!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      Oh, Eth - I wish you could get the tax credit for replacement windows!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      Nify, I totally agree! Replacement windows are a great investment all the way around!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      Lizzy - that's great to know about replacement windows for low-income homeowners!

    • Don Simkovich profile image

      Don Simkovich 

      10 years ago from Pasadena, CA

      Good analogy . . . the E rating is like sunscreen for glass.

    • akirchner profile image

      Audrey Kirchner 

      10 years ago from Washington

      Super info - and they SO increase the value of your home. We replaced ours in Puyallup years ago and the difference was incredible for heat and cool - not to mention sun UV rays - but the addition was a great selling point to our house along with all the other remodels we did.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      10 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Thanks for a lot of good information. This is really something we should consider.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      10 years ago from London, UK

      A very informative hub and a good job on advicing people. Well done.

    • breakfastpop profile image


      10 years ago

      Thanks for the advice. We are looking fro windows for the sunroom.

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      10 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, Nicomp! Tax credits are always good!

    • msorensson profile image


      10 years ago

      Educational and helpful. Thanks habee :-)

    • E M Smith profile image

      E M Smith 

      10 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Wish there was a tax credit for this in the UK. Ours need replacing

    • nifty@50 profile image


      10 years ago

      Great info! With an older home you can dress it up, save a ton on heating & cooling and increase the resale value all while getting a tax credit! That's like win,win,win.......Ka-ching!

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 

      10 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Good info. Additionally, in some areas, replacement windows, as well as added insulation, are available free from various county agencies for low-income homeowners. Which agencies can normally be found by contacting your utility company.

      In this case, you get what kind you get...with no choice in the matter of style, type or color: probably the cheapest available. However, they are still a great improvement over old aluminum-frame single-pane windows!

      Great hub!

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      10 years ago from Ohio, USA

      Great info. The tax credit is huge.


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