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Question DetailsAsked on 8/28/2012

What do I look for when choosing a good vinyl window company?

what specificially am I looking for when choosing good quality replacement windows for my home?

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3 Answers


Decide first what you want to buy? An inexpensive $189 window or a Lexus wood window like Pella,Anderson etc. Since you say vinyl I am assuming cost is primary consideration so. A Low "E" glass with u value of around 30 , double pane would be my pick. White is 10% less usually than beige but I think the off white color is far more attractive. To save cost avoid the mullions that go inside of the glass to give the window the divided lite look. Vinyl windows are susseptable to warping so a strong frame can be a plus with insulation inside the hollow extrusion. A double hung window is Much less expensive than any other an specialty windows like bays, bows, garden windows and casement windows are more pricey. Consider buying non operable picture windows to save on cost. Most replacement windows reuse the old wood frame and the best install has the exterior casing wraped in a vinyl clad or painted aluminum. One note insist on a better grade of caulk (not cheap latex) on the window wrap and around the window insert, a non expanding foam to air & water seat the new window.

Warranties can be nice but pricey. A glass breakage warrantty is something few have a use for.

Jim Casper

40 years of selling replacement windows

Sales not an Installer

ps the Fiberglass window frame is the coming thing and far superior to vinyl but is very pricey


Answered 5 years ago by jccasper



1) U-FACTOR: The U-Factor rating shows how well a window product prevents heatfrom escaping. The LOWER the U-Factor number the better its resistance to heatflow and the better its insulating properties. U-Factor ratings generally fallanywhere between 0.20 and 1.20. (lower the better)
2) WHOLE WINDOW VALUES: Be sure the U-Factors you’re comparing are “wholewindow” values. Energy Star requires heat transfer measurements be taken at 20places on the window frame and glass. Some manufacturers report a“center-of-glass” value only, making their window appear more energy-efficientthan it actually is. If the U-Factor seems suspiciously low, ask them to showproof of its “whole window” rating.
3) ENERGY STAR CERTIFICATION: Energy Star is a U.S. government program managedby the Department of Energy. Energy Star® guidelines have helped double theenergy efficiency of the windows they endorse. To qualify for Energy Star®certification window brands must meet strict energy-efficiency standards, andhave a U-Factor rating of 0.30 or LESS. Look for the Energy Star® seal.
4) THE NFRC LABEL: NFRC stands for the National Fenestration Rating Council.Their label helps consumers compare the energy-efficiency of window products.Manufacturers participating in their program are required to label every windowwith its thermal performance ratings. The NFRC label shows the U-Factor, andthe Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, (SHGC). Solar Heat Gain is a measure of theinterior heat generated by sunlight through the window. The SHGC rating is atrade-off. A higher SHGC rating means more heat from sunlight keeping the housewarm in the winter, but also means less efficient cooling in the summer.
5) LOW-E COATED GLASS: Low-E is short for low-emissivity. It’s a very thin coatof material on the glass that reflects heat and ultraviolet radiation. Low-Ecoatings improve the energy-efficiency of clear glass by 30%.
6) GAS FILL: Window thermal performance is improved by adding argon or kryptongas between the two panes of glass. Argon and krypton gas minimize theconvection currents within the thin space between the glass, and reduce theoverall transfer of heat between the inside and outside by 20-to-30%. Krypton’sinsulating properties are slightly better than argon, but come at an addedcost.
7) WELDED FRAME: Low priced vinyl window frames often are screwed together atthe corners. Mechanically assembled frames loosen and lose their stability overtime. Higher quality vinyl windows have a "fusion welded frame". Awelded vinyl frame is far stronger.
8) TITANIUM DIOXIDE: Vinyl in a high quality window contains titanium dioxide.This compound brightens a white vinyl window by several shades, and protects itfrom future discoloration caused by the effects of the sun. Some manufacturersuse a cheaper method of preserving color called tinting. A pale blue tint tothe white vinyl is an indication that this method was used.
9) TRIPLE PANE GLASS: Most windows have double-pane glass, which means one paneof glass on the outside, one on the inside, and a pocket of air in between thetwo panes. As the name indicates, Triple-Pane glass has 3 layers. Theadditional layer of glass creates a 2nd air-pocket and a better insulatedwindow. Another advantage of Triple-Pane glass is noise reduction; the thickerglass unit helps to reduce outside noise inside your home. Triple-pane glassgenerally means a higher quality window. It's up to the consumer to decide ifits advantages are worth its higher cost.
10) THE MEASUREMENT: It seems so simple, but the most important factor ingetting the right replacement window is the measurement. A window that isslightly too large will experience stress and lose its structural stabilityover time. And obviously a window that is slightly too small creates gaps,reducing the insulating properties of the window. Learn the correct way tomeasure the opening, or have an experienced window installer take themeasurements.
11) FRAME WIDTH: Lower quality vinyl windows have a noticeably wider windowframe. The wider frame reduces the size of the glass area and sunlight in thehome. Higher quality windows have a thinner frame that allow more glass area,while still maintaining good energy-efficiency ratings.
12) THE WARRANTY: If you're not doing the installation yourself, make sure thewindows warranty is backed by both the manufacturer and the company doing theinstallation. Read the fine print. The best warranties are "non-prorated,"which means they cover the entire purchase price of the window for the warrantyterm, not a depreciated amount. Look for warranties that are "fullytransferable." That means when you sell your home the window warranty ispart of the deal. Also consider the stability and history of the companybacking the warranty.

MOST IMPORTANT: You want to look for not only the quality of the window, butfor the quality of the company installing them. Even the best window will losesome of its insulating value and operability if it is improperly installed. Usesources like Angie's List and the Better Business Bureau to check the trackrecords of the companies you are considering.

This question was answered by Rite Window® of Boston. Even though we are in thebusiness of selling and installing vinyl replacement windows, we made everyeffort to keep our answer as objective as possible. We understand there may be opposingviewpoints on the subject, and we welcome them, because widening discussion can only benefit the consumer. -Thank you

Answered 5 years ago by RiteWindow


Vinyl windows tend to yellow over time and finding if the company uses low-grade resin, as well as the chemicals, fillers, plasticizers, and pigments they use in the fabrication of their vinyl. Manufacturers that use high-grade materials have better abilities to maintain color.


Answered 4 years ago by HowlJames

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