By Margaret Winfrey
When you feel the time is right for replacement windows, you should give some thought to what you want from them. Should you choose something modern, such as gleaming white vinyl windows or go traditional with bay windows or even wooden sashes like your grandma might have had? Then you have cost to consider, and how savings in energy costs due to improved insulation might offset the cost of your windows.
Then you have color, in fact, when you think about it, it’s not necessary the simple choice you thought it would be. How about the material of construction, and should you give serious consideration to vinyl windows rather than more solid wooden or metal frames?
However, wood is heavy, not only in weight but also in maintenance time since it has to be stained, varnished or painted and it tends to expand or swell under various weather conditions so that it occasionally fails to close properly. Metal windows are the same, and these too can tend to chip if painted, and lose their sparkle if not.
In fact, ease of maintenance is one of the major reasons for most people opting for vinyl when they decide to replace their existing windows. They look really good even after years of use, and all they need is the occasional wipe down with vinyl cleaner to keep them sparkling clean.
Nevertheless, these are no more than aesthetic benefits of using vinyl windows and there are many more compelling reasons for using them as replacement windows than just looks. Here are some of the reasons for so many people choosing vinyl windows over any other type of window.
1. Vinyl windows are generally multi-glazed, and while double glazed windows are good insulators, the triple-glazed windows that are becoming increasingly more popular offer unbelievable savings in energy costs, keeping the heat in during cold winter months, and increasing the effectiveness of your air conditioner cooling during hot summers. While double glazing offers a layer of air between the two panes, triple glazing provides two layers that offer an exceptionally high degree of insulation.
2. Replacements windows made of vinyl are virtually scratch free, and require no maintenance other an occasional clean with vinyl window cleaner, or just plain old soap and water that does the job perfectly well. No painting or scraping, and they do not age the same as windows made using other materials.
3. You have a fantastic choice of colors, styles and sizes. Whether you prefer casement or sliding windows, you have a choice of many colors in the sizes you need. Sash windows, also known as double hung, replicate the traditional style of wooden sashes in vinyl, but cleaner and with lovely sharp lines. You can also get bow or bay vinyl windows to make the most of the space in your room – the choice is practically unlimited!
4. The price you will pay for vinyl windows is lower than that of any other type. It is almost unbelievable to consider that you get all these benefits at lower prices than you would pay for other replacement windows with fewer benefits. These windows are truly a magnificent bargain, yet they will last longer, save more on heating bills and require less maintenance than any other type of window. Not only that, but you have many more options when matching the windows with your home – both internally and externally.
There are disadvantages of course, and it would be disingenuous not to mention these. Vinyl replacement windows can discolor in extreme weather conditions, particularly in intense heat, and because they cannot be painted you either have to accept this or replace them. However, the level of heat would have to be greater than would reasonable be expected in the USA.
They can also be expensive if you need them customized to your requirements. They can be neither resized after fitting nor shaped to any customized requirement without costing extra. The manufacturing process is simple, which helps to maintain low costs, but it is a process that is fixed and any customization involving changing production settings will cost more according to ten degree of change from standard requested.
Finally, while vinyl windows will improve the resale cost of your home, it will not do so to the same extent as replacement windows of other materials. Nevertheless, most people choose their windows for looks rather than the price they will get when they sell their home, and in the looks department triple-glazing wins every time.
If you feel that your home could do with a makeover, nothing is better than giving it a fresh set of eyes, and where replacement windows are concerned, nothing looks better, cleaner, and fresher than vinyl windows that completely change the look of your home and also save you a great deal in heating and cooling costs.
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