We could talk about all of the window problems you can have with vinyl replacement windows until we run out of breath. But, we thought that we should bring in the experts. Then you can see that we aren’t the only ones that believe you should stay away from installing vinyl windows.
Vinyl has a problem with withstanding the outside elements, which doesn’t a whole lot of sense if you think about it. Windows are essentially a moveable barrier to keep the outside elements from the inside of the house. They are also installed with half of the window facing the outside of the house. So, shouldn’t the window be built to handle anything that is outside?
Here are two government agencies that also question vinyl’s durability against outside elements:
“Plastic siding can buckle in hot weather if not installed properly. It can become brittle and crack if it is struck. Where hail is common, vinyl is not the best choice.” (U.S. Dept. of Agriculture)
“PVC is not an ideal choice. This is particularly so for the colder climates of the far north, where greater temperature differences are a concern. PVC expands (or contracts) four times faster with temperature changes than does either wood or fiberglass. This stresses the external caulk weather seal. During times of extreme cold, the window literally shrinks away from the wood rough opening.” (University of Alaska)
Longevity Window Problems for Vinyl
Because vinyl has not been around long enough it is hard to determine for sure how long it lasts. We do know that windows that were installed 3 decades ago have started to fail at rapid rates. There are also other sources that have calculated their own longevity numbers for vinyl.
“The average lifetime of a PVC (vinyl) window is 15 years.” (Germany EPA 2003)
“I’ve seen entire buildings full of replacement windows fail from manufacturers who have gone out of business. This happened commonly throughout the 80’s.” (Boston Globe)
“Vinyl-clad and PVC frames on the interior will off gas over time releasing small amounts of vinyl chloride, a known carcinogen in humans. Vinyl, especially when colored, tends to turn brittle and discolor over time. (5 to 10 years in some cases).” (Greenhousing.umn.edu)
“Vinyl has a life expectancy of about 20 years. The plasticizers in vinyl will evaporate over time, making the vinyl brittle and subject to cracking. What costs are imposing on future owners?” (Planfield Historic Preservation)
These are just a very, very small handful of experts that have spoken out against vinyl windows. Vinyl has many faults that homeowners are left to deal with after they have been installed. Worst of all, is that these homeowners will end up paying more for repairs and an endless cycle of replacement windows.
To avoid facing these window problems, listen to the experts and go with a better quality of window instead of the cheaper vinyl option. Schedule an in-home consultation with a Renewal by Andersen team member to discuss the best options available.