Vinyl is an amazing material with a whole host of commercial uses. It’s a polymer derived from hydrocarbon-based raw materials such as petroleum and chlorine. In the construction industry, it’s used in everything from flooring to fencing to pipes to siding, and yes, replacement windows and doors. According to the Vinyl Institute, about 70% of vinyl, or PVC as it’s also known, is used in building and construction applications.
History of Vinyl
Vinyl was discovered by accident by a rubber scientist named Waldo Semon in the early 1920s. He was trying to create a synthetic adhesive, but instead stumbled upon a material called polyvinyl chloride that had some attractive properties. He started making golf balls and shoe heels out of the material.
As more uses for vinyl were discovered, more plants began manufacturing the material and developing new ways to produce it (if you’re interested in the technical details of how vinyl is produced, you can read about it here). By the mid-1900s, vinyl had become a staple in the construction industry, due to its durability and flame-resistant properties.
Vinyl windows were first produced in Germany following World War II because of a wood shortage. They were put into production in the United States in 1964 and quickly gained popularity due to their energy efficiency, thanks in part to the energy crisis of the 1970s.
Today, more than half of the residential windows sold in the United States are vinyl windows, and this trend doesn’t seem to be slowing. Technological advances continue to make vinyl windows even better and more energy efficient.
Benefits of Vinyl Windows
When it comes to vinyl window frames, there are many advantages that make them an excellent choice for San Diego homeowners.
They come at a great price point: Vinyl replacement windows come at a much lower price point than most windows with fiberglass or wood frames.
They are energy efficient: Vinyl is a poor conductor of heat, which is a good thing when it comes to windows and doors! You want your windows and doors to contain materials that don’t allow heat to easily pass through to the inside of your house. Aluminum, while sturdy, is a good conductor of heat and won’t do much to keep your home cool on a hot day. This is why many homeowners in San Diego with aluminum windows are opting to replace them with vinyl windows.
They are long lasting: When you buy good-quality vinyl replacement windows, you can expect them to last for many, many years. Because of this, reputable replacement window manufacturers are able to offer lifetime and even double lifetime warranties on their vinyl windows and doors.
They are virtually maintenance-free: With vinyl replacement windows, there is very little you have to do to keep your windows looking great and functioning properly—an attractive feature for busy San Diego homeowners.
Disadvantages of Vinyl Windows
Most of the disadvantages you’ll find with vinyl windows are associated with cheap vinyl windows. If you’ve heard someone talking about how vinyl windows yellow or warp over time, they likely had lower quality vinyl windows or purchased vinyl windows that weren’t made for their climate.
When you’re talking about high-quality vinyl windows, the only real disadvantages are:
They are difficult to paint. Paint doesn’t adhere well to vinyl, so if you think you’ll want to change the color of your window frames down the road, you should opt to go with windows that have a paintable frame, like wood or fiberglass. However, since the vast majority of homeowners want windows with white frames, vinyl windows are almost always a great choice!
The frames aren’t as strong as other materials. For the majority of windows, the strength of vinyl is perfectly adequate, but if you’re looking to install a huge picture window, for example, you may need to buy a window with an aluminum or fiberglass frame that can better support a very large piece of glass.
They aren’t period accurate. If you have an historic home, you likely want to maintain its traditional character. You may even be required to if you live in certain districts. Most owners of historic homes opt for wood windows in keeping with traditional construction materials.
As you can see, the advantages of vinyl replacement windows far outweigh the disadvantages. Most of the disadvantages don’t even apply to the majority of San Diego homeowners, who are simply looking for good, energy-efficient windows and doors at an affordable price.
We’d love to help you select the vinyl replacement windows and doors that will work best for your specific San Diego home. Contact us today to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation. One of our friendly and helpful team members will come to your home, answer all your questions, and leave you with a quote for new windows. We hope to hear from you soon!