The first and most important consideration is the overall quality of the vinyl window. Since vinyl windows are made from PVC, the quality of the PVC is a very important factor. Technology has come a long way, so the vinyl material of today is a better product than it was 10 years ago. Furthermore, advances in structural design and changes in the manufacturing process have produced higher quality vinyl windows.
The second consideration is the manufacturer’s warranty. If a manufacturer has confidence in their product, they will stand behind it and obviously offer a lifetime or limited lifetime warranty. Many times the labor will not be included in the warranty, so it’s very important to ask about the contractor about this. The details are typically spelled out in the small print, so it’s important to carefully read all the warranty information and to ask questions if anything seems vague.
The third thing to consider is the reputation of the dealer and installer. This is very important since the warranty may depend on proper installation. There are ways to quickly research your dealer and installer: the internet, Angie’s List, and through manufacturer recommendations. Furthermore, reputable companies will often share client recommendations and testimonials. It is also almost impossible for a dishonest contractor to hide in the internet-dependent society we live in today.
Finally, choosing a window rated for your climate as well as properly maintaining it could affect the life of your window. Vinyl windows are quite susceptible to warping and becoming inoperable if the conditions where they are installed are not “perfect.” In the South Texas climate, the extreme fluctuation between summer temperatures of over 100 degrees and winter temperatures of under 30 degrees generally cause significant expansion and contraction in vinyl window frames. Additionally, dark-colored frames fare even worse in the extreme heat than light-colored frames; consequently, many manufacturers don’t even offer dark colored vinyl windows at all. Furthermore, the use and care guide will detail any maintenance you are required to perform in order for your warranty to remain valid.
To sum it up, in the San Antonio area, a vinyl window that meets the following requirements will most likely last around 15 years before showing major signs of needing replacement:
- High-quality window
- Properly installed
- Shaded, or at least not directly facing the west
- Comes with a good warranty
When those ideal conditions are not met, the life-expectancy of a vinyl window begins to decrease dramatically, even going as low as 5 years. Keep all this in mind when researching and choosing the right windows for your home.
Any more questions about vinyl windows? Leave us a question below or contact us directly; we’d love to hear from you!