Things to Consider when Buying Vinyl Windows

If you have already made the decision to purchase new windows, then you probably have spent a lot of time deciding on the right material to use. While wood and fiberglass are common, vinyl windows in San Diego are also growing in popularity. They are a durable option, affordable, and practically maintenance free. But that isn’t all you need to know. Here are a few things to keep in mind when purchasing vinyl windows:

1. Not all Vinyl is the Same

Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is a construction grade plastic used in vinyl windows. Some vinyl is newly made from fresh material (aka virgin vinyl). Other types of vinyl are re-ground (aka recycled vinyl). Now, the makeup of the vinyl is not as important as the thickness you choose for new windows. Take a look at cross sections of the frame and measure vinyl thickness. Thickness can be a good measurement for quality. Thicker, heavier vinyl is probably better. This is especially true if you need windows of larger size and stature. You can also ask about using metal reinforcements inside the window frame to improve stability.

2. Look at the Corners

Want a high quality vinyl window? Then look at how the corners are held together. Top manufactures use fusion-welding to bond corners in an unbreakable joint. Other manufactures use screws or chemical welding for the corners. These are functional joints, but are more likely to leak over time.

3. Read and Understand the Label

The National Fenestration Ratings Council (NFRC) makes it easy to compare the energy efficiency of every window—even when comparing products of the same material. The primary goal of this non-profit organization is to compare and measure the performance of windows and doors. Now the label will not tell you if a window is good or bad. It is up to you. If you have questions Clear Concepts can help. We understand performance levels and measurements for the best U-factor, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC), and Visible Light Transmittance (VT).

4. Find the Blue Star

If energy-efficiency is your incentive for getting replacements, then look for vinyl windows touting the Energy Star label. Energy Star ratings involve the U-Value and SHGC. These labels determine superior energy efficiency in different climate zones. For San Diego, CA you want a window with a U-value of 0.35 and below, and a SHGC of 0.30 and below. You can also check local building codes to make sure you have the right energy ratings for your area.

5. Don’t Rely on Price Alone

While typically true, you don’t always get what you pay for. When it comes to vinyl windows many manufacturers will have similar pricing, but some can fluctuate by about 25%. Don’t just settle for windows with the lowest, or highest price. Also consider the warranties and understand the offered coverages. You need to know what kind of warranty it is, how long the coverage lasts, if it is non-pro-rated or pro-rated, and if it is transferable to the next homeowner if you sell your home.

Still want help choosing the best vinyl windows in San Diego? Clear Concepts can help! You can call our office at (619) 583-7171 or visit our store front at 7525 Mission Gorge Rd. Suite G, San Diego, CA 92120. We will happily help you look at options and help you choose the right solutions for your new window needs.


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