Getting Technical: The Details Of Vinyl Windows

If you are work as a general residential contractor, then one of the critical aspects of your job is recommending the right products to your clients. Whether constructing a new home or renovating an old one, window selection will have a significant impact on energy efficiency, aesthetics, and functionality. Choosing a reliable supplier is essential, but so is understanding the products that they sell. This guide will help to give you the confidence to recommend the right windows to your clients and to work more efficiently with your suppliers.

Not All Vinyl Windows Are The Same

Many people view vinyl windows as a cheaper alternative to more premium wood windows, but nothing could be further from the truth. Most suppliers carry vinyl windows to suit any budget or house, from cost-cutting starter homes to high-end estates. Recognizing that vinyl can fit into almost any home plan is an integral part of ensuring that your clients are aware of all of their options. When considering the quality of windows, there are two critical characteristics to keep in mind: vinyl quality and frame construction.

The quality of the material itself is the most significant determiner of how long the window will remain attractive. Low-quality vinyl can fade and yellow over time. Nothing can prevent this process can happening altogether, but additives can help to reduce its effects and keep the window looking good for longer. Frame construction is another vital consideration. Since vinyl can potentially warp over time, well-constructed frames are necessary to keep windows squared up and prevent difficult or noisy operation.

Coming To Terms With The Terminology

Quality is critical, but it's not the only thing that matters. Choosing the right windows is also a matter of understanding the terminology used by manufacturers so that you aren't recommending windows that are more expensive than needed or that fail to meet crucial requirements.

Of the terms you are likely to encounter, U-factor is the one to heed the most. This characteristic describes the ability of a window to resist the flow of heat. A lower value indicates a greater ability to insulate. When comparing U-factors, always look for overall or whole window U-factor. This term measures the insulating capabilities of the entire window, including the vinyl frame. Values of 0.3 or lower should be considered a minimum in any climate with cold winters.

Low-E glass is another common modern window term. Low-E glass has been treated to reject UV radiation, reducing its ability to transfer heat from the outside. Low-E glass is designed to minimize radiation from both sides of the window, meaning that it is helpful in both warm and cold climates. The primary advantage of Low-E coatings is that they allow double pane windows to provide similar performance to triple-pane windows.

Putting It All Together

Knowing a bit about the windows you are recommending is the best way to make sure that you can provide your clients with reliable recommendations that fit their needs and budgets. Keep the above information in mind and always remember to choose windows based on the particular climate that the home will be located in.