Another common material used in the construction of storm windows is vinyl. Vinyl storm windows can provide an excellent alternative to wood and aluminum if those do not meet your expectations. It is a fairly durable material that can stand up to some abuse but does require a little maintenance to protect its integrity. The following section will explore some of the pros and cons of using vinyl storm windows on your home as well as some tips on choosing the right ones. It is important to understand the benefits and negative qualities of each type as they do fit neatly into different uses.
Vinyl storm windows are manufactured in a variety of styles and colors. This eliminates the need to paint the frames to match with the color and style of the home. The joining process with welded corners also provides very efficient insulation against energy transfer through the joints of the frame.
Storm windows manufactured out of vinyl have a much lower maintenance requirement than their aluminum and wooden counterparts. This is simply due to the nature of the materials they are made from. Vinyl storm windows typically are about half the cost of full replacement windows for a home. Prices may vary depending on your area.
One may find that vinyl storm windows tend to be less expensive than other materials. Cheap is a bad word to describe it, as a high quality vinyl storm window can be rather inexpensive compared to wood or aluminum. Vinyl is an extremely durable material that can stand up to a variety of external abuse. This can help protect your home from damage or intruders.
Removable window sashes from the frame make cleaning vinyl storm windows quite easy.
Vinyl storm windows mean one does not need to worry about rotting, warping, rusting, or constant painting to maintain a pleasing appearance.
While vinyl is extremely durable, it is very susceptible to extreme temperatures in either direction. This can cause significant warping or cracking of the vinyl. This is not a good material to choose if you live in an area with extreme temperatures. Most vinyl is treated with a coating to help protect it from UV rays and damage. This coating can wear thin with time. This will cause the vinyl storm windows to fade from constant exposure in extremely sunny climates.
A choice for vinyl storm windows usually comes down to a personal taste in conjunction with financial considerations. Two factors that should be considered with your vinyl windows are the U-value and R factor. The lower U-value signifies how well the window performs against losing heat to the exterior. The R factor of a window allows one to compare it to the efficiency of insulation in your walls and attic. The lower the U-value of the window the better it is. The opposite is true for R factor. One wants to have a high R factor for their storm windows.
Vinyl storm windows should have an Energy Star indicator on them. (If they do not, keep looking!) Energy Star guidelines are tailored to four different climate zones across the United States. This allows manufacturers and consumers to easily identify what products would work best in their respective area. A vinyl storm window produced for Maine will stand up to cold and be better tailored to prevent heat loss than a window produced for Florida. The window produced for Florida may be tailored to prevent cooling loss (from air conditioning) and withstand heavy forces in the event of tropical storms or hurricanes. Swapping the two would result in a very inefficient solution for your home.