Low Costs and High Performance Make Vinyl the Top-Selling Window Material
While it's true that installing new windows can be an expensive home improvement project, it's also true that old windows are a money sieve that will end up costing you more the longer you delay replacing them. Vinyl windows are an attractive option to homeowners who want efficient, durable windows but don't want to pay a fortune for them.
Although vinyl is sometimes knocked for its obviously-synthetic appearance, it is extremely practical, as evidenced by the fact that vinyl represents about two-thirds of the residential window market. The reasons why vinyl windows appeal to so many homeowners are explained below.
- Durability: Made from nearly-indestructible polyvinyl chloride (PVC), vinyl is resistant to impacts, corrosion, water damage, and warping. Provided they are of good quality (not every vinyl window is created equal, so be sure to buy from a reputable manufacturer) and properly installed, vinyl windows should require little or no maintenance for years to come.
- Energy Efficiency: Vinyl is an excellent insulator, and because the material isn't prone to warping or settling, cracks and gaps aren't likely to form. Whether you're trying to get through a hot summer or a freezing winter - or simply don't like the idea of using more energy than necessary - vinyl windows help make your home airtight and efficient. For the greatest efficiency, choose windows that are EnergyStar rated.
- Savings: Although conserving energy is a valuable end in itself, the lower annual utility bills that vinyl windows contribute to are nothing to scoff at, either. And vinyl's relatively low cost means you'll be saving money right out of the gate.
Vinyl Versus The Competition
The following is a brief overview of how vinyl windows stack up to their competitors:
- Vinyl vs. Wood: Wood "purists" who insist on the real thing do so at a price. Wood windows not only cost more than vinyl ones, but tend to be plagued by costly upkeep as wood inevitably succumbs to water damage.
- Vinyl vs. Aluminum: Aluminum, while strong, durable, and a favorite among architects due to its low-profile frames and sashes, is more expensive than vinyl and doesn't insulate as well. Also, unlike vinyl, aluminum can corrode in coastal areas and is susceptible to scratching.
- Vinyl vs. Fiberglass: Fiberglass windows compare favorably to vinyl (if not better) in regards to performance, but cost about twice as much.
Vinyl Window Costs
The actual cost of vinyl windows depends on the type and number of units purchased, local labor and material costs, the complexity of the installation, and other factors.
- A basic, double hung vinyl window costs $150 to $200. Upgrade to a better, more energy-efficient unit and you're looking at $250 to $500 per window. The highest quality vinyl windows, including those with triple panes, gas-filling, or accessories such as easy-tilt cleaning, custom color, and tinting, can run as high as $1,000 apiece, as can custom-sized windows or oversized windows (such as bay windows).
- Vinyl window installation costs $75 to $200 per window.
- Replacing all the windows in a home with new vinyl ones is typically a $10,000 job at the minimum, and in some cases can cost $15,000 to $20,000 or more.