1. Around here, wood windows cost more than double the price of vinyl.
What is the reason?
2. I have lovely old fir windows that are fine, except they only hold a
single thickness of glass. Has there been anybody who has succeeded in
converting such windows into thermal, dual-pane windows without adding
flying buttresses? There is plenty of sill, in good condition.
3. If we do replace the windows, the local guy recommends
Therm-o-proof vinyl windows manufactured by Therm-o-proof Manufacturing
in Chemainus, BC. Local company, good idea ... anybody have experience
with these windows?
4. What is the expected lifetime of vinyl windows? Our current wood
windows are about 70 years old. What breaks down first, the vinyl, the
mechanisms in operable windows, or the glass units themselves? Or All
of the Above?
I moved into this house 20 years ago and the first thing I did was to
replace the old steel frame casement windows with vinyl replacement
windows. It cost about $200 each installed and I thought that was
Now, I'm replacing the vinyl units with Andersen vinyl coated wood
windows. The Andersen windows are about $300 each for just the window.
I am getting good at installing them. The trim pieces required add
to the cost but I get a better looking job than I see from some of the
If I were younger, I would start a company to make replacement
double-pane panes for old windows. That's a great idea.
My intuition says vinyl windows will last a long time. I have the ones
I removed stacked along the back side of the house. I'll probably reuse
them in a shed or something. They don't show any aging after 20 years.
One negative about vinyl: they attract dirt. All plastic does. So if
you have full house air conditioning/heating, you don't have to worry.
But they certainly do attract all the pollen and dirt in the air.
Another caution is that vinyl windows have a very thick frame. Mine are
about 2.5 inches on every side. That cuts down on the viewing area. I
didn't think it would matter, but it does. So, go look at somebody's
house that has vinyl replacement windows in it.
Thanks, Stubby !
Looks like your new vinyl-coated wood windows are less than 2x as
vinyl windows, so that deepens the mystery of why the wood-only windows
are so expensive ... unless it's simply that bonding the glass units to
the frame is the tricky
bit. If the vinyl coating is shaped to form the seal to the glass
units, that would be it.
So ... why did you replace the old vinyl windows if they are A-OK ?
The Therm-o-proof windows have a wide "rebate flange", a flat area
that runs parallel to
the glass, but outside the house to allow good contact area with the
siding (or in our case the existing wood of the multi-window units), I
presume for better support and sealing. I don't have any figures, but
perhaps a wider rebate flange allows them to use a slightly narrower
margin. Since the wood frames that would be coming out already have a
width of close to 2 inches, I don't think that the amount of light
coming in will change much.
Aside from questions of longevity, our other problem is the "look" of
the vinyl windows. Somehow, wooden windows, even if they need a coat
of paint, tend to look OK, but vinyl windows tend to look ugly. Wood
siding looks good; vinyl siding, even when it is "grained", looks like
vinyl siding. I wish it weren't so.
We don't normally walk about looking critically at houses, but my wife
and I have strolled in Nanaimo and Vancouver, where the typical housing
stock is say 0 to 60 years old, and your typical house tends to have
ugly windows. The worst looking are the old aluminum sliders, vinyl
looks a bit better but never great, and the best looking are the old
wood windows in varying states of disrepair. Commercial buildings and
houses that have been retrofitted to be restaurants tend to have better
looking (thermal) picture windows. The only things visible from inside
or out is the wood that holds the window in place, the glass, and a
thin metal strip embedded in the frame between the dual panes of glass.
I wonder if they can't do that for residences.
So I want to reduce the winter heating bill with more efficient
windows, but if beauty and longevity "go out the window", I throw hands
up in despair. It was good to hear your experience of good longevity
with your vinyl windows.
We didn't order any windows. Imagine my surprise, then, when on Monday
night the window installer that we got the quote from, phones to say
that the windows are ready, is Wednesday OK to install?
I suppose that he might simply have made a mistake, confused his
"quotes" stack with his "orders" stack. Or maybe somebody left a
message on his answer machine but is going to be window-free this
winter. But I wonder, is it a common thing in the windows biz to, ah,
rush the client in this way? And how do I find out if he has a track
record of doing this? Is there a better try than a phone call to the
Better Business Bureau?
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