Case Studies

Replacement Windows Case Studies: Why do vinyl windows fail?

Thursday, February 15th, 2018 by Michael Gabrian


When exploring your window options, it’s easy to sway towards the vinyl option. They’re one of the cheaper options, but unfortunately, you often get what you pay for.

Before making a solid decision, you want to consider the value of what you're buying. So let’s talk a bit about some of the potential problems you’ll see when choosing vinyl windows.

Vinyl windows contract and expand

A common problem a lot of homeowners face is the expansion and contraction of their vinyl windows during hot and cold weather. With these changes comes issues in structural integrity, air infiltration, and problems with just opening and closing the window.

The warping can also do some damage to the seal. Not only does this combat your energy efficiency, it allows moisture to wiggle it’s way through, getting trapped between panes. This can cloud your view and possibly lead to some mold.

Shorter lifetime

If you’re careful, a vinyl window can last anywhere from 20 to 40 years. But we have to consider damage caused by the sun, moisture, and other environmental factors.

If we factor in that your vinyl window’s durability will be tested by the hot sun in the summer, cold winters, rain, etc. It’s safe to say you’ll see signs of damage in less than 10 years.

They may not be the most energy-efficient option

Technically, yes, double paned vinyl windows are energy efficient because the argon gas caught between the layers prevent heat from moving through the glass.

We still have to keep in mind the threat of a compromised seal. Once the seal between the two panes is broken, the argon gas has a way to escape, significantly decreasing your energy efficiency by allowing hot and cool air to move in and out of your home.

Glass real estate

Vinyl isn’t as strong as options like wood and fiberglass, so you’ll need more vinyl to the carry the glass. This just means the glass space on your window will be smaller, which isn’t a huge deal, it just impedes on the aesthetics you might be aiming for.


If you do your research on the big types of windows, you’ll learn a lot about what gives a window more quality and better value. 

Vinyl windows are a popular choice and they aren’t a bad one either if you only plan on staying in your home for a couple of years. If you find a quality vinyl window and have it installed carefully and correctly, you’ll see it can have a fine lifespan. If you’re looking for something that will last long, look good, and have top performance without breaking the budget, fiberglass might be the better choice.


To get a free estimate on our fiberglass windows, click here.

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