How long would you expect a vinyl replacement window to last?

theporchguyFebruary 29, 2008

I've installed windows and doors for various dealers in the Northeast for nearly thirty years. I am recently retired from the trade. It paid the bills.

My first love has always been porches, especially the old ones. But I thought I'd share what I've learned about windows and their warranties during this time.

Just last year when I laid my hammer and tool belt to rest, I began noticing that a good 1/3rd of the windows I was taking out last year and replacing with new vinyl windows were themselves vinly replacement windows installed just 5 to 10 years ago. I mean, I was wondering, how many times do you want to replace your windows? Most people thought when they bought their new windows origionally that they would last a lifetime.

Take a look at some of the warranties out there. They usually say something like LIFETIME WARRANTY or LIMITED LIFETIME WARRANTY.

If your like most people, this sounds pretty good and is what we're looking for - a window that we'll only have to buy once.

Remember that the warranty offered by the manufacturers are to protect themselves, not you.

When you actually read a window warranty, go down to the EXCLUSIONS & NOT COVERED UNDER WARRANTY section. You will be amazed at all the things that void the lifetime warranty. Improper installation is usually the first one.

If your having trouble with your windows and call

your dealer and he sends the manurfacturer out, he may say something like - "These windows were perfect when they left our factory. There is nothing wrong with these windows. Ther're not installed properly."

You better get in touch with your dealer and have him correct the installation."

Now the circle of events begins. From mfgr to dealer to installer and back.

Look a little further in the warranty and you'll discover that the insulating glass panels they use are usually only covered for maybe 10 years.

If you read a vinly replacement window warranty, it is basically telling when its' parts and glass are eventually going to fail. Even the "Name Brand " windows have exclusions that void their warranty.

Big Box Store vinyl windows are what we (Installers) call "Disposables."

There not going to last that long.

Previous posts on this site mentioned the importance of the integrity of the company your're dealing with and the professionalism of their installers. They are so right.

Properly installed quality vinyl replacement windows do have their benefits. Less heat loss throught the glass. Especially with Low E and Argon. A quieter home. A newer looking home.

Just to wrap up, with what you know now, don't expect new vinyl replacement windows to last your lifetime. They won't.

A good dealer and installer will definitely maximized the life expectancy of your window replacement project.

All the Best,

The Porch Guy

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How long do you expect windows to last?

Here is a link that might be useful: My Album

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 6:01PM
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We still have most of our original 1918 wood framed I'd say that if properly maintained, windows can last at least 90 years. I don't ever expect to replace these windows in our lifetime (we're late 40's).

We also have new Marvin wood framed and I expect them to last at least until we both croak. They replaced vinyl which looked awful, horrible, terrible on our home.

Everything that you have said about vinyl windows and a max of 10 year life is THE reason we didn't buy vinyl.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2008 at 8:40PM
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When a window company says lifetime warranty, is that human life or dog life? A windows lifetime is 20 years. People also don't realize that most warranties are only good for the original owner. Very few people these days stay in the same home for 10-20 years and these companies know this. So their free and clear from their window problems for most homes. Also you could have the best window and if it is not installed properly it will give you problems no matter what.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 12:12AM
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