What's wrong with PVC? And more...

eleenaMarch 16, 2012

I mean windows, not the environment.

Yes, I do care about the latter very much, support non-profits working to protect it, and do everything I can myself, including composting, buying organic, etc. :-)

And yes, I know that PVC manufacturing is not the best thing for it.

But that aside, I want to know about PVC performance. We went to a showroom this morning and looked at sevreal different products. Neither of us liked the looks of vinyl but the PVC windows looked just fine.

Right now, I am not looking to save money as much as finding a window that is less likely to rot in 20 years.

I like the looks of aluminum cladded wood but I am concerned about moisture getting behind the clad, as one of the expert PPs explained on another thread (about PT wood).

The PVC windows were Winsor Legend. The installer (highly recommended by my ID) who had already been to our house to measure the windows, said they'd fit right into our openings (we have wood windows with 4 9/16 jambs right now). They also carry Lincoln and some other brands but he has chosen Winsor Legend for us.

Are these windows any good?

The quoted ratings (with LoE II 240 glass) are as follows:

U-value=0.29, SHGC=0.16, CR=0.56, AL=0.22, VT 0.25. If I am reading the website correctly, DP=30 (it was not on the quote).

Except for VT, everything looks OK to me. Does it to you?

And I am not sure whether low VT is bad in this very sunny climate.

However, another "window guy" was adamant about PVC being a low performer and the possibility of it warping in 5 years.

Who is telling me the truth?

HELP please!

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1) Where is your location? If anything less than Texas, Fla, AZ, etc, that SHGC is way to low. 2)The Air leakage rating is also pretty embarrassing (although not far off from many wood and fiberglass choices). 3) There is nothing inherently wrong with cellular PVC at all, this just does not appear to be a great product- nor do the other options that you are mentioning. 4) Windsor and Lincoln are both most well known for their builder grade wood windows circa 1980's-90's that were really poor. What vinyl windows did you look at? Cheap vinyl really gives a bad rap to the high quality choices, especially in appearance... You need to decide your priorities for the project. If the beauty of wood is paramount, the performance is going to suffer. If performance is very important, then I'd go back to some premium vinyl choices, or some higher quality composites like Starmark or Inline (fiberglass). You'll find the $$$ savings that you are looking for in vinyl as well. If you are going to go wood, I'd stick with the big boys: Marvin, Andersen, Kolbe, and possibly Pella's higher end models, just know that you are going to pay for it.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2012 at 5:47PM
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Location means a lot as for Glass & Material choice. Cellular PVC is a great choice, but read the Mfg. warranty about type of paint & color, especially if you live in the Sunbelt States. Fiberglass would be my 1st. choice if it is in the budget. Most have a Fiberglass Brick-Mould or flat exterior casing available, 4-9/16" jambs, custom sizes, several exterior colors(or paint any color), Interiors in wood or fiberglass, Etc. Look at Marvin(1st. in sales), Milgard(great warranty), Weather Shield, Inline & others if available in your area. Cellular PVC should be less $ even after painting. Windsor Legend is ok, but look at Lincoln Innovation Collection(hybrid exterior) with Pine Interior. Lincoln & others make a wood window with vinyl clad exterior you might like. If you are in the Sunbelt go for the lowest#SHGC available, but, VT 0.25 is too dark for me. Good Luck !

    Bookmark   March 17, 2012 at 1:06PM
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