Vinyl or wood???

angeezOctober 15, 2012

We are replacing some of the windows in our home due to condensation on the inside of the home (recently found out it is collapsed glass that Anderson failed to mention when I called several times and now are out of warranty) and the wood is a dark ugly stain. We are really struggling with what material of window we want to get ......vinyl or wood. Our Anderson are 1991 and are wood/clad. I was leaning towards vinyl for the maintenace free aspect and that I can wipe off with a wet rag. BUT it seems the wood will last longer. Anyone have any thoughts??? Also, which brand would you recommend for vinyl or wood? I am so indecisive~~~~

THANKS!

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HomeSealed

You will need to decide what your goals and priorities are for the project. There is nothing that can match the beauty of a high end wood window like Marvin or Kolbe, however you've already experienced the downside of them as well. While vigilant maintenance will make wood windows last, it would be incorrect to think that it will outlast a window made of an inorganic material like vinyl or fiberglass. A quality vinyl window will offer a better warranty (lifetime vs 10 yrs against wood rot), less maintenance, superior energy-efficiency (lower u-values and air infiltration, etc), and will cost less. That said, appearance is certainly a significant factor. Some homes are done a disservice by anything less than a wood window.
Where are you located? That will often determine the which products are available to you. My top choices in wood are Marvin and Kolbe & Kolbe, and in vinyl HiMark, Okna, Sunrise, and Softlite. When comparing vinyl, make sure to take a close look at the thermal and structural performance ratings. It will be a very good indicator of overall quality.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 8:13PM
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angeez

HomeSealed......We live in Iowa. We are looking at Anderson and Marvin whose windows are wood on the inside and vinyl on the outside. What do you mean my vigilant maintenance and where can I find the thermal and structural performance ratings?
Thanks!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 10:28PM
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HomeSealed

I don't particularly care for a wood window with a vinyl clad exterior. Extruded aluminum or fiberglass exteriors are better choices for a wood window. Vinyl is good when it is the full window inside and out, I just don't like it as a cladding.
On maintenance, I mean making sure that moisture is not allowed to sit on the wood, and also making sure that the wood's finish is always in good shape. That may require refinishing every so often, which should probably be considered in the budget process as well.
On ratings, the thermal values (u-value, etc) are often listed in brochures, but if not they can be found at NFRC.org. The structural values are a bit trickier, as only the companies that offer excellent performance in this area will be very forthcoming with the data. Every window has a structural testing data sheet that your salesperson should be able to provide. You may be very surprised to see differences, especially in regards to air leakage.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 7:17AM
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windowsonwashington

+1

If wood interior is a requirement, I would look at either the Marvin Integrity, Inline Eternity, or Marvin Infinity.

If you are going with a white interior, I would look at a nice vinyl window and save the extra money.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 8:16AM
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angeez

ok, what would you considered a nice vinyl window. We are going with casement and I am just not finding one that is that appealing.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 11:43AM
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HomeSealed

I named a few in my first post above. They are going to be a few of the more appealing choices as far as vinyl goes... If you still are not satisfied with that appearance, then you probably do need to look at some other material choices.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 2:03PM
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angeez

Going to look at Sunrise this week and also Marvin Infinity. Any thoughts about Infinity? Thanks for all your help!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 2:55PM
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angeez

Going to look at Sunrise this week and also Marvin Infinity. Any thoughts about Infinity? Thanks for all your help!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 3:11PM
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HomeSealed

Two very good choices. Sunrise is definitely one of the more appealing vinyl casement units. Infinity is very nice to look at as well, you just may pay a premium. The performance ratings of the Infinity double hungs and sliders fall a bit short, however you should be fine with a nice tight seal in the casement configuration... You will not go wrong with either of those choices :)

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 4:10PM
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angeez

Thanks homesealed! I truly appreciate your input! I had it set in my head I was going with vinyl, but the more I talked to window dealers the more I got confused basically because they are telling me te expansion and contraction of vinyl is way worse than with wood and that wood lasts longer. I can't wait to see the Sunrise and Infinity this week.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 7:08PM
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HomeSealed

Non-issue Angeez.
1) The difference in expansion rate as it pertains to a residential window application is essentially nil.
2) Every product is designed and engineered with the inherent properties of it's material fully accounted for. If one were to give ANY credence to the expansion issue, it could easily be said that the welded construction of vinyl (vs mechanical fastening in fiberglass) is superior and negates any potential issues, as does the superior weatherstripping profile found in vinyl products.

There are great products in each of those materials, so I would focus more on the other factors: appearance, performance, price, and warranty rather than risk falling victim to the "salesmanship" that will be used by both sides.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2012 at 11:32PM
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windowsonwashington

+1

The expansion and contraction argument is cited quite often and has little to zero weight in this case.

A good window is a good window regardless of material construction.

Infinity makes a very nice window as does Sunrise. Once you see good vinyl (i.e. Sunrise, Okna, Soft-Lite), you will see there is a clear material difference between what you may think of vinyl and what is out there.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 9:01AM
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angeez

ok, we have decided. Got a quote from Infinity Marvin which is higher than what we wanted but we are tired of looking for a nice appearance casement window and these are very appealing. For 7 casement windows (3 are 6 ft tall) for a full replacement (including jams which we are buying and staining ourselves), the total is $6800. Does this sound reasonable?????

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 2:01PM
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windowsonwashington

Very reasonable.

Make sure the spray foam around them and use a nailing flange and water infiltration (i.e. flashing) around them.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 5:01PM
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angeez

Spray insulation foam or fiberglass insulation?

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 11:17PM
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windowsonwashington

Spray foam is more ideal.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 11:24PM
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HomeSealed

Sounds reasonable. Good choice overall :)

    Bookmark   October 25, 2012 at 4:44PM
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