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The Vinyl Replacement Windows Buyer's Guide

Why Buy Vinyl Replacement Windows?

The Aluminum Window Blues

The original aluminum windows in our home had become dirty and discolored.
The original aluminum windows in our home had become dirty and discolored.

From the very first time my husband and I toured our current home as prospective buyers, it was clear the windows needed to be replaced. The house was built in the early sixties when aluminum frame, single-pane windows were standard. After purchasing the house, however, other (more inexpensive) home improvement projects took priority over replacement windows.

We had a ballpark idea of what it would cost to replace the seven aluminum windows and three large sliding glass doors. At the time, it seemed astronomical. After three years in the house, we finally decided it was time to upgrade to vinyl replacement windows despite the considerable costs involved. We'd completed many other home improvements and realized how much new windows would improve our home's livability. This was due to several reasons.

Energy Efficiency

We live in a region with a mild climate, but the house was still perpetually cold in the winter and warm in the summer. We'd spent a good deal of money on a new heating and cooling system and wanted to maximize its efficiency while taming our skyrocketing utility bills. Single-pane windows are notoriously energy inefficient, allowing air to circulate between the outside and the inside of the house. This became evident on the windy day I glanced at our vertical blinds and noticed them swaying in the (outside) breeze!

Vinyl dual-pane replacement windows also offer sun protection. Many companies apply a "low-e" coating to the glass, which blocks out a significant percentage of the sun's harmful UV rays. This protects your carpets and your furniture and, most importantly, your family from sun exposure.


The locks on our aluminum windows were flimsy and would easy for a burglar to break.
The locks on our aluminum windows were flimsy and would easy for a burglar to break.

Safety was another reason we decided to take the vinyl replacement window plunge. The old windows had flimsy or non-existent locks and my husband had installed "turnscrew" locks on the window track as an added precaution. We knew this system was far from failsafe and that vinyl windows offered solid locking mechanisms and burglar-proof features.

In addition, another safety concern was for our rambunctious two-year-old who sometimes pushed/fell/banged on the wobbly single-pane windows and doors. With non-shatterproof, single pane glass, we were extremely concerned this could be very dangerous should the glass break due to a toddler accident.

Noise Reduction

Another key reason we decided to replace the aluminum frame windows was the noise factor. Our street is busy with commuter traffic in the mornings and afternoons and the traffic noise can be very loud. We also have noisy neighbors on both sides of us. Dual-pane windows provide a significant noise barrier that practically eliminate outside sound. Now we can actually sleep when the dog next door barks all night!


Of course, aesthetics is a major reason to consider vinyl replacement windows. They simply look better. In our case, the window frames were a hodge-podge of silver and black (someone had obviously gone wild with spray paint). Companies offer a variety of styles and finishes, from frames that look like real wood to flanges in a variety of sizes. You can often customize the window finishes to match your home's paint color scheme.

Finally, vinyl windows can add to your home's resale value. Unattractive windows can be a deal-killer for even the most beautiful home. It almost stopped us from buying our current house. Figures vary, but some studies show that new vinyl windows can add $20,000 - $30,000 to a home's asking price.

NEXT: New Construction vs. Retrofit Windows >

Buyer's Guide Contents
Why Vinyl Windows
New Construction vs. Retrofit Windows
Getting Estimates
Vinyl Window Features
Exterior Appearance
Energy Efficiency Ratings
Building Codes, Permits and Fire Codes
Installation Process
Life with Our New Vinyl Windows
Window Rebates & Credits
2011 Federal Tax Credit
Atlanta, GA Rebate
Georgia Power Rebate
Long Beach, CA Rebate
Virginia State Rebate
Window Manufacturers
Before and After Photos
Vinyl Windows
Vinyl Patio Doors

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