Vinyl windows replacement: a buyer’s guide

Image source: Universal Windows Direct

Chris Gennone

By Chris Gennone

July 29, 2021

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Whether you’re looking to replace your windows for more ventilation, energy efficiency, or protection against storms, replacing your windows is a great way to save money and increase curb appeal. While other materials like aluminum and wood are popular window options, they can become expensive and difficult to maintain. Vinyl replacement windows on the other hand offer similar functionality with less maintenance at a fraction of the cost. But with so many styles and brands to choose from, choosing the right window replacement can be stressful. This guide will help you make the right decision.

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Top replacement vinyl window manufacturers

Pella

Pella vinyl windows installed in a sitting room

Image source: Pella

Average price range: $100-$600

Pella is one of the largest patio door and vinyl window manufacturers, featuring a selection of casement windows, awning windows, picture windows, and single-hung or double-hung windows. Pella’s vinyl replacement window offerings include its highly energy-efficient triple-pane 250 series, Encompass by Pella, and its more expensive Hurricane Shield series and Defender series. While Pella often compares to Andersen in terms of quality and price, Andersen does not make window frames entirely out of vinyl, instead opting for wood fiber and polymer composite material.

Find a local contractor with vinyl window experience.

Simonton

Simionton vinyl windows installed on a residential home

Image source: Simonton

Average price range: $200-$500

Officially underneath the Ply Gem umbrella, Simonton is one of the most respected manufacturers of energy-efficient vinyl replacement windows. Simonton replacement windows are available in a variety of different configurations and you can find them at most chain stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s. Simonton windows are Energy Star certified and are highly customizable with different options for window sizes, colors, finishes, and grid styles and patterns.

Milgard

Milgard vinyl windows installed above a kitchen sink

Image source: Milgard

Average price range: $100-$900

Milgard offers low maintenance and energy-efficient window options mainly for homeowners in the Western United States and Canada. Choose between its Tuscany series, Trinsic series, or the Style Line series all available in a large selection of configurations, including bay windows and bow windows. Milgard also includes a full lifetime warranty for any defective materials and workmanship. Milgard prides itself in energy-efficient windows, featuring double-pane and triple glazing, Low-E glass coatings, spacers, and argon gas between the panes. While some Milgard windows can be more cost-effective than others, pricing varies depending on the configuration you choose.

JELD-WEN

JELD-WEN vinyl windows installed in a mud room

Image source: Pinnacle Windows & Restoration

Average price range: $180-$850

In addition to manufacturing wood windows and aluminum windows, JELD-WEN is also a top manufacturer of Low-E and argon-filled vinyl windows designed to appear like natural wood. Currently, JELD-WEN features six different series of vinyl windows, including the Premium Atlantic, Flat Casing, Brickmould, Builders, Premium, and a DF Hybrid style which combines vinyl and aluminum cladding. Available in a variety of different configurations, JELD-WEN windows are typically easy to find at most chain stores.

Alside

Alside vinyl windows installed in a bedroom

Image source: Alside

Average price range: $200-$700

While some customers seem to have issues with leaks and material defects, Alside windows can be a more cost-effective, energy-efficient option for homeowners in the Eastern United States. Alside currently features four different types of window replacements, including the Sheffield-Fusion Welded series, UltraMaxx Fusion-Welded series, Mezzo Energy Efficient series, and the Fusion Quality series.

Vinyl window installation costs

If your frames are still in good shape, installing replacement windows can save you money on parts and labor rather than installing new windows. Choosing Energy Star certified windows, which most top manufacturers’ feature, can earn you a federal tax credit of up to $200 and save you money on utility costs.

The average cost to replace a window costs from around $500 to $14,000 for an entire house. These costs can vary depending on the type of materials, configurations, region, and manufacturer. Though you could save more money by installing single-pane windows, you sacrifice energy efficiency and durability. Keep in mind that the more windows you install, the less you will pay per window. Depending on your installer, you may be able to ask for a discount on larger home improvement projects.

Replacement window configurations

Double-hung windows

Double-hung windows installed on a residential home

Image source: Simonton

Double-hung windows are one of the most common types of windows found in residential homes. These types of windows feature a bottom and top sash which allow the window to slide up and down. They typically cost more than single-hung windows because of the extra operable sash.

Single-hung windows

Double-hung windows installed on a residential home

Image source: Simonton

Another window configuration for replacement windows is single-hung windows. Though they look similar to double-hung configurations, single-hung windows only feature one operable sash so the bottom window slides up while the top window remains fixed. While single-hung windows are cheaper due to the lack of an additional sash, they are harder to clean and becoming less common.

Casement and awning windows

Casement and awning windows looking out into a yard

Image source: Newtec

Casement and awning windows offer similar functionality with hinges and sashes against the window frame, creating a tight airlock seal and extra ventilation. Hopper-style basement windows are also similar, with bottom hinges that allow it to open inward or outward. Though they tend to be a bit more expensive, casement and awning windows are a solid replacement option if you’re looking for more airflow with unobstructed views.

Fixed windows

Fixed windows installed in a residential home

Image source: Renaissance Windows and Doors

Although fixed picture windows don’t offer any type of ventilation, they can be an excellent energy-efficient option that brings in more light and has larger unobstructed views. These window styles are also highly customizable with different options for glass patterns and designs.

Sliding windows

Sliding windows installed in a living room

Image source: Milgard

Though they tend to be larger than other window types, sliding windows offer extra ventilation with larger views. Perfect for kitchens and rooms with harder-to-reach spaces, sliding windows open from side to side and don’t interfere with any exterior features.

Replacement windows vs. new construction

Vinyl replacement windows installed on a residential home

Image source: Quad City Windows

Because replacement windows are designed to replace old windows in an existing frame, you’ll be able to save costs for installers and materials. Though new construction windows are best for newly-built homes and can have a lower initial cost, they can become more expensive with increased labor fees. New construction windows are installed directly into the frame with a nail fin frame, which requires more time and more work.

Generally, you should only choose new construction windows if you’re building a new home or putting on an addition, your window frames are in poor condition, or you have damaged walls. Replacement windows are a solid choice if your frames are intact, you want a quicker installation, or are satisfied with the location and size of your frames.

Vinyl windows replacement: in summary

With a variety of different factors to consider, including configurations, styles, sizes, materials, and costs, replacing your windows can be a big decision. Choosing vinyl replacement windows is both a great way to save money on materials and energy costs. More expensive options like fiberglass and wood can offer other benefits like insulation and durability, but vinyl replacement windows can still present energy-efficient options, tax credits, and protection from severe weather.

Get in touch with a local contractor today.

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