We’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions to in an effort to help educate customers about window, door and sunroom products.
Q. How durable are vinyl windows? Are they strong?
Answer: Vinyl windows are very durable. There are tens of millions of vinyl windows installed in homes and commercial buildings, across the country and around the world. In the U.S., some vinyl windows have been installed as long as 25 years and are still working well. Many designs of today have superior wind load ratings to wood and metal windows.
Q. Is the vinyl in your products just the same as everyone else’s?
Answer: No. Not all vinyl (PVC) window products are alike! Nor are all window and door vinyl extrusions/formulas equal, either. The vinyl we use is an advanced formula, with proprietary compounds representing the best in vinyl products. Other ordinary PVC products may “skimp” on ingredients or use low-quality additives or formulations to deliver a low price vinyl. Unfortunately, this also tends to deliver a lower quality vinyl product that does not perform well over time.
Our TQM (total quality management) program and our SPC (statistical process control) program ensure every segment of the product and its manufacturing is right. Always insist on products made from high quality vinyl extrusions.
Q. What kind of warranty will I have if I purchase windows from NT Window?
Answer: We are so confident of the superior performance of our specially-formulated high-impact vinyl that all of our window products come with an easy to read lifetime limited warranty. And, the warranty is transferable if you decide to sell your home.
Q. Can I paint my vinyl windows?
Answer: With our Vivid Color option, there’s no need! You can get the custom color windows you want straight from NT. We have 15 popular colors available to choose from, but we don’t stop there. We can customer match any color you can dream up. Check out our Vivid Color options here on our website.
Q. Will vinyl windows melt in the hot sun?
Answer: No. Vinyl windows perform well in the desert climates of the Southwestern U.S. where daytime temperatures can reach 125°F (and above) and surfaces in direct sun can be heated above 165°F (the temperature at which vinyl begins to soften). It’s the multi-chambered design of vinyl products that ensures they’ll handle even those excessive levels of heat. Vinyl is an excellent insulator. It does not conduct heat readily like aluminum and the hollow chambers in a vinyl frame reduce conduction even further. So while the outside surface of a vinyl window or doorframe may get quite hot in direct sun, the interior walls will experience limited heat buildup.
Q. What is Energy Star?
Answer: Established in 1992, ENERGY STAR is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) voluntary program that helps people across America make the best choices to save energy, save money, and fight climate change – at home, at work, in their businesses, and in their communities. In regards to windows, it establishes a benchmark for window and door products so that homeowners can view performance ratings of individual products to consider when shopping for replacement products.
Our window products, with high-performance glass and insulation systems not only earned the ENERGY STAR mark, but because our systems give customers greater returns in efficiency, they have earned the prestigious Most Efficient designation provided by ENERGY STAR. Read more on our website here.
Q. Do vinyl products install and handle differently?
Answer: For the most part, installation of vinyl windows, doors and other products uses similar techniques to those for installing wood or metal products. There are some key differences that should be noted in the handling and storage of vinyl units. We provide best practice installation instructions on our website at ntwindow.com/installation.
Q. What about vinyl windows in a fire?
Answer: Unlike many common building materials, vinyl will not support combustion. That means they can “burn” if they are completely enveloped in flames from other materials, but if the flame is removed, the vinyl will self-extinguish. In fact, PVC has a higher ignition temperature, lower flame spread and lower heat released in a fire than a similar sample of wood, and any smoke produced by burning PVC is of the same range as that of most organic materials.
Q. What kind of maintenance do vinyl windows require?
Answer: Vinyl windows are virtually maintenance free, requiring no finishing upon installation. They also won’t rot, rust, pit or corrode like wood or metal products and are unaffected by moisture, salt air, pollution and airborne chemicals. If they ever require cleaning, simply wiping with a damp cloth is sufficient to return them to their “Factory Fresh” condition. Take a look at our handy care and cleaning guide for more information.
Q. Why are vinyl frames hollow? Why aren't they solid?
Answer: Vinyl frames are designed with multiple chambers in the frame to provide thermal efficiency, rigidity and strength without excessive weight. A solid frame would be excessively heavy, difficult to work with, expensive, and would, actually, not perform as well as the multi-chambered designs in today’s window and door products. We have taken the design of our windows even further by offering an added insulation option for some of our high-performance window products. This is a very popular option for homeowner looking for increased comfort and energy savings.
Q. What can I use if I really need to clean my vinyl windows?
Answer: Usually a few drops of a mild liquid cleaner in a bucket of water is sufficient to clean any dirt or grime that may have accumulated on the window. If you have more stubborn build-up, the following household cleaners work well, based on a study done bye the SPI (Society of the Plastics Industry); Formula 409, Ajax Liquid Cleaner, Murphy’s Oil Soap, Lysol Cleaner, Soft Scrub, or vinegar and water. The following cleaners or types of cleaners should not be used on vinyl; Clorox, Pine Power, Ivory, Grease Relief, Tide Detergent, nail polish remover (acetone). If you would like to review our care and cleaning guide click here.
Q. What is “virgin vinyl”? Do my products have it?
Answer: Virgin vinyl is the term applied to vinyl that is extruded for the first time. Regrind is the term given to vinyl that has been extruded, then the parts are ground up into small “pellets” and can be re-extruded. The implication is that “virgin vinyl” is purer or superior to reground vinyl. As a thermo plastic, PVC can be reprocessed, typically, around three times with little degradation to the compound. After that, additional processing “uses up” some of the lubricants and other additives that are used in the extrusion process. All of your frame, sashes and other major window and door parts are extruded from virgin vinyl.
Q. What is uPVC? Do my products have it?
Answer: Yes. Your products are processed with uPVC. UPVC stands for unplasticized PVC. It is an old term brought over by European extruders. Older European PVC formulas contained plasticizers to aid in extrusion of the part. These plasticizers would often “migrate” out of a finished product over time leaving it brittle. This was a problem with older European PVC products. Years ago, newer technology formulas were developed that did not use (or require) plasticizers in rigid extrusions. In Europe, to differentiate products made with the newer formulas (and without plasticizers) they began calling them UPVC.
Q. What is fusion welding?
Answer: Many of today’s vinyl window and door products feature fusion welded corner construction. Quite simply, it is the process of mitering the corners, heating them to above 200°F and bringing the heated corners into contact until they fuse together, forming an exceptionally strong joint and a permanently sealed corner that can’t leak air or water.
Q. What is vinyl (PVC)?
Answer: It is one of thousands of plastics in use today. PVC’s technical name is poly vinyl chloride. It is unique among plastics in that it is composed of nearly 60% chloride that stems from rock salt (sodium chloride) and about 40% polymers stemming from natural gas and petrochemicals.
Q. Are vinyl windows earth-friendly?
Answer: Yes. Vinyl windows and doors are a very smart choice. Less than one half of vinyl’s weight is dependent on natural resources. Vinyl windows require only one-third of the energy needed to manufacture aluminum windows. Vinyl windows help conserve energy and reduce home heating and cooling costs, and because vinyl windows and doors do not require painting or finishing, homeowners avoid vapor emissions, cleanup and disposal problems associated with frequent application of certain paints and stains.