THE VALUE OF VINYL
Vinyl ... The Choice for Windows
by Amy L. Taylor
Before delving into the benefits of vinyl windows, let me say that we were very excited when Door & Window Maker magazine asked us to contribute a regular column on vinyl windows. We see this as an excellent opportunity to let the window industry know just what vinyl has to offer from an extruders perspective.
Vinyl on the RiseVinyl windows were introduced in Europe more than 45 years ago and are now the most widely specified material for European installations. In the past ten years, millions of vinyl windows have been manufactured annually in the United States.
In just seven years, vinyl window sales (new construction and replacement) have almost doubled, while wood sales have maintained, and aluminum sales have declined (Ducker Research Co. Inc. 9/00). There are many reasons for the rise of vinyl usage. First and foremost, consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the numerous advantages vinyl has, compared to other window materials. In this day and age a great deal of emphasis is placed on the environmental friendliness of products, both during production and in the final result. Vinyl windows take a small amount of energy to produce and are 100 percent recyclable. Due to its thermal insulating factors, once installed in the home these windows will conserve a great deal of energy, resulting in low heating and cooling costs for the homeowner.
A Maintenance-Free ProductAnother benefit of vinyl windows is that they are virtually maintenance-free. The color is maintained throughout, so you never have to worry about painting, scraping or surfaces that are difficult to clean. Despite the many pollutants and chemicals windows may be subjected to during the course of their lifecycle, vinyl windows will remain basically unaffected and intact. They are rot resistant and do not warp, twist or peel and can endure even the most adverse weather conditions. This is the precise reason why vinyl was chosen over other materials for challenging projects such as VEKAs installation in Switzerland. Vinyl was the material of choice for windows installed in the Piz Gloria a revolving restaurant that sits atop the Schilthorn Mountain, where extreme temperatures and ultraviolet saturation are experienced daily.
Endless OptionsVinyl windows lend themselves to many options and are adaptive to individual taste preferences. Thanks to methods such as color coating and lamination systems, there are many varieties from which to choose when creating a custom vinyl window. A window can be colored on the outside and have woodgrain lamination on the inside. This gives a vinyl window the look of wood, minus the high-maintenance that often accompanies a wood window. Most importantly, modern day post extrusion processes enable the customer to differentiate his or her product from the limited extruded colors usually associated with vinyl windows and doors. This adds a personal touch to each and every product. A perfect example of this kind of customization is a project VEKA completed in Cleveland. A 1930s public housing project, which was deemed a historic building, was renovated following strict government guidelines. One of the requirements was that the window units were a very specific tan color. Due to vinyl coating technology, our company was able to comply by applying its exterior coating process and helped preserve the historical nature of the homes.
Additional AdvantagesStill, another feature of vinyl windows is that they can greatly reduce unwanted outside noise. PVC combined with insulating glazing units work as an exceptional sound-dampening device by trapping a dead-air space between two panes of glass. This feature is especially useful in high-traffic areas where noise is a problem.
As with all building materials, thorough research is recommended to assure the right product is chosen to fit your specific needs. The many shapes, colors and sizes available can add beauty and a touch of class to any application.
Amy L. Taylor serves as communications coordinator for VEKA Inc., based in Fombell, Pa.
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