Vinyl windows are now very common in newer homes and apartments. The old single-pane aluminum frame windows signal that the building they're on is old and possibly not kept up that well; new vinyl windows, which are dual-pane, show that the owner of the building recognizes that efficiency and quiet are important.
Yet, you'll hear a bunch of myths about vinyl windows and find information that was quietly withheld, mainly by proponents of other window-frame materials or by people who don't understand that "vinyl" does not come in only one type. Vinyl windows are an amazing addition to your home, and when you find out what they can really be like, you may find yourself quickly arranging for their installation.
They're Strong and Stay in Place When Properly Installed
A complaint you'll read about online is that vinyl windows warp, bend, break, and whatever other verb describes deformation. If the window frame isn't sized correctly and is not installed correctly, sure, the frames are not going to have the best connections or stability, and it would be the same for any other window frame material. However, when the windows are sized correctly, and more importantly, installed correctly, warping and bending are kept to a minimum, if not eliminated altogether. If the building settles too much or has structural problems, the stress from that could affect the windows. But that has nothing to do with the specific frame material itself. Just be sure that any installer you contract with knows what they're doing, and the windows should stay in good shape.
They're One of the Top Renovations to Boost Home Value
Another issue you hear about, mainly from people who have reasons to not like vinyl, is that the windows somehow look "cheap." Yet vinyl windows are among the top renovations you can do to boost your home's value. The windows can be dual- or triple-paned and reduce the noise coming into your home by a substantial amount; proper installation eliminates a lot of drafts, too. And, the multi-pane setup helps preserve the temperature inside your home, reducing your energy bills in summer and winter. Vinyl frames are easy to clean, and the panes tend to slide smoothly along their tracks. There's a good chance that those who say vinyl is a "cheap" material had their windows installed by someone who was not very good at their job.
That "Shrinking" You've Heard About Applies to Wood Window Frames, Too
Yet another thing you might see as you look at window materials is that vinyl can somehow shrink or expand in cold and hot weather. This can be true, but it's not a vinyl-only issue. Wood frames will shrink and expand, too. Aluminum will not, but you'll find that material reserved mainly for single-pane windows. Don't let talk of shrinking turn you off vinyl, because wood will have the same issue. And, vinyl is not prone to termite problems, although wood that hasn't been properly sealed can be.