Why is vinyl so special?

Vinyl (also called uPVC) has been replacing wood and aluminium window frames across the world since the 1950's because of it's improved thermal insulation, durability, and physical properties. Vinyl windows now account for over 60% of all window sales in the US.

One major reason for its increase in popularity is because vinyl is an insulator, unlike aluminum. It helps keep your home more comfortable by minimizing heat transfer through your joinery. This minimizes or even eliminates condensation on the inside of the window frame. Vinyl is also very durable, will not rot, does not corrode even when exposed to salt water, is impervious to bugs, and never needs to be painted.

Cross-section of a vinyl window

Vinyl windows with double panes can save up to 80% heat loss compared to single-pane aluminum windows

Vinyl windows perform better when it comes to this important contemporary issue. They are designed to provide the industry’s best energy efficiency.

In contrast, aluminum windows are notorious for acting like radiators, bringing unwanted heat from the outside into the room. They also conduct cold in the same way, which results in condensation and mold. To prevent this, aluminium windows can be specially protected with “thermal breaks,” to compete with vinyl windows for energy efficiency. This adds to their cost. Ironically, the material used for a thermal break is often vinyl.

On the right is a table showing how quickly heat is transferred by common materials.

The higher the number, the faster the heat is transferred.

Aluminium transfers heat quickly, which is why it was commonly used in cookware

It is certainly not ideal for keeping the inside of your house warm on a cold day, or preventing condensation on the inside of the window frame.

Compare this with vinyl, which is over a 1000 times more insulating - keeping indoor temperatures comfortable all year around.

Argon-filled, double-pane glass is a standard feature on all our windows, not an upgrade. None of our windows need a "thermal break" upgrade either.

Material Heat transfer*
Diamond 1000
Silver 428
Copper 401
Gold 318
Aluminum 237
Brass 125
Glass 1.11
Vinyl 0.19
Fiberglass .045
Polystyrene (styrofoam) .040
Air .026
Argon .016
Vacuum 0.00

* (W.m-1.K-1)

How Does Vinyl Compare to Aluminium?

Aluminium that has become pitted over time
Aluminium that has become pitted over time

Durability

Vinyl is resistant to scratching, cracking, and denting. If scratched, the colour doesn't change since the vinyl is the same colour throughout. Vinyl is also impervious to corrosion, so great for salty environments.

Aluminum is also resistant to scratching and cracking. However, when scratched, the paint or powder coat can be removed revealing bare metal. Slightly more prone to dents. Also prone to pitting, especially in salty environments.

Energy Efficiency

Vinyl windows perform better when it comes to this important contemporary issue. They are designed to provide the industry’s best energy efficiency.

The aluminium material is a good conductor of heat. Unfortunately, this means that heat is more easily transferred in in the summer, and out in the winter, unless a "Thermal Break" upgrade is made.

Cross-section of a vinyl window
Cross-section of a vinyl window

Welded Corners

All Pella vinyl windows have welded corners. These welds are strong and durable, and completely weather resistant. The welding ofmultiple chambers within the frame (see above) also help resist warping and twisting due to external forces. This makes a stronger window that is more durable and withstands the rigors of everyday usage.

Welded Corners
Aluminium window with condensation and mold
Aluminium window with condensation and mold

Condensation

The superior insulation properties of vinyl virtually eliminate everyday condensation. Condensation on the glass is possible, but greatly reduced with double panes and argon filling.

During cooler weather, even double pane aluminum windows will cause condensation due to heat transfer through the window frame. This can lead to mold and unsightly water damage. Condensation on the glass is possible, but greatly reduced with double panes and argon filling.

Maintenance

Vinyl windows never need to be repainted or stained because they are the same colour throughout. They are also highly resistant to dust and dirt, and are easily cleaned.

Aluminium windows need to be lubricated regularly because they contain metal on metal movements. When scratched, they may require painting to cover scratches. New and smooth finishes can be easily cleaned.

Easy to wipe down and resists scratches
Easy to wipe down and resists scratches

Did you know, all ThermaScreen windows come with seamlessly integrated insect screens?

Whether you prefer the NZ traditional awning style, casement style, or horizontal or vertical sliding windows that eliminate injuries to those walking outside of the home, all windows come standard with integrated (not after market, upgrade, or add-on) insect screens.