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Old 05-20-2012, 03:55 AM   #1
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uPVC Windows


I was told that uPVC (aka vinyl) windows should NOT be used in the desert southwest because PVC will break down in the sun and it experiences vast expansion and contraction rates.

uPVC supposedly will need to be replaced within 15-20 years.


Last edited by JackOfAllTrades; 05-20-2012 at 03:58 AM.
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Old 05-20-2012, 05:48 AM   #2
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And who told you this? Someone selling wood windows?
So what did they suggest you use for a window instead.
UV is hard on any material no matter which one you pick.

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Old 05-20-2012, 08:14 PM   #3
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And who told you this? Someone selling wood windows?
So what did they suggest you use for a window instead.
UV is hard on any material no matter which one you pick.
From what I read, wood windows have been around for 100 years while vinyl windows have only been around for 20 or so years and have experienced a lot of problems. The expansion of vinyl/PVC is quite high compared to wood or aluminum.

http://www.rbaphoenix.com/pdfs/vinyl.pdf
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Old 05-20-2012, 08:43 PM   #4
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Jack the same type of article can be written about any other type of window,my personal preference is metal clad like a Marvin or Eagle
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Old 05-20-2012, 09:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackOfAllTrades View Post
From what I read, wood windows have been around for 100 years while vinyl windows have only been around for 20 or so years and have experienced a lot of problems. The expansion of vinyl/PVC is quite high compared to wood or aluminum.

http://www.rbaphoenix.com/pdfs/vinyl.pdf
About twice that of aluminum.

Wood expands with moisture, not temperature.

All of these known quantities are accounted for in construction of any window.
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Old 05-20-2012, 10:08 PM   #6
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Jack:
1) Vinyl windows have been around far longer than that, and have a track record of reliability when referencing mid grade or better products.
2) That particular product is predominantly composed of vinyl (mixed with re-claimed sawdust), so that contention is rather ridiculous, is it not?
3) The thermal and structural ratings of any product will give the most accurate indication of how well it will perform and the quality of its design/build. The RBA is not a top perfomer in this area to say the least.
4) Considering the above points, the only reason that product even exists is because it is "something different", and this is illustrated through the use of HIGHLY questionable info and stats that would paint the lowest possible quality vinyl window as being the "rule", rather than the exception.
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Old 05-20-2012, 10:49 PM   #7
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I have Milgard Vinyl windows on my current home. They are only 5 years old and I had to replace 6 of them already, all due to expansion and vinyl breakdown. On the exterior the vinyl molding is now getting chalky and discolored. When I rub my finger on it there is this white chalky substance that rubs off.

Four of the windows thermally expanded so much that it broke the seals. The glass had to be pulled and resealed. The other 2 windows litterally had the glass break/shatter because the vinyl windows moved so much that it stressed the glass and broke it.

These windows are garbage and Milgard knows it and I am not alone in my issues with vinyl.

Vinyl has horrendous expansion rates due to temperatures. This eventually breaks down the sealing properties of the windows. The vinyl also degrades in the sun.
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Old 05-21-2012, 12:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackOfAllTrades View Post
I have Milgard Vinyl windows on my current home. They are only 5 years old and I had to replace 6 of them already, all due to expansion and vinyl breakdown. On the exterior the vinyl molding is now getting chalky and discolored. When I rub my finger on it there is this white chalky substance that rubs off.
What about the vinyl has broken down and what expansion issues were there?

See my explanation of expansion below.

It is very common to use fillers in trim moldings and other mass produced items. I don't agree with it but what it does do is allow the limestone and other fillers to leach out and create that chalk you are seeing.

Most premium vinyl windows will not have any fillers whatsoever and therefore be much less likely to show any chalking. They will dirt track but that is and unavoidable conclusion of atmospheric dirt in air.
Quote:
Originally Posted by JackOfAllTrades View Post
Four of the windows thermally expanded so much that it broke the seals. The glass had to be pulled and resealed. The other 2 windows litterally had the glass break/shatter because the vinyl windows moved so much that it stressed the glass and broke it.
Seal failure is overwhelmingly the result of two factors:
-poor installation to include both worker installation and surface preparation
-poorly engineered system

A lineal of vinyl that is 6' in length will only expand the thickness of a nickel in a 100 degree temperature swing.

The manner in which the glass packs are attached to the sash frame (either wet or dry glazed) is designed to more than accommodate that amount of movement.

Even though aluminum expands at half the rate/distance of vinyl, think of all the high rise building that are entirely curtain walls of glass. These window openings are at least twice the size of your average household window and are subject to far greater stresses by comparison. Why do we not see mass seal failure in those units? The frame lineals are moving (aggregate) more than the vinyl lineals in smaller windows.

If you ever pull a glazing bead off, you will quickly see that the reason your windows showed cracks or shattered had nothing to do with expansion or contraction of the frame. There is at least 1/8th (more like 3/16") of an inch around the entire IGU before it meets plastic walls. The reason that you windows were compromised and broken is either of the fairly common phenomenon known as stress cracks or thermal shock.

Quote:
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These windows are garbage and Milgard knows it and I am not alone in my issues with vinyl.
Whats has Milgard's response been? I have always found them to be pretty responsive.

Now, they did ship me a damaged door 4 times as a result of the same shipping error so they are a bit slow to catch on, but they kept shipping it until they got it right and I was happy.

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Vinyl has horrendous expansion rates due to temperatures. This eventually breaks down the sealing properties of the windows. The vinyl also degrades in the sun.
Horrendous is probably overstating it a bit. Is it higher than aluminum, yes and by just over 2X. Using that expansion argument the basis for the failure or illegitimacy of a window material would also rule out Aluminum and Fiberglass because their expansion rates are 5X and 8X higher than that of wood.

Everything degrades in the sun including us. This is why all good exterior vinyls are treated with UV stabilizers like titanium dioxide and other combinations.

I think it is worth making the distinction between the products that are used in retrofit (i.e. renovations) vs. the materials that are commonly used in new construction.

We see a ton of new construction wood windows fail after 3-5 years. I am not swearing off wood as a result of a cheap product's poor commentary on a given material.
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:55 AM   #9
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Jack, the material that your window frames are made of and its expansion rate has little to nothing to do with any seal failures that you've had. In addition, the "expansion" element of vinyl windows is dramatically overstated by sales propaganda from companies that sell alternatives, and is truly a non-issue as WoW explained above. Every material has its own pros and cons which are taken into consideration throughout the engineering process.
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:10 AM   #10
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...and like every other type of window,some are junk
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Old 05-21-2012, 01:19 PM   #11
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What about the vinyl has broken down and what expansion issues were there?


Whats has Milgard's response been? I have always found them to be pretty responsive.


Horrendous is probably overstating it a bit. Is it higher than aluminum, yes and by just over 2X. Using that expansion argument the basis for the failure or illegitimacy of a window material would also rule out Aluminum and Fiberglass because their expansion rates are 5X and 8X higher than that of wood.


We see a ton of new construction wood windows fail after 3-5 years. I am not swearing off wood as a result of a cheap product's poor commentary on a given material.
My vinyl windows have and are bowing and in certain weather conditions get "stuck" due to expansion. The exterior vinyl framing has completely discolored and looks like cr*p. In summer the trim pieces pull away and leave gaps, in the winter they close back up.

Milgard replaced some of the windows but since last year when they closed the Phoenix warehouse due to financial issues, the services has suffered. Milgard is hurting financially and has closed down numerous plants and "downsized" in an attempt to prevent going out of business. In turn they are now denying many warranty work to save on lost revenue. I called them for warranty work but they are now playing difficult and will not cover warranty work that they covered before.
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Old 05-21-2012, 01:20 PM   #12
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Jack, the material that your window frames are made of and its expansion rate has little to nothing to do with any seal failures that you've had. In addition, the "expansion" element of vinyl windows is dramatically overstated by sales propaganda from companies that sell alternatives, and is truly a non-issue as WoW explained above. Every material has its own pros and cons which are taken into consideration throughout the engineering process.
So which window material do you prefer??
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Old 05-21-2012, 05:05 PM   #13
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So which window material do you prefer??
I sell every window material that is available except for aluminum (although I'd sell that as well if I was in a different region of the country). A premium vinyl window is hard to beat for "bang for the buck" and performance. Composites and fiberglass are nice if priced right (and a quality product is chosen), and wood has its place as well when appearance is a paramount concern.
Milgard recently closed down their eastern operations, however the accounts that I've read do not paint them as a company in dire straights, or dishonoring any warranty terms, as much as a company that is redirecting their focus to their most profitable operations in a down economy. Do you have a source for any info to the contrary? My own experience with Milgard is fairly limited as they were a pretty average performer in comparison with the other options available here, however they seem to be one of the better vinyl options that are out west from my understanding. If you are truly having difficulties getting them to honor their warranty, you should go up the "food chain" over there, and also direct them to this discussion... I'd also say that with the symptoms that you are are describing, there could very well be some installation issues.
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:40 PM   #14
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I agree with HomeSealed, work your way up the chain.

Of the half a dozen or so major vinyl players on the West Coast I have easy access too, Milgard "by far" has the best customer service.

I’ve “never” had a problem with them making things right.

Even though they closed the Phoenix manufacturing facility they still build windows in Vegas and two plants in the Southern CA.

They certainly haven’t slowed down their marketing or service in AZ.

I’d voice your issues to corporate in Tacoma.
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Old 05-22-2012, 07:56 PM   #15
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Nothing wrong with Milgard or vinyl windows, really. The window and door industry was hit VERY hard by the recession and Milgard has weathered that better then most, they are still very alive and kicking. I AM convinced, however, that vinyl is not the best solution for extreme temperatures, be it hot or cold. If you're looking for the best, go Fiberglass. Be ready to pay though. They have a much lower expansion and contraction rate then any other product on the market, and they're more durable.

A side note. If your vinyl windows are fading/chaulky you really should consider installation before you blame the window Manufacturer. I cannot tell you how many really really bad installers there are out there, many of whom use lacquer thinner to clean the windows

Chaulky /fading windows are CLASSIC lacquer thinner cleaned symptoms and should definitely be considered as the cause.

Edit: Even here in San Diego, with our very consistent temperatures I will still recommend Fiberglass over vinyl when I consider how close someone lives to the Beach. I can tell you, salt water does horrific things to certain types of materials. Milgard though, is one of the few manufacturers that will warranty (and honor it) their product even if it's a beach house.


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