Vinyl vs. Wood

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Josette_B
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Vinyl vs. Wood

Post by Josette_B »

Nothing gets me going more than a heated discussion over why I would never replace my 120 year old windows with vinyl ones, or why I spent three months painting my house when I could have "just put up vinyl"...It seems people are very misinformed of these miracle no maintenance vinyl products, am I fighting a losing battle here? Does anyone else get as ticked as me when you are explaining why you don't like and aren't planning on using those products. I have had two recent blog posts on this very thing ( see blog link on signature ) Is it just my blood that gets boiling?

BobG
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Re: Vinyl vs. Wood

Post by BobG »

I don't think you're alone here. We actually removed the aluminum siding from our home several years back, and replaced most of the original wood siding (alot of it rotted due to the 'maintenance free aluminum siding and soffit trapping moisture from leaking box gutters) and a decent amount of the diagonal sheathing in some areas with WOOD! (gasp!!!) I wouldn't have done it any other way. It was probably more expensive than leaving (supposedly) well enough alone, but I KNEW this home had many surprises. If you want to see before and after, you can see them on my site, and many "during' on my blog (also on my site).
Keep fighting the good fight!
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Texas_Ranger
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Re: Vinyl vs. Wood

Post by Texas_Ranger »

Regarding windows: by now I'm fairly convinced that throwing any working window away is more of a waste of ressources than any new window could possibly save. Period. If you have single glazed windows add storms, but keep the originals! The only reason to replace windows is if they're utterly rotted beyond repair!
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triguy128
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Re: Vinyl vs. Wood

Post by triguy128 »

Texas_Ranger wrote:Regarding windows: by now I'm fairly convinced that throwing any working window away is more of a waste of ressources than any new window could possibly save. Period. If you have single glazed windows add storms, but keep the originals! The only reason to replace windows is if they're utterly rotted beyond repair!

I think that's the simpliest way to put it. Not only are good quality windows themselves expensive, the labor to install them is incredible.

Ultimately you have ot get peopel past the idea that all things new and modern are somehow better. You have to make them open their eyes andrealize that while some products do represent good, newer techniogy and are worth using, many others are simpyl cheaper. Someone has come along and foudn a inexpensive way to repalce the original desing, and while that are many benefits, there are just as many negatives. The positives are not sufficient to outweigh the negatives, nor any cost to benefit ratio.

As for one or two rotten windows. I don't see a need to use vinyl even in that case. Send it to a good mill shop and they cna pull it apart, replace the bad wood and reassemble it. In the mean time, install a storm window and you still have a functional window in it's place in the short term.

Finally, get the word out that there is no such thing as maintenance free... PERIOD!!! End of argument. It's a falacy and misleading. There are maintainable goods and there are disposeable goods. NOTHING lasts forever without some amount of maintenance or evenutaly repalcement.


Really, you can logically argue that original wood windows are maintenance free, because the maintenance interval is longer than the entire service life of the maintenance free product.


Which would you rather have... a maintenance free car that you throw out after 100k miles or a serviceable car that has minor service intervals at 10-15k miles and major intervals are 100k miles. Funny... that's EXACTLY what exists now. Most any car on the original oil will continue ot operate for at least 50k miles before complete failure. IT will have significant wear after around 40k miles, but will probably keep oeprating if you have a large enouhg oil resevoir and add a inline dryer ot capture moisture and a larger oil filter.

Now consider this. Given the option, if you could price that car cheap enough and make it look good, many people would take it over a serviceable car. Scary sin't it. Then they have a brand new car every 5 or 6 years, which most people do anyway.
1925 Neo-Classical

Previous home - 1968 single story Ranch/Colonial, 1200sqft - 11 windows
Current home - 1925 2 story Beaux Arts Neo-classical overlooking the Mississippi River, 3200sqft - 48 Windows

jharkin
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Re: Vinyl vs. Wood

Post by jharkin »

Your not alone in having to defend your choice not to use vinyl.

I find lately that trying to explain the shortcomings of vinyl leads to glazed over eyes... Folks are just so inundated with the home industry marketing machine... so sometimes, rather than going into the long spiel I just smirkly say "If I wanted to build my house out of plastic I would have bought it from Fisher Price"

Yeah Im a smart a$$....

jklare
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Re: Vinyl vs. Wood

Post by jklare »

Windows are one of the most frustrating topics in preservation, if you ask me.

The believe I recently read in a preservation trade journal that the payback period on new window via energy savings is 12-15 years in most areas. Vinyl windows are lucky to last that long, as they are not rigid enough and often warp. Composite materials windows (I think Anderson makes these) seem a little sturdier, but they generally build them out so much to install them that they look ridiculous.

Now, I HATE most metal windows and fully advocate replacing them with aluminum thermal broken windows, but the only place I have found capable of replicating metal windows is Custom Windows out of Colorado. Metal windows just aren't feasible to repair, and once they rust shut, they are goners.

Wood windows on the other hand, should never be discarded. You want double glazing? No problem, rout out the frame. Window wont operate? Sand the contact surfaces and rebuild the weight box. We have even had a contractor that would saw the muttons in half, and put them back over a double glazed pane to make the divided light windows look correct. This wasnt ideal, but zoning would not allow storm windows and the funding source (governmental program) required certain environmental efficiencies be achieved.

McCall
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Re: Vinyl vs. Wood

Post by McCall »

Another thing not often mentioned in this vinyl wood discussion regarding windows. Vinyl windows melt and warp in a fire, meaning you may not be able to open them to escape.
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triguy128
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Re: Vinyl vs. Wood

Post by triguy128 »

jklare wrote:Windows are one of the most frustrating topics in preservation, if you ask me.

The believe I recently read in a preservation trade journal that the payback period on new window via energy savings is 12-15 years in most areas. .
Absolute lie. Unless the baseline included windows that were completely missing glass panes and couldn't

My gas bills are around $900-$1100 Meaning my total heating bill is around $1100 (it will be much less this year). Even cheaper replacement vinyl windows would cost me at least $500 installed. I have 40 windows. The most they could possibly save is 20%. Most studies show <10%. MY heat load calculation show about 10%.... you know, using the actual laws of physics based on heat transfer properties of different materials. Darn that science crap it really makes it hard to junk people don;t really need.

I installed storm windows and gained at least 75% of the savings for 1/4 the cost. So now compared to storm windows, the payback increased by a factor of about 16.

For $20k, I could probably spray foam all of my exterior walls. That would reduce my energy use by about 3X more than replacement windows since walls represent about 73% of my wall area and about 50% of my total heat loss.


The payback period for replacement windows in reality is between 30-200 years depending on many factors if you include storm windows and reglazing or replacing the sashes on the existing windows as alternatives. IF a payback period exceeds ht useful life of the replacement... the payback period become infinite... meaning it cannot be reached.
1925 Neo-Classical

Previous home - 1968 single story Ranch/Colonial, 1200sqft - 11 windows
Current home - 1925 2 story Beaux Arts Neo-classical overlooking the Mississippi River, 3200sqft - 48 Windows

circuspeanut
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Re: Vinyl vs. Wood

Post by circuspeanut »

I have absolutely no scientific evidence but my own experience to share.

I replaced the PO's insulated vinyl replacement windows in our entire house last summer with rehabilitated double-hung wooden sash, pulleys, weights, etc. Weatherstripped and added new wooden storm windows.

The amount of difference is incredible (not to mention the aesthetics). Last year we kept our furnace at a constant 70 and were chilly most of the time. This year it stays at about 66, down to 58 at night, and we are perfectly comfortable, even warm.

Plus we get to look out at the world through wavy glass and gorgeous muntins. 'Nuff said!

LOTS of science on wooden windows vs vinyl here, on John Leeke's forum.
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triguy128
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Re: Vinyl vs. Wood

Post by triguy128 »

jklare wrote:Windows are one of the most frustrating topics in preservation, if you ask me.

The believe I recently read in a preservation trade journal that the payback period on new window via energy savings is 12-15 years in most areas.

Oh... and you may also notice that if you flip one or two pages forward form that article, there's a Marvin Window ad. and 2 pages the other way, there's a Pella ad.
1925 Neo-Classical

Previous home - 1968 single story Ranch/Colonial, 1200sqft - 11 windows
Current home - 1925 2 story Beaux Arts Neo-classical overlooking the Mississippi River, 3200sqft - 48 Windows

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