Here’s an answer I shared with a customer who lives at the beach. When you live in a hot climate and you want replacement windows that last a long time, vinyl windows are a poor choice. This is why:
The surface temperature of an average house can reach up to 175 degrees during the summer months, but in areas of our country that are hot year-round, the sun and the heat are relentless, day in day out. The problem is that at high temperatures, materials begin to distort and deform.
This is true of vinyl too, not just wood or plastics. The “Heat Deflection Temperature” is the technical term we use to indicate how well a material can deal with heat, and the bad news is… vinyl windows begin to break down at 156 degrees!
That‘s why vinyl replacement windows will need to be replaced again and again. Warm climates make this deterioration more rapid. By the way, have you ever wondered why vinyl windows usually come in white or off-white colors? It’s because lighter colors reflect heat, hopefully slowing the distortion factor as much as possible.
Appearance aside, over time, all that expansion and contraction creates bowing and warping, so the windows start to pull away from the house, leaving gaps or cracks. This eventually causes drafts and even fogged windows.
FIBREX, though, can withstand temperatures up 221 degrees— temperatures the surface of your house will probably never reach! Which is why I recommended that my customer choose a composite frame window like FIBREX from Renewal by Andersen instead.
FIBREX is not a clad, it’s a composite. Thermal plastic polymers merge with the fibers of the wood to make for a strong, durable, maintenance-free frame. In other words, it takes the best properties of both materials and forges something better and stronger from that bond — wood provides strength and vinyl prevents the wood from rotting. Wood stops the vinyl from warping and vinyl keeps the frame maintenance-free. In small measures, you see, a little vinyl can be a good thing!
But the sad reality is that vinyl alone will look good only for about five years, regardless of where you live—sunny California or snowy Vermont. And when any insulating property those windows had finally fails, well, you’re shopping for replacement windows again. Can a vinyl window be repaired ? No. So for my money, composite frames are the way to go. You’ll enjoy years and years of worry-free durability and beauty.