Vinyl has become a viable rival for traditional materials such as wood over the years. It has proven to be comparable to, if not more efficient in many cases, the use of windows and doors, and offers design flexibility, minimal maintenance, and efficiency in energy and cost savings.
The word "window" takes it's origin from the Norse word "vindauga" which loosely translates to "eye for the wind". The window was meant to be both functional as well as aesthetically pleasing.
After the end of World War II, there was a shortage of materials such as wood, aluminum and steel so the Germans, in their efforts to rebuild, began to use a vinyl framing, which was a new thermoplastic. By 1959, BF Goodrich Company, a vinyl resin manufacturer decided to try their hand at vinyl window production, and offered sleek designs similar to that found in wood or metal window frames. Americans found that these were much more readily acceptable designs, compared to that of the smaller and bulkier German designs.
Designs improved and popularity grew; sales of vinyl grew in the mid 1990's for both new construction and remodeling by 125%. Most window manufacturers offer vinyl windows as an option along with their more traditional wooden and metal frames. Innovations in vinyl formulas have helped to improve flexibility in designs.
With improvements having been made over the last few decades to the manufacturing process of vinyl windows, maintenance is practically non-existent and non-essential. If the product requires a bit of cleaning, common household cleaners will make short work of the task, leaving the window as good as new. The average life span of a vinyl window varies depending on the use of the item, but on average warranties are offered for 20 to 30 years. To ensure the quality of the window's construction and performance, most vinyl windows produced today are certified by a third-party company and independent laboratory testing is performed in accordance with stringent industry standards.
Some of the newer innovations made to vinyl are the addition of sawdust and cellular foam. The wood mixed with the vinyl has made a new option of embossing the vinyl so that it looks like wood and can even be stained or painted like wood. The use of cellular foam has made huge differences in the shapes and appearances of the trims. These are great to use as they do not rot or decay at all. Vinyl windows and other products made by the same process are color fast because the color is not just on the surface but is extruded through the entire product. The product is not only rot and rust free, but is impervious to pests like ants and termites. When made properly, the product also contains UV inhibitors to protect from sun damage and cracking or splitting.
Windows made of vinyl framing are suitable for most building needs but can not be used in high rise buildings or in places where there are consistently high winds. Tests on the windows are conducted to determine the limits the vinyl windows can withstand safely. Over the years the cost of vinyl windows has become much more affordable due to the popularity and easy accessibility to the goods required to manufacture the vinyl or vinyl composites. As a result they have become a cost effective alternative to metal and wooden frames.