Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What do the performance ratings mean on the window stickers?
Q: Vinyl vs Aluminum or Wood – What product is right for me?
Q: What is vinyl (PVC)?
A: It is one of thousands of plastics in use today. PVC’s technical name is poly vinyl chloride. It is unique among plastics in that it is composed of nearly 60% chloride that stems from rock salt (sodium chloride) and about 40% polymers stemming from natural gas and petrochemicals.
Q: How durable are vinyl windows? Are they strong?
A: Vinyl windows are very durable. There are tens of millions of vinyl windows installed in homes and commercial buildings, across the country and around the world. In the U.S., some vinyl windows have been installed as long as 25 years and are still working well. Many designs of today have superior wind load ratings to wood and metal windows.
Q: What kind of maintenance do vinyl windows require?
A: Vinyl windows are virtually maintenance free, requiring no finishing upon installation and no periodic painting or sealing like wood or metal windows. They also can’t rot, rust, pit or corrode like wood or metal products and are unaffected by moisture, salt air, pollution and airborne chemicals. If they ever require cleaning, simply wiping with a damp cloth is sufficient to return them to their “Factory Fresh” condition.
Q: What can I use if I really need to clean my vinyl windows?
A: Usually a few drops of a mild liquid cleaner in a bucket of water is sufficient to clean any dirt or grime that may have accumulated on the window. If you have more stubborn build-up, the following household cleaners work well, based on a study done bye the SPI (Society of the Plastics Industry); Formula 409, Ajax Liquid Cleaner, Murphy’s Oil Soap, Lysol Cleaner, Soft Scrub, or vinegar and water. The following cleaners or types of cleaners should not be used on vinyl; Clorox, Pine Power, Ivory, Grease Relief, Tide Detergent, nail polish remover (acetone). How To Clean Vinyl
Q: Can I paint my vinyl windows?
A: There are paints specifically made for use on vinyl. Consult your local paint supplier for the proper paint and surface preparation. It is important that you follow the paint manufacturers instructions.
Q: Why are vinyl frames hollow? Why aren’t they solid?
A: Vinyl frames are designed with multiple chambers in the frame to provide thermal efficiency, rigidity and strength without excessive weight. A solid frame would be excessively heavy, difficult to work with, expensive, and would, actually, not perform as well as the multi-chambered designs in today’s window and door products.
Q: Will vinyl windows melt in the hot sun?
A: No. Vinyl windows perform well in the desert climates of the Southwestern U.S. where daytime temperatures can reach 125°F (and above) and surfaces in direct sun can be heated above 165°F (the temperature at which vinyl begins to soften). It’s the multi-chambered design of vinyl products that ensures they’ll handle even those excessive levels of heat. Vinyl is an excellent insulator. It does not conduct heat readily like aluminum and the hollow chambers in a vinyl frame reduce conduction even further. So while the outside surface of a vinyl window or doorframe may get quite hot in direct sun, the interior walls will experience limited heat buildup.
Q: What is fusion welding?
A: Many of today’s vinyl window and door products feature fusion welded corner construction. Quite simply, it is the process of mitering the corners, heating them to above 200°F and bringing the heated corners into contact until they fuse together, forming an exceptionally strong joint and a permanently sealed corner that can’t leak air or water.
Q: What about vinyl windows in a fire?
A: Unlike many common building materials, vinyl will not support combustion. That means they can “burn” if they are completely enveloped in flames from other materials, but if the flame is removed, the vinyl will self extinguish. In fact, PVC has a higher ignition temperature, lower flame spread and lower heat released in a fire than a similar sample of wood, and any smoke produced by burning PVC is of the same range as that of most organic materials.
Q: Are vinyl windows earth-friendly?
A: Yes. Vinyl windows and doors are a very smart choice. Less than one half of vinyl’s weight is dependent on natural resources. Vinyl windows require only one-third of the energy needed to manufacture aluminum windows. Vinyl windows help conserve energy and reduce home heating and cooling costs, and because vinyl windows and doors do not require painting or finishing, homeowners avoid vapor emissions, cleanup and disposal problems associated with frequent application of certain paints and stains.
Q: What is “virgin vinyl”? Do my products have it?
A: Virgin vinyl is the term applied to vinyl that is extruded for the first time. Regrind is the term given to vinyl that has been extruded, then the parts are ground up into small “pellets” and can be re-extruded. The implication is that “virgin vinyl” is purer or superior to reground vinyl. As a thermo plastic, PVC can be reprocessed, typically, around three times with little degradation to the compound. After that, additional processing “uses up” some of the lubricants and other additives that are used in the extrusion process. All of your frame, sashes and other major window and door parts are extruded from virgin vinyl.
Q: What is uPVC? Do my products have it?
A: Yes. Your products are processed with uPVC. UPVC stands for unplasticized PVC. It is an old term brought over by European extruders. Older European PVC formulas contained plasticizers to aid in extrusion of the part. These plasticizers would often “migrate” out of a finished product over time leaving it brittle. This was a problem with older European PVC products. Years ago, newer technology formulas were developed that did not use (or require) plasticizers in rigid extrusions. In Europe, to differentiate products made with the newer formulas (and without plasticizers) they began calling them UPVC.
Q: Is the vinyl in your products just the same as everyone else’s?
A: No. Not all vinyl (PVC) window products are alike! Nor are all window and door vinyl extrusions/formulas equal, either. Chelsea’s advanced formula, proprietary compounds represent the best in vinyl products. Other ordinary PVC products may “skimp” on ingredients or use low-quality additives or formulations to deliver a low price vinyl. Unfortunately, this also tends to deliver a lower quality vinyl product that does not perform well over time. At Chelsea, our TQM (total quality management) program and our SPC (statistical process control) program ensure every segment of the product and its manufacturing is right. Always insist on the quality of products made from Chelsea vinyl extrusions.
Q: Do vinyl products install and handle differently?
A: For the most part, installation of vinyl windows, doors and other products uses similar techniques to those for installing wood or metal products. There are some key differences that should be noted in the handling and storage of vinyl units. These and the proper installation steps are available from the window manufacturer.
Q: What kind of warranty does your vinyl product have?
A: NT Windows’ vinyl extrusions carry a lifetime limited warranty. We are so confident of the superior performance of NT Windows’ specially-formulated high-impact vinyl that all NT Windows extrusions come with a written lifetime limited warranty.
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