Vinyl windows are among the most popular windows for both new home construction or for replacement window projects because they have a fantastic combination of features that you can’t get with any other material. Vinyl windows are affordable, energy-efficient, durable, and are virtually maintenance-free. So, that begs the question: How are vinyl windows made?
Vinyl is an attractive material for manufacturing windows because it is cost-effective, has three times the heat insulation of aluminum, and doesn’t corrode like most other building materials. Top-quality vinyl windows often come with lifetime or even double-lifetime warranties, which can enhance your home’s resale value because the warranty transfers with ownership.
What Are Vinyl Windows Made From?
Most of a vinyl window is made from a material that you’ve probably heard of that’s called PVC. PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride, which is a plastic polymer with additives that enable the manufacturer to mold it into many different shapes and colors and give the material the ability to resist degradation by the sun.
Vinyl is an attractive and versatile material that can be rigid enough for the toughest industrial applications or as thin and flexible as wallcoverings. Vinyl is so desirable that most of the vinyl produced goes into long-term construction applications. It’s considered a safe, eco-friendly material that is used in many consumer applications.
How Is a Vinyl Window Frame Made?
A window frame is a framework that surrounds and supports your window system. It consists of a head (the top), a jamb (the vertical sides), and a sill (the bottom). A good, solid frame is essential to any quality window.
- The first step in creating a frame is to cut the PVC to the window’s size, height, and width.
- Then pieces of hardware are inserted in preformed spaces to facilitate the installation of the rest of the window system’s components.
- You don’t want water collecting inside the window frame because it could cause mold or mildew, so small holes are drilled into the frame at strategic locations to allow for effective drainage.
- Structural integrity is important, so the corners of the window frame are then melted together at high temperatures in order to create a solid structure that won’t break or warp. There’s no welding involved with vinyl windows.
- Looks and function matter, so specialized computer-driven cutters and grinders clean up all the edges to assure an excellent fit as well as a good appearance.
- Carefully designed spacers are then installed to accommodate a screen.
- Cover plates are hammered or snapped into place to deliver an attractive finished appearance.
- The window frame inspected and then set aside to await the rest of the vinyl window’s components.
How is a Window Screen Made?
The aluminum frame for the window screen is molded and then cut to size to fit the window frame. The fiberglass screening material is then cut to size and then installed by hand with a spline roller.
- The screen material is placed over the window screen frame. The window screen frame has narrow u-channels running along the top, sides, and bottom.
- A worker using a spline roller forces a narrow rubber strip that is called a screen spline and that has been sized to fill the screen frame’s u-channels into the u-channels on top of the edges of the screen material. This procedure holds the screen in place and allows it to remain taut. A spline roller is a hand-held tool with two riveted rollers that enables a worker to easily push the spline and screen material into the u-channel with the front wheel, and then secure the spline and screen material in place with the second wheel.
- The finished screen is inspected and then set aside for installation into the window frame.
How is a Window Sash Made?
A window sash is the part of the window system that fits inside the window frame. The sash is an important part of your window system because it is designed to be airtight to prevent leaks and drafts. A quality sash in good working order will help you reduce your energy costs.
The window sash holds your window glass in place. When you open or close your window, you’re shifting the position of the window sash. Depending on your window design, it moves up and down and is often removable or tilts inward for easier window glass cleaning.
The window sash manufacturing process is critical to creating a quality window.
- First, the PVC is cut to size to guarantee a perfect fit for its intended window frame. A good fit is essential to the smooth operation of the window system.
- The sash is sealed to prevent leaks and drafts.
- A silicone strip is affixed to the bottom of the sash to achieve a good seal when the window sash is closed.
- A worker installs all the hardware that will allow the sash to smoothly move up and down and lock.
- The sash is inspected and set aside to await the installation of window glass.
How is Glass Put in a Window?
Glass is the single largest component of your window. There is a range of choices when it comes to glass, although most manufacturers offer a preferred selection to achieve manufacturing efficiency. Your choice of glass may influence the final cost of your window. Lucky for you, a lot of information is available online.
The glass installation process is straight-forward:
- Pieces of glass are cut to fit the size and shape of the sash.
- The glass is inspected to ensure that there are no cracks or blemishes.
- The glass is washed and then tempered in a very hot oven to strengthen the glass against breaking.
- The glass is sealed to secure it in place and to prevent leaks.
- The sash is now ready for installation into the window frame.
The Finishing Touches on Windows
The vinyl window components are now manufactured, so it’s time for final assembly.
- The sash is placed into the preformed slots in the window frame.
- The screen is placed in front of the sash in its preformed slots.
- The window’s locking hardware is installed.
- The window is tested and inspected
The completed window system is packaged for shipping.