Can you paint vinyl windows in Chicago, a city known for wild winds and brutal Midwestern winters? There’s some disagreement on this topic, as experts constantly argue about whether it's cost-effective to paint vinyl window frames in the Windy City.
Whether you live along the Red Line or the Blue Line, this article will help you explore the pros and cons of painted vinyl windows in Chicago, and learn how to paint those vinyl window frames if you opt to go ahead.
Common Painted Vinyl Windows Problems
Vinyl windows can be painted, but that does not mean they should be painted. Generally, home contractors on the North Side and South Side alike will tell you that painting vinyl window frames in Chicago is a viable option, while window manufacturers will contradict them.
The major drawback is that paint does not adhere well to vinyl, particularly during northern Illinois winters. This results in paint flaking off, leaving you with windows that look worse than the Damen Silos.
The color you choose can also be a factor. Darker paint colors attract solar heat, which puts additional heat stress on your window frames (particularly during the summer, when Chicago temperatures can exceed 90 degrees). If your current windows are older, the increased heat could cause warping.
Another important consideration when thinking about painting your window frames is your window warranty. Altering the vinyl window frame may void your warranty. Without a valid warranty, most Chicagoland-area manufacturers won’t fix your windows.
Some manufacturers in Illinois will only accept certain colors of vinyl paint - sometimes going so far as to ask you to send in the paint chip for verification! If your windows are under warranty, it's worth a phone call to find out what colors, if any, don’t void the warranty.
Now you understand the risks if you choose to paint the frames. But we live in the age of Pinterest, where DIY is king. Chicagoans continue to paint vinyl window frames because it’s the cheapest and easiest way to change the color of their frames.
The only other option is window replacement. When you choose to replace your windows, you should work with a company in the Chicagoland area that customizes the windows, including style, size, and color. Here at Window Nation, we offer several vinyl windows colors for you to choose from to suit your specific taste, the style of your home, and your favorite Chicago sports team (go Cubs!). Explore all the vinyl replacement window options available at Window Nation.
How to Paint Vinyl Window Frames in Chicago
- 220-grit sandpaper
- Primer specifically made to work on vinyl such as an alkyd- based primer
- Vinyl safe latex exterior paint
- Foam paint brushes of varying size
- Painters tape
- Drop cloth
- Warm water and sponge for ‘goofs’
Before you start painting vinyl window frames, clean the windows to remove any dirt. You never want to paint a dirty window, as that will trap all that Chicago dirt beneath the paint.
You may want to sand the windows using 220-grit sandpaper lightly. Roughing up the frame encourages the primer to bond with the vinyl frames.
Make sure you cover and tape off your window glass and position newspaper (if you still get the Chicago Tribune) or a drop cloth to help manage drips or paint application sprays.
After you’ve completed all the prep work, apply a primer that’s formulated to work with vinyl. Primers can soften vinyl, which can decrease material integrity, so one that’s formulated for vinyl is critical. Using a primer is essential because it prepares the vinyl for paint, increasing the odds that your paint will stick to the windows.
Let the primer dry thoroughly. We recommend exceeding the amount of time directed on the packaging. Once dry, apply a thin coat of paint using a foam paintbrush.
Ideally, you want to apply several thin coats of paint and allow a long time for it to dry between applications. As with the primer, you should choose a paint formula that’s appropriate for vinyl (which will be noted on the label).
While you’re saving up to buy replacement windows for your Chicago home, painting is a solid interim solution.
Are you thinking about replacing your old windows? Our job at Window Nation is not limited to just replacing your windows; we are here to guide each customer on what to expect during your installation. We want each homeowner to be delighted from the moment they pick up the phone until long after their install.
On your install day, a crew will arrive at your home and brief you on what to expect from them before beginning the project. At that time, you can ask any questions you may have. After your briefing, the following will occur:
- The preparation. Installers will place drop cloths around your home to catch any debris that will occur throughout the project. Then, they will proceed to remove your old windows.*
- Out with the old, in with new. Once the old windows are removed, the installers will clean the opening thoroughly and put the new windows in place.
- Insulation and sealing. After the window is put into place, the installers will insulate and seal the frame into place. This is one of the most important part of your install. Insulation is what will keep the cold air and moisture outside, saving you money on energy costs.
- The clean-up. After installers have completed your project, they are responsible for cleaning up. We will dispose of your old windows and remove any debris that our drop cloths didn’t catch. Shortly after your install, one of our auditors will come visit your home to make sure our team installed your windows properly.
*Remember to remove any blinds, items, or curtains prior the crew’s arrival to give them easy access to the windows. It’s also helpful to move any furniture or items away from your doors so the crew can move materials in and out.
Completion times for projects are subject to vary. While we aim to complete installs within a day, unforeseen circumstances like weather may cause a delay. If installers need more time, our service and scheduling team will with work you to discuss what to expect next.
Learn more about our home window installation ->
Replacing old windows will freshen up your home’s appearance while curbing energy use and enhancing home value. Composite replacement windows have been gaining traction in recent years, so how do they compare to energy efficient vinyl windows?
What are Composite Windows?
Composite windows are newer than vinyl windows, which have been around for decades. These windows are made from a blend of materials similar to what your car’s bumper is made of, including resin and fiberglass. Like a car bumper, the window frame is flexible yet strong.
While you can usually tell a vinyl window by its appearance, composite windows look more like wood windows. This may be beneficial if you have a historic home that would look strange with modern windows. While composite windows mimic the look of wood, they do not come with the maintenance of a wood window, which means no more scraping or painting to keep windows looking sharp.
Composite replacement window prices vary by the features selected, including window color and type of glass. In general, the prices for these windows fall between wood and vinyl. This often makes them a happy medium for homeowners who want wood windows, but cannot afford them or do not want to maintain them.
Features of Vinyl vs. Composite Windows
With vinyl vs composite windows, there are more similarities than differences.
Both types of windows are low maintenance. They need no painting, staining, or scraping and they are impervious to rot. Both may require periodic lubrication and cleaning to operate smoothly and look their best.
Vinyl and composite windows come in an array of colors, which means that most homeowners will be able to find something that matches their home’s style and color palette.
Composite windows offer a high degree of energy efficiency, as do vinyl windows. With both types of window, homeowners have options to enhance the energy efficiency. For instance, low-e coating blocks solar heat gain to keep the home temperature steady with lower energy consumption. Triple-pane glass provides superior comfort over old single-pane windows.
Composite windows are often recyclable at the end of their life span, a benefit that may appeal to eco-conscious homeowners.
Vinyl vs Composite Windows Cost
Vinyl windows cost less than composite windows and offer a high amount of energy efficiency, thanks to the naturally insulating properties of the PVC, the type of plastic used to create vinyl windows. Vinyl windows can be created in nearly any shape or size you like, which means they are a good choice for most applications.
Vinyl vs Composite Windows Durability
While you shouldn’t plan for extensive maintenance for either composite or vinyl windows, both could become dinged by hail. Vinyl windows can sometimes warp when exposed to high heat, which means that composite may be a better choice for hot climates. For temperate climates with occasional heat waves, you can safely choose vinyl or composite.
While they may have a lower price point than other windows, vinyl windows are hardly low-quality. They typically last 30 years before they need to be replaced, and they won’t rust the way aluminum windows will.
There are many styles of both composite and vinyl windows. Start your search for replacement windows by browsing top styles from bay or double hung to casement, or reach out to get a free quote for window replacement from the pros at Window Nation.
This is it, folks! It’s the fighting event of the year! It has come down to the two most popular choices for replacement windows. Vinyl windows versus wood windows. In every town and state across America, this is the battle of the century! Who will it be?
Issues and Benefits of Wood Windows
In one corner, weighing in at approximately 20 to 30 pounds per average size window, this classic wood window has a lot to offer. The intimate relationship you will have these windows is certain. You will get to know each and every corner of the frame when you clean it.
Wood window maintenance can be tedious if you do not start out with the right quality of windows. Just think how well you will know all its angles, corners and designs when you have to sand, scrape and repaint it.
You will need to check the cladding and trim regularly for any cracks that may allow water to penetrate the wood frame. A moist or wet wood frame can be lots of trouble, it’s important to choose wood windows that have been properly treated with water-repellent preservative. A warped frame is a weakness that might be a knock-out of the wood window. Another important point is the cost of wood windows vs vinyl: on average wood windows are more expensive than vinyl windows.
However, we must also mention that no other kind of window comes close to wood in terms of the beauty, elegance, and charm it can bring to a home. Wood windows from Window Nation are made from durable ponderosa pine with glass systems that meet the most stringent ENERGY STAR requirements. Wood windows are also very easy to customize to your own specific style, it can be easily painted, stained or even clad with other materials like aluminium or fiberglass.
Issues and Benefits of Vinyl Windows
In the other corner, weighing in at approximately 8 to 12 pounds per average size window, this new, sleek vinyl replacement window is made to your custom specifications. It is made to perfectly fit your needs. With many colors and styles to choose from this is YOUR window. A strong, independent window. It will not require any of your time or money for maintenance.
With no wood components, you don’t have to be concerned about moisture or warping it. Energy efficiency is its middle name. Keeping your homes indoor temperature stable is what it’s fighting for.
This reliable, efficient, sleek window will not fail you nor will it give up. Standing tall until the last bell, this replacement vinyl window from Window Nation comes with one of the best warranties in the business. Nothing and no one can knock it out.
Wood Windows vs. Vinyl Windows: You Decide The Winner!
Wood windows may be a traditional look and style, but that doesn’t mean that they are the best window to choose. Replacing wood windows with vinyl is also very common with owners of older homes because of all the advantages of vinyl windows. In this battle of vinyl windows vs. wood windows, vinyl reigns supreme. Replacement vinyl windows from Window Nation are a triple threat. They are less expensive to purchase, ultra-low to maintain, and extremely energy efficient. Whichever replacement window option you choose, choose Window Nation if you want the best.
Vinyl windows are supposed to be low maintenance, but this trait does not exempt them from the need for a good spring cleaning. A combination of spring rains, muddy ground, and high pollen counts can leave windows streaked with dirt and debris. Admittedly, cleaning vinyl window frames does not sound like a fun thing to do just as the weather turns nice, but it’s so easy and pays off in the long run. Wondering what is the best way to clean vinyl windows? Get our best tips for how to clean vinyl window frames to restore your windows this spring.
Exterior Vinyl Window Cleaning Tips
Cleaning the outside of vinyl window frames will pay off in terms of curb appeal. Create a simple cleaning solution by mixing 1-1/2 cups of distilled white vinegar with one gallon of warm water (pro tip: Add the juice of half a lemon to this to mask the vinegar odor) or mix a teaspoon of mild soap in a gallon of warm water.
Rinse the outside of the windows with water to dislodge dirt and debris.
Once the windows have been rinsed, apply the cleaning solution to the glass and frames. Use a soft sponge or a lint-free cloth to clean the vinyl windows. If you’re using a soapy solution, rinse the windows again to prevent soap scum from drying on your windows, then use a lint-free cloth to dry the windows. If you’ve chosen the vinegar solution, dry the windows with a cloth to enjoy gleaming windows. That’s it, that’s all you need to know on how to clean vinyl window frames and glass outside your home.
How to Clean the Inside of Vinyl Windows
Here as well, you will want to remove all dirt and debris from the frame, tracks, and screen before you deep clean those windows. Your vacuum comes in handy to dislodge soil from the window. If you’re noticing a lot of dirt along the window sill, your windows may need weather stripping or sealing, which can block air (and dirt) from passing through the window.
When it comes to cleaning vinyl window tracks, cleaning wipes work well for getting into the corners. Run wipes up and down along the tracks to pick up dust and dirt. You will know you’re done when the wipes don’t discolor from contact with the window.
You may use the same cleaning solution to clean the inside of the window as the exterior. Cleaning vinyl window frames inside your home is straightforward. Simply apply your soap or vinegar solution to the window frame, working from the top down. This way, you will not accidentally drip on areas you’ve already cleaned. Elbow grease can help you remove dirt and debris from the window without damaging the frames. If you encounter a stubborn stain, scrub the area with a soft-bristled cleaning brush.
Some people like to use a squeegee to remove the cleaning solution without leaving streaks on the window. However, your lint-free cloth will also work to clean and dry the interior of the window frame. Paper towels are a poor choice to clean the window since they will leave lint particles on your glass.
If you have sun exposure, you may notice the window cleaner starts to dry before you’ve finished the job. Another of our top window cleaning tips is to work on an overcast day when you will not be fighting the sun.
If your windows look cloudy or dirty even after you have cleaned them, it may be time to replace your vinyl windows. Explore high-quality vinyl windows from Window Nation or reach out to get a free estimate for replacement windows.
Air leaks from old windows can make your home feel drafty and lead to high utility bills. Replacing old windows with vinyl windows is a cost-effective way to preserve both your comfort and your home’s value. Learn what to look for in a vinyl window with our vinyl window buying guide.
Benefits of Vinyl Windows
Vinyl windows are a cost-efficient way to replace drafty windows and improve the value of your home, with a much lower price point than wood windows. Vinyl windows are maintenance-free once installed and they come in a wide range of colors.
Wondering “how long do vinyl windows last”? They hold up for 30 years on average.
Energy Efficient Vinyl Windows Features
Vinyl windows are also highly energy efficient. A few of the top desired energy efficient features include:
- Argon gas insertion – Filling the space between the panes of glass with argon gas, an inert substance, decreases air transfer between the panes of glass. This means more energy efficiency and more comfort in the home.
- Low-E glass – Low-E glass, which stands for low-emissivity, blocks UV rays without affecting light. Since the sun’s rays are reflected back into the atmosphere, your home stays cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
- Triple-pane glass – The more panes of glass in your window, the more energy-efficient. Replace old single-pane windows with double or triple-pane glass to start saving money every month.
- Fade protection – If you’ve ever had furniture fade from high sun exposure, then you know how harmful UV rays can be. Fade protection coating bounces UV rays back to the environment so you get all the benefits of natural light with no fading.
The Energy Star designation indicates windows that have significant energy saving benefits. By choosing Energy Star windows, you can maximize the value and ROI of replacement windows.
Vinyl Windows Styles
You’ll find vinyl windows available in all the common window types, including:
Double-hung windows are a good all-purpose window for most applications. They tilt inward, which makes cleaning a snap.
Bay and bow windows can let in a great amount of light and call attention to your home. They work well for greenhouses, reading nooks, and other decorative features.
Casements are a good idea for locations where it’s not easy to reach over and open the window, such as a laundry room or over the kitchen sink.
Sliding windows are easy to operate; all you do is slide them horizontally. They are a good choice for windows that are wider than they are tall, such as basement windows.
Specialty windows can be custom-made in any size or shape, allowing you to replace historically significant or artistic windows with something that’s not drafty.
While many homeowners simply replace the windows they have with an energy-efficient window of the same style, you can also change it up to accommodate your tastes or your home’s unique architectural features. Once you’ve identified a supplier, ask them about any style of window that interests you to decide what’s right.
Vinyl Window Manufacturers
Replacement windows are a big expense, and they will hold up for decades as long as they were properly made and correctly installed. For this reason, it is key that you find a reputable window manufacturer and installer.
Look for a manufacturer that has a proven track record of success through testimonials from satisfied customers and a positive rating with the Better Business Bureau. Many customers feel it’s important to support local businesses, so you might want to find a window manufacturer that’s family-owned and operated and makes products locally.
The vinyl window warranty is very important with a high-value purchase like a window. Read the fine print with any vinyl replacement window to see what type of warranty the manufacturer offers.
Find a Contractor for Vinyl Window Installation
Once you find the right product, look for a licensed professional to install the windows. If the windows aren’t properly installed, the manufacturer may not honor their warranty. The right contractor will have references, a strong work history of window installation, and a friendly and knowledgeable demeanor.
Don’t rush into replacing your old windows. Take the time to understand the different features of energy efficient vinyl windows, determine your budget for replacement windows, and find reputable service providers. You will reap the benefits of this home improvement for 30 years.
You realize that you just can’t go through another winter with those drafty, old windows. You understand that most of your heat is seeping through the cracks in the casings and that old, worn-out framework surely does make your home seem drab; yes, you understand all of that. The thing you don’t understand is where to begin. I mean, just the thought of replacing all those windows makes your head spin. Which style, which panes, gas filled or not, wooden or vinyl…the decisions are mind boggling. With so much to consider and so much at stake, it is no wonder that you are more than overwhelmed. I mean, it’s not like you can just change your mind about the style once the new hole has been cut and they are already installed, right? No, it is far easier to just pay the added cost of heat and put on a sweater or six to keep warm this winter - Which may be true if you are turning to anyone other than Window Nation for your replacement window needs.
The replacement window specialists here at Window Nation know just how to help relieve all of that stress and anxiety. We can quickly assess your home with our free in-home estimate and help you figure out exactly what needs to be done. Based on location, direction, age, and other details of your home and its location, we can quickly help you choose the best glass and material options. We can even help you with your style choices. When new replacement windows are in your future, don’t stress; call the experts here at Window Nation instead.
We will walk you through the whole process step-by-step and will ensure that you are completely satisfied with the expert installation of those new windows. We can even offer affordable financing options if needed. After all, windows are what we do. And if you are looking for new doors or siding for your home, we do that too. For quality products and exceptional service visit the Window Nation showroom nearest you.
Nothing. Nope, not one single thing. This is the huge advantage of vinyl windows. They never need to be stained, painted or altered in any way. Vinyl windows will not take your time or money for maintenance and upkeep.
Vinyl windows are the best option for today's homes. Here at Window Nation our windows are precision manufactured by state of the art equipment. Your windows are custom made to your specifications. This ensures a perfect fit each and every time. We have many colors, styles and sizes available. You will surely find the perfect one for your style and budget.
We're not dissing on wood windows because we appreciate their beauty but they do require ongoing maintenance to keep them looking and performing their best. Paint or stain has to be reapplied on a regular basis to protect the wood from rotting. Holes, scratches and damage must be fixed to protect the wood and window frame. When water penetrates wood window frames then the wood can warp and move. This causes gaps between the window and the wall opening. Any gaps allow air to move between your house and the outdoors. This is not good. Wood windows have a classical look and appeal but again regular maintenance is in order for them perform up to their maximum capabilities.
So if you are looking for stylish replacement windows that don't need much TLC, vinyl windows are the way to go. You don't have to worry about how they'll react to the elements or spend time and money keeping them looking their best. Choose the best in vinyl windows by choosing Window Nation and never worry about window upkeep again.
For replacement windows in Cleveland, Akron, Canton, and Ohio, please stop by Window Nation's showrooms, contact us online or simply give us a call at 888-406-7909.