Buyer's Guide to Vinyl Windows

There are six main factors that should be kept in mind in a vinyl window purchase decision:

Six Comparative Check Points

1. Energy Efficiency

  • Invest in a window that has earned an ENERGY STAR rating.
  • Windows with a warm-edge spacer system reduce heat loss and condensation.
  • Multi-chambered vinyl extrusions give added insulating protection and strength.

2. Maintenance

  • A top-of-the-line block and tackle balance system will operate smoothly and never need adjustment or lubrication.
  • Look for windows that tilt in for easy cleaning.

3. Appearance

  • Windows with a sleek design allow for maximum glass area and have a less bulky appearance.
  • Attractive, low profile hardware will draw attention to what's outside rather than what's on the window.
  • Although all vinyl windows will never need painting, insist on true white vinyl – some vinyl windows may have an unattractive "blue-ish" tint.

4. Reliability

  • Choose a window made from 100% virgin vinyl with adequate wall thickness and multi-chamber construction.
  • Heavy-duty hardware and components are a must to ensure a lifetime of performance.
  • Look for ISO 9001 certification which ensures strict quality control for an outstanding window every time.

5. Warranty

  •  Portland Glass® has a competitive warranty and a history of standing behind its products.
  • A warranty is only as good as the company behind it.

6. Options

  • Select a window that allows you to illustrate your individual style. Whether it be through colors, hardware, grid configurations or designer shapes, find a vinyl window that will complement the architecture of your home and your personal style.

Portland Glass® offers an extensive line of high quality replacement and new construction vinyl windows to meet your unique needs. The expert glaziers at Portland Glass® have the knowledge and experience necessary to assist you in your vinyl window purchase decision. We have 36 convenient locations throughout Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine to serve you.

When choosing a vinyl window, be aware of windows that operate with inferior "spiral-style" balances. These balances require frequent adjustment and operation becomes more difficult over time. At Portland Glass®, we use only superior block and tackle balances which never need adjustment and offer convenient fingertip operation. Additionally, our vinyl windows offer tilt-in sashes for convenient and easy cleaning.

Along with functionality, the aesthetic quality of your vinyl windows is a very important decision factor. As a homeowner, you take pride in your home, and appearance counts! Many window companies use second-rate vinyl that can result in an unattractive off-white and even blue-ish tint. At Portland Glass®, we use only 100% virgin vinyl in the construction of our windows to ensure a true white color. In addition, our windows are designed to maximize glass area. Portland Glass® uses sleek, low profile hardware components that offer an attractive finish without obstructing the view to the outside.

Vinyl windows are a long term investment that should last for years to come. You can be sure that vinyl windows from Portland Glass® are built to last. Our vinyl windows are engineered with thick wall, multi-chamber construction for unsurpassed strength to ensure a lifetime of performance. You are assured consistent quality in every vinyl window from Portland Glass®.

Multi-chambered Extrusion Comparison

Portland Glass Vinyl Windows have Multi-chambered sills for greater strength.

Other windows have sills with fewer chambers and less structural performance. 

Energy Savings

One of the most important factors to consider in choosing a vinyl window is the window's energy efficiency rating. A window that is ENERGY STAR qualified will help keep your home comfortable and will reduce your energy costs. A major component of a window's overall energy efficiency rating is its glazing system. Windows with "clear" glass are the least energy efficient, while those with Low-E glazing are much more thermally efficient. Low-E, or Low Emissivity, glazing on glass controls the transfer of heat through the window. In addition to energy savings, Low-E also effectively reduces the amount of transmitted ultraviolet light which can damage carpets, fabrics, and drapes. With this glazing, Portland Glass® vinyl windows are ENERGY STAR qualified. At Portland Glass®, we have several different energy efficiency options that will help keep you comfortable and your energy costs down.

Energy Efficient Glazing, Featuring PPG Intercept®

Portland Glass® windows and patio doors feature the PPG Intercept® "Warm-Edge" spacer system. Intercept® is a unique, seamless coated steel U-channel system developed by PPG Industries which is located where the glass is sealed to the window frame. The U-channel spacer bar is manufactured as one continuous piece, providing excellent structural integrity and superior thermal performance. PPG Intercept® "Warm-Edge" technology also provides 10% warmer indoor glass edge temperatures and outstanding argon gas retention, a higher R-value, and excellent condensation resistance.

Low-E/Argon Gas

We combine PPG Intercept®, Low-E Glass and Argon gas between the glass for superior thermal efficiency. Argon gas is much heavier than air, making it more difficult for warm or cold air to pass through. This glazing choice will meet or exceed most local building code requirements and provides ENERGY STAR® qualified performance.

Optional ENERGY STAR qualified Low-E/Argon gas-filled glazing

Double Low-E/Argon

This top of the line glazing system utilizes Low-E coating on both pieces of glass for increased UV protection and more heat transfer resistance. Argon gas between the glass makes warm or cold air pass through more difficult, thus saving energy.

Portland Glass® is proud to install windows manufactured by Harvey Industries of Waltham, Massachusetts.

To learn more about our vinyl windows, please contact the Portland Glass location nearest you.


Why does any walk-through door or sidelite require safety glass?

According to 1977 Federal Glazing Standards, safety glazing materials must be used in any door or anything within 2 feet of a door. In addition, any glass that is within 18"of the floor must also be safety glass.  This lessens the risk of injury should the glass break.

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