Updated: Aug. 14, 2023
Published: Oct. 17, 2019
Learn more about vinyl windows, including their product strength and longevity in Phoenix heat, find out which brands are best in the desert!
Vinyl windows are an affordable choice when it comes to buying new windows for your home, and today’s vinyl windows can easily last for years in the Arizona heat… decades of even the hottest summers.
They’ve come a long way and are a common choice for home replacement windows and doors.
Long-Lasting Benefits of Vinyl Windows
If you’re seeking a durable and energy-efficient solution for your windows, vinyl is an excellent choice. Vinyl windows, particularly those from reputable manufacturers like Andersen, Pella, Milgard, and Anlin, are designed to withstand the intense heat of Arizona. Unlike windows from a decade ago that would soften and sag after being exposed to direct, intense 100+ degree sunlight for months, modern blends of PVC vinyl with inhibitors to prevent the sun’s UV from softening and damaging the vinyl, reinforced metal within the vinyl and additives in the vinyl itself all combine into a better product.
The longevity is much, much better.
Modern vinyl windows from a reputable manufacturer typically last 15 to 20 years in Arizona, and as long as 40 years in more moderate climates.¹
You do get what you pay for, however, so it’s important to look at the specific brand and product of the vinyl window you’re considering. The vinyl used in a window varies from one manufacturer to the other, with a wide variety of additives, parts, sturdiness or thickness of the vinyl and other factors to consider. It’s important to ask about expected lifespan, warranty and energy efficiency details.
The most obvious indicator for how long a vinyl window may last in Arizona heat is the rigidity of the vinyl—something very difficult for a homeowner to judge… Although, if you can bend the vinyl relatively easily, it’s probably too soft for Arizona. Asking specifically about strength of the vinyl and longevity of the window across the different options they sell can be helpful, and specifically asking which products they prefer, and why.
A windows company selling multiple brands often has more experience and information about this than those who sell a single brand. They have a broader base of comparison, access to more customer feedback or warranty issues, and may even run tests of their own across the various product lines they sell.
We’ve taken some time to compile information on vinyl window products from the brands we sell, including Andersen, Pella, Milgard and Anlin. The products are listed from their premium priced product to their most affordable. All of these are excellent choices.
ANDERSEN VINYL WINDOWS:
Fibrex Lasts Longer
Andersen offers three product lines related to vinyl: the premium 400 Series and more affordable 200 Series of wood windows, which are both clad with vinyl on the exterior, and the 100 Series that uses a blend of wood fiber and vinyl throughout the entire frame.
The 400 and 200 Series of vinyl clad windows use an exterior layer of vinyl to help protect the wood against the elements, lengthening the lifespan and durability of the wood window product. We do not recommend vinyl-clad windows in the Phoenix Metro area, since the vinyl typically is too thin to withstand the Sonoran Desert. However, the aluminum-clad version of this product is excellent, and perfect for homeowners who prefer the look of wood inside the home.
In contrast, Andersen’s 100 Series is a vinyl composite window (not wood) that uses Fibrex®, a proprietary blend of 40% recycled wood fibers upcycled from the manufacturing of the wood windows, added to 60% polyvinylchloride. Because each wood fiber is coated with the PVC, it has a longer lifespan than vinyl windows and can be expected to be twice as strong and rigid. It’s guaranteed not to warp in Arizona sun, tolerating temperatures up to 150 degrees. They also have fewer issues than vinyl with expanding or contracting, and bypass the high maintenance requirements of wood windows.
We often recommend this brand, since the composite blend lasts longer than a vinyl window. It’s a lovely product with a distinctive look.
PELLA VINYL WINDOWS:
Built to Last
Another premium brand, Pella Windows offers three vinyl window product lines. The Pella® 250 Series and 350 Series are vinyl windows with double- or triple-pane glass that have multi-chambered vinyl frames. Depending on the size of the window, it can have up to 18 insulating air chambers to buffer against heat transfer. These two product lines by Pella also have steel-reinforced sashes that make the windows stronger than most vinyl windows, improve energy efficiency and offer an attractive beveled edge.
The 350 Series is Pella’s most energy efficient window and its premium line of vinyl windows and the 250 Series its most affordable triple-pane option. The Encompass by Pella product line (also called ThermaStar by Pella®) is Pella’s line of double-pane vinyl windows, which includes the same high quality manufacturing you’d expect from all Pella products, meet or exceed Energy Star® guidelines, and use Pella’s unique vinyl formula tested for weathering, durability and color retention.
MILGARD VINYL WINDOWS:
Durable & Energy-Efficient
A great choice for the budget shopper, Milgard’s product line for vinyl windows are durable, reliable and structurally sound. They’re exceptionally energy-efficient, including a proprietary coating technology that allows UV rays to pass through the vinyl color formulation, and reflect off the frame. This preserves the exterior finish, disperses heat efficiently and is heat-stable.
The compound used for Milgard vinyl windows includes titanium dioxide to make the vinyl more heat resistant, and improve insulation.
Milgard offers four distinct product lines for vinyl windows. All of them are based on the same vinyl formula, include laminated glass and offer heavier glazing options to maximize energy efficiency. They only differ in style, and that an accidental glass breakage policy is included with the Tuscany line at no extra cost.
The Tuscany® Series is a premium vinyl window that looks similar to a traditional wood window, and is designed to meet the tough thermal and solar environments in Arizona. Milgard’s Trinsic™ Series offers a sleeker frame style that emulates aluminum, with a narrow, modern frame style. A new product line launched in early 2019, it offers the maximum available viewing area available from Milgard vinyl products. The Style Line® Series is quality vinyl window designed to be affordable, stable in Arizona heat and low maintenance. Lastly, Milgard’s Quiet Line™ Series is a triple-pane window product designed to dampen noisy environments. It complements their other product lines for homeowners that only need noise reduction windows in certain areas of the home.
ANLIN VINYL WINDOWS:
Unlike the other window brands we sell that manufacture vinyl, wood, aluminum and fiberglass windows, Anlin is a family-owned business that produces only vinyl windows. Even though they are based in California, Anlin performed local tests in Gila Bend to ensure their product easily handles Arizona heat, with a formulation designed specifically to withstand hot, sunny climates. We like that. Their MasterBlend™ vinyl compound includes titanium dioxide to protect against UV light, calcium carbonate to add strength and insulate, plus stabilizers and modifiers that form the proprietary mix.
At DunRite Windows & Doors, the vinyl Anlin products we offer include the Bay View series with its thinner frame style to accommodate existing blinds and shutters, the Catalina Series with its excellent thermal performance, the Panoramic Series of windows designed with a slimmer profile, and the Coronado Series with a deeper frame to accommodate certain window operating styles and design features.
Unlike many manufacturers, Anlin windows meet all three certifications for the American Architectural Manufacturers Association, including forced entry resistance, thermal performance, and air/water/structural performance.
One feature we especially like about Anlin, apart from its local environmental testing, is the accidental broken glass protection. As long as you own the home, Anlin offers a complimentary broken glass replacement policy that covers parts, shipping and labor. Only laminated glass products are excluded.
WHY CHOOSE VINYL WINDOWS
When considering window replacement, the durability of vinyl windows makes them a compelling choice. These windows are engineered to last in extreme heat and offer excellent energy efficiency with minimal maintenance. The best product for your home may not be based on brand preference but on factors such as the design of the home, installation style, and your specific needs.
FEATURES CAN BE MORE ESSENTIAL THAN BRAND PREFERENCE
All of these brands manufacture excellent, high quality vinyl windows that last in Arizona heat. They have excellent durability and energy efficiency, with very low maintenance needs. And if you’re upgrading from single-pane windows, or even vinyl windows more than a decade old, they can dramatically reduce heat transfer and improve energy efficiency.²
However, each varies in design, hardware, colors, energy efficiency ratings and warranty. They may have differently designed frames and hardware, giving each its own profile, and some frames show more glass than others, or may not be available in larger sizes. The best product may not be a brand you think you’d like to have, but depends on what works best for the home, the installation style and the end result the homeowner is looking for.
It’s important to obtain a quote from a salesperson who clearly has the experience and knowledge to discuss these kinds of details.
SO WHICH VINYL WINDOWS SHOULD YOU BUY?
We cannot recommend specific vinyl window products for your home in this article, of course, but we’re happy to come out to your home to discuss them. During that visit, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of specific vinyl windows, and the products that are most suitable for your specific home and location, along with variables such as the design of the home, size of the window openings and other criteria that impact selection.
As always, our goal is to provide you with enough information to confidently make a decision, not pressure you into buying! Sound good? Schedule your in-home estimate now.
DunRite Windows & Doors services the Scottsdale and Metropolitan Phoenix area.
¹ Vila, R. (2014). Pros and cons of vinyl windows. Bob Vila. Vinyl Institute. (n.d.). Energy efficiency and vinyl products.
² U.S. Department of Energy. (n.d.). Energy efficient window treatments.