Today, as we continue our journey into the eight critical areas, we want to talk a bit more about vinyl window construction. Last time we considered how window frames can be connected together. Today we want to plunge a bit deeper into the anatomy of a vinyl replacement window. For reference purposes, we’ll be talking during this visit about double hung windows, as these represent over 80% of all replacement windows sold.
Vinyl Window Construction–The Anatomy Of A Double Hung Window Frame
A double hung window frame is made up of three different pieces, each of which has a specific function. If you’ve ever been to a home under construction during the framing phase, this will make some sense to you. Look at the image to the left…This is actually what a framed rough opening for a window looks like, and it basically mirrors the window that goes into the opening. The two smaller arrows are pointing to the side rails. Side rails, from a vinyl window construction standpoint, serve to provide the overall structure for the windows, in the much the same way as 2 X 4 studs do for walls. The larger arrow indicates the header. Notice the shape and size of the header is much different that the side rails More on that in just a bit. The header serves to provide strength over an area that has little or not structural integrity (i.e. no side rails). The last piece of a double hung mainframe that we need to talk about is the sill. Most people can figure out what the sill is for; it is to move the water away and keep it from getting into the home.
Vinyl Window Construction–Some Manufacturers Take Shortcuts
The right way to build a vinyl double hung window frame is to have extrusions (pieces of vinyl) that are dedicated, which simply means there should be three different extrusions ( a header, two side rails and a sill) used to build a double hung window. Alas, some manufacturers look to save money by using the same extrusion (most often a side rail) all the way around. Without getting too technical, that leads to problems with instability, as two pieces get fusion welded together that were not designed to get welded together, as well as water issues that require the use of unsightly “weep holes” in double hung windows.
Sunrise Windows double hung vinyl replacement windows use dedicated extrusions because they believe that’s the right way to build a window. Sunrise believes that the best vinyl window construction processes include using dedicated extrusions.