One of the big advantages of vinyl windows is in the sturdiness and longevity of the PVC material. When properly installed, vinyl frames, jambs, and brickmoulds can last well over twenty-five years.

Yet, we sometimes get window service requests from our customers for cracks in vinyl components.

How come?

cracked_vinyl_frame broken_vinyl
A crack in the frame usually requires the whole frame to be replaced.

broken_stopperSmaller parts like stoppers or jambs can be replaced individually in the event of a crack.

The cracks in the pictures above usually occur as a result of mishandling either during the production, shipping or installation of the replacement windows.

The installers may not always check or notice the crack prior to the installation. Similarly, it can be missed by the homeowner after the installation. If you just had new windows installed recently, make sure to thoroughly check them in the daylight.

Pay more attention to operable windows. Cracks in the vinyl may be small and barely visible at first, but as the window is opened and closed more, they become bigger and more noticeable.

What’s the solution?

Vinyl components also referred to sometimes as extrusions, are usually covered by warranty for between 20 and 25 years depending on the window company. While the warranty usually doesn’t cover customer mishandling or acts of nature, cracks like these are nearly impossible to make unless you’re trying to break the window on purpose. Therefore, the company should usually be responsible for replacing the cracked part.

A big advantage of vinyl custom windows is that they often come disassembled in multiple parts. Therefore, it may be possible to replace just the cracked part of the window and not the whole thing. If there are cracks in the jambs or stoppers it is often possible to replace just that part. If the actual frame of the window that holds the glass is cracked, your window will require a brand new frame.

In operable windows, cracked frames get replaced with new ones and the existing sash is kept. If the crack is in the sash, it is possible to order just the new sash part to fit into the existing frame.

This is important because most cracks are noticed immediately or shortly after the installation. While your window is not 100% efficient with a cracked vinyl part, it is generally still usable until your replacement service parts arrive.

Vinyl cracks are a service issue that is and should be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.

If you are still shopping for new windows, make sure that you familiarize yourself with warranty policies for the companies you are interested in.

Though most window warranties are very similar there are still specific things you should look for from each company:

– How long are their vinyl components covered for?
– How long are the insulated sealed units are covered for?
– What is the labor/installation warranty?
– Is the warranty transferable in the event you want to sell your house?

And remember, always consider companies with a dedicated service department and a proven record of resolving customer issues. This will not only save you headaches in the event something goes wrong, but also ensure that your investment is worth its value and is protected for the entirety of the warranty term.

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