A great feature of vinyl windows is the longevity and sturdiness of the material. Unlike wooden windows, it doesn’t deteriorate or rot and doesn’t need to be painted after a few years.
But there is one weakness vinyl components have, which presents itself in very specific circumstances.
As you have probably guessed, we’re going to talk about warped window sashes.
Warping mostly happens on casement and awning windows. There are usually two factors that contribute to sash deformation:
- mishandling of the windows
- excessive heat
It is important to note also, that this problem is more common in dark colored vinyl as it attracts more sun and heat. Windows on the south side of the house are also more susceptible to warping as they receive the most sun throughout the day.
But can sun alone cause sashes to deform?
Usually not. What happens in most cases is a combination of two factors. A homeowner over tightens their window when they close it. As the sun warms up the vinyl it becomes softer and malleable. The pressure from the locking mechanisms at the top and bottom causes these areas to bend inward. As the material cools down and hardens, the window bows in the middle and stays that way.
Note: though heat is a contributing factor, sash deformation is generally considered to be a result of human misuse. Check out this video about properly operating a casement window.
So what is the solution?
This is a somewhat tricky one. If you have learned anything about window companies yet, you’ll probably know that vinyl frame and sash components are generally covered by warranty for up to at least 25 years.
EXCEPT all companies have a nullifying clause of “Any defect, malfunction or failure to perform which has occurred because of unreasonable use or necessary maintenance.”
This clause includes improper opening and closing of the windows. If the company deems that your windows have been deformed as a result of mishandling you may not be able to file a warranty claim for replacement of your warped sashes, and have to pay for replacement out of pocket.
In a situation as shown in the picture above, where the vinyl is of a darker color and the window is on the sunny side of the house it may be difficult to argue that the sash warped from misuse alone.
Most companies give the customer benefit of the doubt and will replace the sash once free of charge. Though it may seem easy enough, it takes people some time to get used to opening and closing their windows properly.
This is a big advantage of picking a company with a dedicated service department. They generally tend to be more understanding to real customer problems and willing to work out an agreeable solution. If the company is only after your money, they will be the first ones to tell you the warping is entirely your fault and nothing can be done until you pay for replacement sashes.