For homeowners in Colorado, deciding which type of window material to use when purchasing high efficiency replacement windows can be a daunting task. Our unique weather patterns, altitude, intense ultraviolet (UV) rays and even some of the native species can cause even some of the highest quality windows to fail. Considering the costs of high efficiency replacement windows failure simply is not an option for most of us. In Colorado, more and more homeowners are discovering that vinyl windows are not only affordable but also ideally suited to withstand the punishment of the Colorado environment.
Colorado’s weather is anything but predictable. The mountains that dominate our state greatly influence our weather and can cause the weather to change in an instant. Temperatures regularly vary as much as 30 degrees or more over a 24 hour period. These temperature extremes can test the limits of most home windows. Wooden windows are the most susceptible to Colorado weather. The large, fast temperature fluxuations common here can cause wood to warp and crack as the wood expands and contracts. Moisture is another element that can damage wooden windows. Although Colorado receives very little rain, the majority of our precipitation comes in the form of snow. This snow often sticks to surfaces before melting causing surfaces to be exposed to moisture longer than those subject to rain. Unless a wooden window is properly sealed this moisture can seep into the wood causing it to rot. While vinyl windows do expand and contract much like wooden windows, vinyl windows won’t warp or crack like wooden windows can. In addition, vinyl windows are not vulnerable to moisture like wooden windows.
Depending on the altitude of your home, you may experience UV rays that are 25 to 50% more intense than those at sea level. In addition to the health risks associated with prolonged UV exposure, UV rays can also damage and fade materials over time. Wood windows, if left unprotected, can become dry and faded in the Colorado sun. If wood becomes too dry it can become brittle, causing cracks to form in the wood. In comparison, most vinyl windows are treated with UV resistant chemicals during the manufacturing process to prevent them from fading or becoming brittle with prolonged exposure to standard UV rays. Due to Colorado’s more intense UV rays, Colorado homeowners should look for vinyl windows treated with titanium dioxide in order to ensure their windows have the best UV protection available.
There are a number of pests in Colorado that can cause extensive damage to wood windows. A few wood destroying pests found in Colorado include:
- Carpenter bees – These bees closely resemble bumble bees, however unlike bumble bees carpenter bees burrow large holes into wood in order to build their nests. While this damage can be minor at first, overtime they can cause considerable damage to wood.
- Termites – Termites will often infest a home without the homeowners knowledge, slowly eating away the wooden structures and causing extensive damage that can go unnoticed for years. In the case of wooden windows, the tunnels termites bore through the wood can cause wooden window frames reducing the windows insulative properties and making it less efficient. In extreme cases, termite damage can literally cause the window to disintegrate.
- Beetles – Colorado is home to several varieties of wood destroying beetles. Much like carpenter bees, these beetles bore holes into wood in order to lay their eggs. Once these eggs hatch however, the larvae burrow through the wood, stopping just under the surface until the mature and then breaking through the wood surface leaving multiple bore holes in the wood surface. The damage these beetles cause to wooden windows is similar to termite damage. Once these beetles infest wood is often very difficult to get rid of them.
Unlike wood, vinyl windows are subject to damage from Colorado’s wood destroying pests saving homeowners thousands in damages and lost energy efficiency.