Frequently Asked Questions
You have questions. We have answers.
Is there a big difference between custom windows and ready-made windows at a building supply store?
For the best fit, you should strongly consider custom-sized windows. Custom windows are precision-engineered to 1/8” increments and manufactured to fit your specific window opening. You will get the exact style and options you desire, ensure utmost energy efficiency, and an overall better appearance and installation. Stock-sized windows are adjusted to fit your existing window openings on site and may require extensive carpentry work both inside and outside your home. The appearance and thermal performance can be diminished by this retrofitting process.
What types of windows are available?
The three types of windows most commonly offered are aluminum, wood or vinyl – with wood and vinyl the most popular choices. It’s important to note that aluminum windows have painted surfaces that may scratch easily and the metal construction makes for a poor insulator. Wood windows are effective insulators, but can absorb moisture and typically require painting, caulking and other annual upkeep to maintain appearance and performance. Vinyl windows are the most popular choice because they expertly combine beauty, durability and low maintenance with high-performance thermal efficiency. The solid vinyl construction never needs to be painted, and the precision-fit mainframe and sash, along with several insulating components, achieve exceptional energy savings. Alside Windows are available in a wide range of styles and configurations to fit all architectural designs.
In terms of construction, what makes for a better grade, more durable vinyl window?
The corners of the window frame and sashes should be fusion-welded (heat-welded) for a weathertight construction. Beware of windows with mitered corners screwed together or chemically welded corners, as they may decline in performance over time. You’ll also want to take a look at the vinyl extrusions in the window frame and sash. At a quick glance all vinyl windows may look similar, but there can be dramatic differences in the quality of the vinyl used. Some windows, built with lower-quality vinyl that has a dull blue or gray cast, can become brittle over time. Alside Windows are constructed with premium vinyl extrusions to ensure the frame and sashes provide long-lasting beauty and performance.
What other construction features should I be aware of?
When you compare one window to the next, you’ll see – and feel – the quality difference. Alside Windows begin with a computer-controlled construction of the mainframe and steel-reinforced sash to produce a solidly built window with superior strength. Most windows come standard with double-strength glass for an exceptionally strong barrier. Interlocking meeting rails and thickset multi-chambered extrusions further add to the structural integrity and insulation, while multi-layer weatherstripping, a compression bulb seal and drop-in glazing provide excellent thermal protection. You’ll also want to test the window’s moving parts. Alside Double-Hung Windows, for example, feature a full interlock at the meeting rails to seal the window tightly shut and a constant force balance system to ensure smooth and easy operation of the moving sash.
What should I look for in terms of glass performance?
For starters, many windows are built with single-strength glass. Alside Windows are built with double-strength glass, which means that each pane is 3 mm thick instead of the industry standard of 2 mm. The glass is stronger, more protective and won’t crack or break as easily. Windows are about 80% glass, so it’s important to select a glass package that will help shield your home from absorbing outside heat in the summer and losing indoor heat in the winter. For optimum energy savings consider Alside Windows with the ClimaTech® insulated glass package. ClimaTech combines Low-E glass with argon gas† and the Intercept® Warm-Edge Spacer System to achieve optimal energy efficiency. Because Alside offers a variety of ClimaTech glass packages, your window professional can help you choose the best one for your home and area of the country.
Are replacement windows a good investment?
From day one, Alside Windows begin making a return on your investment. You can expect a decrease in your annual fuel consumption for heating and cooling your home. Vinyl windows are virtually maintenance-free, which can also save substantial dollars spent on painting, caulking and maintenance. New windows will enhance the curb appeal of your home, which can help increase its resale value. In most cases, you can expect to recover more than half of the cost of your replacement windows when it’s time to sell.
The national average of the cost recouped for vinyl replacement windows is 71.6% for midrange projects and 72.6% for upscale projects, according to Remodeling magazine’s “2010-11 Cost vs. Value Report.”
Will my replacement windows require a lot of maintenance?
Alside vinyl replacement windows are a pleasure to maintain. You can say goodbye to scraping, painting and caulking. The heavy-duty vinyl construction is virtually maintenance-free and there are no storm windows to struggle with. Most Alside Windows can be cleaned from inside the comfort of your home. Just wipe the vinyl surface with a damp cloth to keep your windows looking like new.
Do I need to keep each window the same type as my original window, or can I change styles and configurations?
New windows can transform the appearance of your home, and with Alside’s extensive window selection you’ll have many options to choose from. Whether your tastes are contemporary, traditional or transitional, we can custom build to your specifications. Alside also offers a host of glass and grid options and elegant frame finishes to suit your design needs.
Do I need a professional?
Hiring a professional is a smart decision on many levels. A trained eye and skillful hand will clearly show in the beautiful installation, indoor comfort and thermal efficiency of your home. A professional will also be able to make design suggestions to help in the decision process. You’ll want to make sure the contractor you hire is licensed, bonded and experienced. While you may be tempted to install the windows yourself, you may not be prepared for the difficult installation challenges or structural damage to your home that could occur, along with the risk of voiding the window warranty. A professional installer will also be up to date on codes relating to lead, energy, and more.
Should I be concerned with where the windows are manufactured?
Absolutely. A replacement window is only as good as the company that stands behind it. Alside has more than 65 years of manufacturing experience and success. We proudly own and operate six window plants in North America that expertly produce windows of superior beauty, quality and durability. Utilizing performance standards beyond AAMA, ASTM and NFRC requirements, our windows are rigorously tested for air, water, structural load, thermal performance, and forced entry resistance. Companywide, we are committed to ensuring that each window will provide years of excellent service and energy savings. We also stand behind our products long after the installation is complete with a knowledgeable customer service team that’s ready to serve you.
What about warranty coverage?
Alside Windows are backed with a Lifetime Limited Warranty with transferability provisions – further assurance that you have made an excellent selection for your home from a respected manufacturer.
See warranty for complete details.
How does vinyl siding compare with other siding materials?
When compared to brick, wood, stone and stucco, vinyl siding is the number one choice of exterior cladding in the United States. Vinyl siding has the lowest total installation cost and fewer long-term maintenance needs than any other exterior cladding. Moreover, Alside premium vinyl siding provides the rich beauty of costly wood siding in a wide-variety of low-gloss colors and industry-leading warranty protection.
What exterior design options do I have with vinyl siding?
You can create multiple options for your home’s exterior with vinyl siding. Alside offers a wide array of subtle and deep wood grain textured profiles, including horizontal and vertical panels; shakes, scallops and shingles; traditional clapboard; dutch lap; wide and narrow panel exposures; and beaded designs. You have a number of options to combine different shapes, colors and styles to personalize the style of your home’s exterior.
Can I purchase trim and accessories from Alside?
Yes. Creating a finishing touch that sets your home apart is easy with Alside’s Trimworks® accessories. These trim products give you an exceptional way to add special elegance around windows and doors, at corners, and on other focus areas. Alside even offers beautiful shutters, specialty vents and mounting blocks, and unique accent siding products to enrich your project. And when Alside siding and trim products are combined with Alside windows and patio doors, your home will evolve into a stunning masterpiece unlike any other home nearby.
I am planning on upgrading my brick and partially wood siding home. Can I incorporate vinyl siding?
Yes. Vinyl siding is extremely versatile and can be elegantly mixed with just about any exterior building material. If you have special installation concerns–talk to your contractor. He's probably handled a similar installation in the past. If not, your contractor can secure detailed installation instructions from a knowledgeable Alside technical specialist.
Is vinyl siding durable?
Absolutely. The correct technical name for the material used in vinyl siding is polyvinyl chloride. It's a durable, proven material that has earned a solid reputation for its beauty and permanence. It's used in automotive applications, medical devices, appliances, floor coverings, and of course, exterior home construction. Vinyl siding is an ideal exterior material because it doesn't rot, crack, dent or warp. Plus it never peels or blisters. And because the color goes completely through Alside siding, it never has to be scraped, sanded or painted.
How do I choose a reputable installer?
The relationship you have with your contractor is extremely important. Request references and look at previous work. Word-of-mouth recommendations from neighbors or friends who have recently re-sided their houses are an excellent start. You may also want to ask about liability insurance, customer satisfaction policies and professional credentials.
What is insulated siding?
Alside Prodigy Insulated siding is vinyl siding with rigid foam insulation that is laminated or permanently attached to the panel. In energy codes and efficiency programs, insulated siding is recognized as a form of “continuous insulation,” or insulation installed on the exterior of the building that helps reduce energy loss through framing or other building material.
What is R-value?
A product’s “R-value” is a measure of thermal resistance; the higher the R-value, the better the insulation’s effectiveness. For insulated siding, ASTM C1363 Standard Test Method for the Thermal Performance of Building Assemblies by Means of a Hot Box Apparatus is the standard used for determining the R-value of insulated siding.
What is the best way to guarantee my Alside vinyl siding will perform as promised?
The Vinyl Siding Institute (VSI) has established the VSI Product Certification Program to guarantee performance. Alside vinyl siding products are certified within this VSI program, with features with independent, third-party verification that qualifying Alside products meet or exceed the testing requirements specified in the industry standard for quality (ASTM D3679, with ASTMD7793 compliance for Alside Prodigy Insulated Siding). In addition, Alside vinyl siding products also boast an additional certification status specifically for color performance by meeting the ASTM D6864 or D7251standards for color retention. With this, you can be assured the vinyl siding you select will resist major color changes in a variety of climates.
Perhaps most important are the industry-leading Alside warranties*, which Alside provide limited lifetime coverage and are transferrable to the next homeowner. *see printed warranties for complete details.
If painting isn't required, how do I maintain my vinyl siding?
Vinyl siding and soffit should be washed periodically by hosing with a garden hose and clear water, particularly in those areas not exposed directly to rain. If you desire to do a more thorough cleaning, or where high soil collection conditions occur, use a soft-bristled, long-handled washing brush. Do not rub vigorously. This may create glossy areas over the vinyl siding finish. For hard-to-remove dirt, such as soot and grime found in industrial areas, wipe the siding down with a solution that's recommended by the manufacturer. If you wash the entire house, start at the bottom and work up to the top, as less streaking will result. It is important that immediately following all washing operations, the entire surface be thoroughly rinsed with fresh water from a garden hose.
Is vinyl siding resistant to moisture?
Yes. Vinyl siding offers exceptional rain-screening performance that decreases the build-up of water that can penetrate the underlying water-resistant barrier. This distinct benefit has been recognized by the International Residential Code and International Building Code, giving vinyl siding a significant advantage over other exterior claddings that do not vent/drain moisture.
Does vinyl siding deliver any environmental benefits to help make a home green?
Throughout the processes of manufacturing, transportation, installation, service life and waste management, vinyl siding scores well on tough environmental measures. What’s more, vinyl siding has the potential to contribute to achieving more points than other exterior cladding in the leading green building certification programs including the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED® for New Construction and LEED® Homes Rating Systems and the ANSI approved ICC 700 National Green Building Standard™.
Will Alside vinyl siding add value to my home?
Today's vinyl siding adds value to homes and is the building material of choice for developers, contractors, and homeowners associations. The value-added advantages of vinyl siding include its low total installed cost – lower than all other exterior cladding because vinyl siding goes up faster and doesn't need painting.
Can severe weather affect my Alside siding?
With the ability to withstand high winds (certified up to 110 mph or higher) and a composition that resists heat, cold and moisture, Alside certified vinyl siding provides highly durable and strong performance in even the most destructive storms.