Plastics are relative newcomers as window frame materials in North America.
Vinyl, also known as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), is a very versatile plastic
with good insulating value. Vinyl window frames do not require painting
and have good moisture resistance. Because the color goes all the way
through, there is no finish coat that can be damaged or deteriorate over
time -- the surface is therefore intenance-free. Some vinyl window manufacturers
are now offering surface treatments like laminates (wood veneer, paintable/stainable,
maintenance free) and coatings. These products increase color selection
and surface appearance options. Recent advances have improved dimensional
stability and resistance to degradation from sunlight and temperature
In terms of thermal performance, vinyl frames are comparable with wood,
while there are minor differences, depending on the frame construction.
Small hollow chambers within the frame reduces convection exchange, as
does adding an insulating material