You may remember my post about our new windows. It's been about 6 months since installation completed and the winter was a lot harder on things than I ever guessed they would be.
Our nice new front window took the brunt of 70mph gusts and the vinyl frame cracked near the top left of the center window. The glass is all intact but a small amount of water was forced through from the outside by the incredible winds. The company that installed has estimated it will take $1500 to repair as the expect they whole thing needs to be replaced.
Another let down; where most of the new windows were caulked during warm weather, the vinyl frames contracted during the cold winter. This appears to have caused the caulk to pull away around the corners of most of the windows. In some cases, wind creeps around the edges on breezy days. Needless to say, not what I expected but probably about what I paid for based on the price my Dad expected us to face.
So, Vinyl windows - I can't recommend them for their strength or stability. But, they are much warmer in terms of the material not conducting cold. And, I can recommend the triple panes and e-glazing. Winter sun comes in easily, high angle spring sun bounces off.
Overall, I can probably replace the caulk or tighten up the frames with some shim material to take care of the air leaks. The cracked front window frame though, I'm still debating whether to let them come do the work or hold off till the problem is more of a problem. As is, it's just a crack and only severely strong wind gives it any trouble. I might install a shelf across the mullion and anchor it to the structural members as a form of reinforcement and use some epoxy to weld the crack up... would be cheaper than having the whole thing replaced... not sure how much better though.