Vinyl vs Wood vs Fiberglass Windows: What to Go with and Why

You have decided to finally pull the trigger on a full window replacement for your home.  Good for you.  It is a big project, but well worth it in the end.  As long as you choose your materials wisely.  So, what are you going with?  The classic wood frame.?  Bright white vinyl?  Have your eye on a fiberglass model?  Well, hopefully you have done your research.  Window replacement is a big investment.  Here are some things to think about when deciding on which frame material is right for you.

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Window Replacement Options

The world of residential window frames boils down to three options; wood, vinyl, and fiberglass.  Specialists in window repair still deal with aluminum frames but you will be hard pressed to find decent options on the new market.  Aluminum just doesn’t hold heat and cold well enough.  What you need is a window that seals up the house as tight as possible.  The problem is deciding which option does this the best for the money.

Wood Windows:  Charming, and Insulated!

I am a big fan of things made out of wood.  Wood makes sense.  And, it seems like if they break I could fix them.  Wood is a good insulator and is a proven commodity in the window industry.  I especially like wood because you can add pretty much any hardware you like and you can paint or stain the frame to match your particular style.  So why not just choose wood and be done with it?  Well, that depends on which type or brand of wood window you choose. Before you go with wood, maybe you should also think about all the options of windows that look like wood but are really a different material?

Vinyl Windows:  Cheap, Efficient, and White

Vinyl windows are a solid product.  They are good insulators, they hold a seal well, and they require very little maintenance once installed.  Vinyl is light, which is important if you are the one installing the replacement windows.  Vinyl also tends to be the cheapest option.  So, what is the drawback?  Vinyl cannot be painted.  This is why so many homeowners choose bright white.  It allows for the most exterior color combinations over the life of the windows.  If you like white this is not an issue.  If not, you better know what color you do like because you are going to be looking at it for a very long time.

Fiberglass:  The Wave of the Future

What if someone came up with a window frame material that had the strength of wood, could be sanded and painted, yet was as durable as vinyl?  Well, someone did.  And they called it fiberglass.  Fiberglass is an excellent insulator and is easy to work with.  It can be painted and sanded, making window repair easy. Unfortunately, fiberglass is also the most expensive option on the market.

Style vs. Budget vs. Durability

Many other factors contribute to a great window such as double and triple glazing, low-e coatings and tilt in sashes for cleaning.   All of these options are available with each of the frame materials listed.  Window replacement is like any other home improvement project, it comes down to style and budget.  Each of the options has some positives and some negatives but only one will be the perfect fit for you.

This post was contributed by Tom Bone, owner of Fast Glass, a Highlands Ranch, Colorado based Window Replacement Company. Tom has been in the window industry for over 15 years, and serves his customers with gusto and a smile.
Website: http://www.fastglassco.com 
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One thought on “Vinyl vs Wood vs Fiberglass Windows: What to Go with and Why

  1. Troy Blackburn says:

    That’s really neat that fiberglass window frames have the durability of vinyl, but can be sanded and painted to meet your needs. I’ve heard, too, that fiberglass windows are capable of providing extra energy savings to your home and can help reduce your bills each month. I’ll be sure to keep this great information in mind as I try to decide which type of windows are going to be best for our home and give us the greatest benefits.

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