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Should I Choose Vinyl or Fiberglass Replacement Windows?

Posted by Eric Novotny on Jan 25, 2018 5:07:00 AM

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If you are having a hard time deciding between vinyl or fiberglass replacement windows, you are not alone. There are a few important things homeowners need to consider when choosing between vinyl and fiberglass windows, and it is not always an easy choice. Homeowners need to consider things like: strength, durability, cost, aesthetics and more. The purpose of this article is to discuss the differences between vinyl and fiberglass replacement windows, as well as their pros and cons, to help you make the right choice for your home, budget and lifestyle.

Fiberglass and Vinyl Colors and Finishes

When it comes to colors and finishes, fiberglass replacement windows offer greater options, however, not vastly so. Vinyl replacement windows generally come in ‘baked-in’ colors, which is the same as fiberglass replacement windows. The difference is, fiberglass windows can be painted over once installed, whereas vinyl cannot. Be sure to ask specific questions, as some vinyl manufactuerers will offer laminates or custom painting on their windows.

Which is Stronger and More Durable – Vinyl or Fiberglass?

Fiberglass windows are up to eight times stronger than vinyl, which means they generally last longer. A good quality vinyl replacement window can last up to 30 years or more, while fiberglass windows can last 50 years or more. The reason fiberglass replacement windows are stronger and more durable is due to its makeup. Both vinyl and fiberglass frames are made from a type of plastic. However, fiberglass frames are reinforced with glass fibers, which adds decent strength to the window. Furthermore, fiberglass does not weaken in the sun like vinyl, which often expands and contracts in the heat.

Maintenance of Vinyl Vs Fiberglass Windows

Whether you choose vinyl or fiberglass replacement windows, both are equally low maintenance, which can be very appealing to homeowners. Any mold, mildew, dirt or moss can easily be hosed off and then scrubbed down with a sponge and some warm water. However, both do require some care over time. Fiberglass windows can fade or peel and do need repainting. Vinyl windows can warp or contract, which can lead to a poor air seal that will need to be filled with caulk occasionally to stop air coming inside.

Which Replacement Window Has Better Insulation?

Again, both vinyl and fiberglass replacement windows offer solid and equal insulation. Both windows have hollow cavities, which can be filled with insulation. They also both do an excellent job at slowing down the transmission of outside temperatures inside the house.

The Cost of Vinyl Vs Fiberglass Replacement Windows

Generally speaking, vinyl replacement windows are less expensive than fiberglass windows. On average, fiberglass replacement windows cost at least about 10% to 30% more than vinyl windows.

Which One Has a Better ROI?

When looking at the return on investment you will receive, vinyl windows usually receive a higher resale value than fiberglass replacement windows. Vinyl windows have an ROI of around 74%, making it one of the best investments that can be made in a home. Fiberglass windows are much newer than vinyl windows, so no exact figures have been reported. However, in terms of fiberglass doors and entryways, they do recoup around the same amount as vinyl, which makes them an equally good investment in any home.

So … Which is Better?

Both vinyl and fiberglass replacement windows use manmade materials. They both provide superior insulation. Both offer a great ROI and very low maintenance … so which one is best? On a basic structural level, fiberglass is generally better than vinyl windows. If you are interested in replacement windows that will last for a long time or have a slightly better resale value, fiberglass replacement windows may be the right choice for you. However, it really does come down to personal preference. No matter which material you decide on, you will be satisfied with either replacement window option.   

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Topics: Winter, Replacement Windows

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