When it comes time to install windows, whether replacing old ones or adding new, you typically have two options to choose from. Fiberglass and vinyl are the most common materials used for windows today. Both are synthetic materials that provide you with a beautiful and reliable window frame, and there are several factors you should consider before making your final choice.
Color and Finish Options
While both materials come in many colors and finishes, fiberglass frames have more. In addition to that, fiberglass window frames are paintable, giving you the option of changing colors without replacing them. Vinyl frames by comparison, do not. If you prefer the wood-look, fiberglass is also a better choice. The PVC material typically used to manufacture vinyl frames just does not have the ability to appear wood-like. Some fiberglass frames come with a wood veneer option that covers the interior side.
Vinyl is much cheaper than fiberglass. Replacement windows are not found in local hardware stores. Vinyl (or wood) windows that are meant for new construction are. This means vinyl is not only cheaper, but more easily obtained for Do-It-Yourself (DIY) work.
Maintenance, Strength and Durability
Both vinyl and fiberglass are easy to maintain. Mold, algae, moss and other grime are easily scrubbed or hosed off. Fiberglass windows are vastly stronger than vinyl however. In fact, most manufacturers agree – fiberglass can be nine times stronger than its vinyl counterpart can. Both vinyl and fiberglass, however, are much more durable than wood frames. As synthetic materials they do not attract insects like termites, and are not subject to dry rot. Fiberglass has a slight advantage in that it is created from the same material your window is made from – glass. Because of this it is subjected to similar, if not the same, properties as your glass. In other words, as the temperature causes your glass to expand and contract your fiberglass frame does the same thing at the same time.
Because fiberglass is stronger, less of it is needed to securely hold your glass panes. Vinyl, which is not as strong, requires more material and thus provides less space for glass. So you get more window with the use of a fiberglass frame.
Resale and Lifespan
Windowpanes are not typically a contributing factor in the sale of a home. However, statistics have shown that homes with fiberglass windows do tend to sell for higher amounts.
Fiberglass frames typically last for up to fifty years. Vinyl on the other hand usually last thirty years. Both are beautiful ways to provide relatively maintenance-free, long lasting window frames to your home.