Is fiberglass windows better than vinyl? Often, you will see hardware stores display vinyl, fiberglass, and reinforced wooden windows side-by-side. Without the label, it is extremely difficult to see the aesthetic differences between the three.
Additionally, the advertising beneath each one talks about the durability and the lifespan of each material. Unfortunately, most hardware stores only use the manufacturer’s advertising copy. This means you’re not getting a transparent look on the advantages and disadvantages between each material.
In this post, you’ll understand everything about fiberglass and vinyl windows from their basic characteristics to their actual residential property benefits
What Are Fiberglass Windows?
Manufacturers created fiberglass by heating the base glass material until it melts. Then, they use a molder with microscopic holes to create glass filaments. Next, they weave these filaments to thicken the final material.
Before this happens, manufacturers add different types of plastic resins to mold the woven fiberglass strands into various shapes. However, they make sure there are fewer impurities than possible to strengthen the material.
Manufacturers price extremely pure fiberglass higher than usual because of the added purifying steps. In fact, the usual fiberglass window will be more expensive than a vinyl window.
Is Fiberglass Windows Better Than Vinyl?
Does Not Swell and Shrink
Is fiberglass windows better than vinyl? It does not shrink or swell like wood windows.
For centuries, residential properties across the world have used wood windows. Wood is a luxurious material because of its texture and “natural” residential look.
However, wood expands and contracts depending on the season. At winter, the wood begins to swell and will possibly crack glass windows due to its growing mass. During summer, wood will begin shrinking and loosen the glass foundations of usual windows.
Fiberglass will not shrink, and it is as lightweight as wood windows. They will keep you window glass in place regardless of season.
Manufacturers create vinyl windows by thickening their layers with added material. They do this to prevent it from becoming floppy and weak. If you observe closely, you’ll notice vinyl windows having more mass compared to traditional wood windows.
If you compare it to fiberglass windows, vinyl has a tendency to flex and dent. A stray baseball with a usual traveling speed will leave a small mark on vinyl.
Vinyl will not contract or expand during the change of seasons. However, it has a poorer, unnatural aesthetic because of the necessary thickening to avoid floppiness.
Similar to vinyl, fiberglass is lightweight. The heavy, dense wood material of traditional window frames requires homeowners to install additional structural reinforcement.
In consequence, this adds up to the overall costs of installing windows. Additionally, the wooden material will require regular maintenance especially during every change of season.
Contractors only need to install fiberglass frames effectively. They do not need to create structural reinforcement and will not become heavier as their density changes.
Is fiberglass windows better than vinyl? In terms of weight, they’re the same.
Fiberglass frames require virtually no maintenance unlike wooden roofs. However, they will last longer if you compare them to vinyl roofs.
Is fiberglass windows better than vinyl windows? While more expensive, they require less maintenance.
Over time, vinyl will lose resiliency as years pass. The material begins to weaken and dislocate the window glass attachment.
Fiberglass can last a decade more compared to vinyl windows. The latter has 50 years compared to the 50-60 years of high-quality fiberglass windows.
What are Vinyl Windows?
Vinyl windows entered the market dur
ing the 1980s. Manufacturers saw the efficiency of plastic resins in strengthening the base foundations of wood.
Experimental manufacturers formulated a window built from the plastic resin itself.
While made from the same core material as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes, vinyl windows have additives to make it suitable for use in any home. Specially created PVC is a staple material for affordable membrane roofing as well.
Unlike wood, they do not require painting or staining. They will not peel, crack, or warp even in extreme temperatures.
Is fiberglass windows better than vinyl? In some cases, fiberglass does outdo the material.
Are Vinyl Windows Better Than Fiberglass?
Low Energy Costs
Is fiberglass windows better than vinyl? When it comes to insulation, vinyl has problematic noise insulation if you compare it with fiberglass windows.
However, both vinyl and fiberglass offer excellent temperature insulation compared to wood. They will keep the internal temperature consistent and keep out external weather.
In turn, both materials introduce lower energy costs for properties.
Fiberglass requires virtually no maintenance. Is fiberglass windows better than vinyl in this regard? The truth is, they’re on par.
Similarly, vinyl requires less maintenance because it does not peel, crack, or require repainting. Traditional wooden windows require repainting every few months.
In fact, the paint of the wood begins peeling and cracking because of its contractions when seasons change. Both vinyl and fiberglass windows do not have these problems.
Is fiberglass windows better than vinyl? When it comes to price, vinyl wins.
Fiberglass windows will cost around $600 for a single window. Vinyl windows only cost $450 for the same installation.
Additionally, considering your costs with labor, vinyl will win. Contractors typically take two hours to install a vinyl window. They will take longer with fiberglass windows with two and a half hours.
Huge Aesthetic Variety
Is fiberglass windows better than vinyl? Homeowners have a huge variety of vinyl window designs. They can select the one most suitable for their home.
It is true that vinyl looks problematic because of the thickened material that takes up more space than glass. However, with a huge selection of window colors, shapes, and aesthetics, any homeowner will find the most suitable window for their home.
Fiberglass has its own stunning selections, but it is far less in variety compared to vinyl windows.
Is fiberglass windows better than vinyl?
Vinyl outdoes fiberglass in price and aesthetic variety. However, the base material is floppy and has relatively low lifespan. Fiberglass might be more expensive and limited in styles, but its durability can last for decades.
If you consider every information here, you’ll find the two materials excel in different budgetary situations. The only difference it will make on costs is the efficiency of your contractors to install the windows as fast as possible.