Whether you’re thinking about investing in replacement windows or building a new home, choosing the right windows can be a daunting task. Both vinyl and fiberglass are durable and low-maintenance materials that stand up to the elements, but it’s important to do your research to find the best windows for you. At Jaeger Lumber in New Jersey, we offer windows in a wide range of styles and materials. Here, we look at the differences between vinyl and fiberglass.
Understanding How Vinyl and Fiberglass Are Made
Vinyl and fiberglass are two of the most popular types of windows, but they are comprised of very different materials. Vinyl is made of PVC, which is a durable plastic that has several uses. Fiberglass consists of glass that’s melted at high temperatures and stretched into fine fibers that are then tightly woven together. When it’s used for products like window frames, it is mixed with resins and molded into shape. Typically, fiberglass is made from recycled glass and doesn’t release toxic chemicals into the environment during production, which makes it a more eco-friendly material than vinyl.
Although both materials are effective at insulating and controlling heat loss or gain through the window, fiberglass is more energy efficient. This may not come as a surprise since fiberglass was developed specifically for the insulation of homes and buildings. For example, think of the pink material that lines your attic. Fiberglass works better for insulation against sound as well, which is an important consideration if you live in a noisy area. Whether you choose fiberglass or vinyl, buying windows and entry doors with low emissivity (low-e) glass helps reduce heat loss in colder months and keeps your home cooler during hot New Jersey summers.
Although vinyl and fiberglass are strong materials that resist water and rot, vinyl tends to expand and contract more, which can lead to warping. A high-quality vinyl window can last up to 30 years, but a fiberglass window may still be going strong after 50 years.
Wood windows require periodic painting and sealing to keep them in good condition and prevent rot. Fiberglass and vinyl windows are practically maintenance-free and super easy to clean with a sponge or brush, mild soap, and water. If you opt to paint your fiberglass window frames, they may fade or peel eventually and need repainting. Because vinyl windows expand and contract frequently, you may also need to do caulking and weatherstripping more often to fill gaps and keep moisture out.
Both vinyl and fiberglass windows are attractive and can add to the appearance of your home. However, fiberglass offers more options. For example, if you enjoy a lot of light in the house, you may want to opt for fiberglass windows since the frames tend to be thinner, which leaves more glass exposed. Both materials are available in a variety of colors and styles. However, fiberglass can be painted while vinyl cannot. Both types of windows can be textured to look like wood, but vinyl windows are usually smooth.
Vinyl windows are usually much less expensive than fiberglass or wood. Fiberglass windows are slightly less costly than wood and last longer than both wood and vinyl. If you’re handy and plan on doing your own window installation to save on labor costs, you may want to go with vinyl. Because of their flexibility, they’re also much more forgiving if you happen to make any slight measurement errors. Pre-made vinyl windows often come in standard sizes that can be purchased at building centers, while fiberglass windows are usually custom ordered from the manufacturer. It’s also important to keep in mind that some window warranties may be voided by the manufacturer if they are not installed by a professional.
Because fiberglass windows last longer, they may save you money in the long run and increase the value of your home. When it comes to choosing between fiberglass and vinyl windows, it’s really a personal choice based on your specific needs, preferences, and budget.
Consult the Pros for Window Replacement and Installation
For more than 80 years, Jaeger Lumber has proudly served homeowners, contractors, and building professionals throughout New Jersey. Our dedicated team of professionals is ready to serve you at any of our eight convenient locations. To learn more about window replacement and the other products and services we offer, contact us today.