Fiberglass and vinyl are two of the most common materials used for window frames in homes today. So if you’re looking to replace your current windows, your choice is likely to come down to a decision between these two options. Both materials are good options that come with their own advantages and disadvantages, so deciding between whether to buy vinyl or fiberglass windows will really come down to what characteristics matter most to you.
In this post, we will go over the advantages and disadvantages of both fiberglass and vinyl windows to ensure you can select the best option for you with confidence.
Fiberglass is a composite material developed by setting glass fibers into a resin mixture. The result is a durable material that is heat resistant and sturdy, making it an excellent choice for hotter climates. Fiberglass windows are not as common as vinyl, but if you live in an area that frequently boasts high temperatures, they could be the best option for you.
Fiberglass windows are much stronger than vinyl. They are the strongest type of frame available, with a lifespan that is significantly longer than vinyl, meaning you will not need to replace them as often.
The durability of fiberglass is arguably its most attractive feature. It does not rot, chip, or peel, nor do these frames warp or bend under shifts in temperature. Fiberglass expands and contracts along with the glass that is set into it, and this makes them ideal for hot climates or areas with severe temperature fluctuations.
If you want to maintain a classic or traditional aesthetic, fiberglass is closer to the style and appearance of wood than vinyl is. Fiberglass windows are also available in a variety of colors and designs, so you can match them to the rest of your house. They’re extremely customizable, so you can get the exact look you envision for your home.
Despite their advantages, fiberglass windows are also expensive. They generally come with a price tag that is 10 to 30% higher than vinyl windows on average.
Fiberglass windows also require more maintenance than vinyl windows. While the material may be more durable than vinyl, fiberglass frames may need to be repainted more frequently.
Vinyl windows are made from PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, which is the same material you find in plumbing pipes, door frames, and occasionally, in the doors themselves. They are popular because of their energy-efficient properties, as they retain heat better than both wood and metal, and they are also fully recyclable, which makes them a fantastic option for eco-friendly shoppers.
Vinyl windows boast superior insulation compared to fiberglass, and because the frames are hollow, you can enhance this insulation by filling the frame with insulating materials. This feature is ideal for cold climates but is also useful for keeping the heat out during summer. With this insulation, you can also enjoy better energy efficiency in your home.
Vinyl windows consistently retail at lower prices than fiberglass windows, which makes them a more realistic option when you have budget constraints or are buying an entire set of new windows for your home.
Vinyl windows require virtually zero maintenance. You will not need to repaint them, and they are easy to clean should they get dirty.
Vinyl is not as durable as fiberglass, and this means you need to replace them more frequently. However, the average lifespan is still between 20 and 30 years.
Vinyl window frames soften over time, and this makes them prone to warping, bending, and bowing. If you live in a hot climate, this could be an issue and could lead to damage to the frame and even the glass.
- Cannot Be Painted
While not a structural disadvantage, the coloring of vinyl windows fades over time, and they cannot be repainted, so this could affect the aesthetic of your home.
As you can see, both fiberglass and vinyl windows have their advantages and disadvantages, and your decision will depend on which characteristics you value most.