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Home | Our Blog | Should I Choose Vinyl or Fiberglass Windows?

Should I Choose Vinyl or Fiberglass Windows?

posted on Oct 3, 2019

Windows are an essential part of any building, whether it’s residential, commercial, or industrial. In many cases, it’s nearly impossible for a building to operate without them, or at the very least, it’s more depressing without windows. Sunlight, outdoor viewing, and natural ventilation all make them a reliable part of any building in terms of its protection from loss of thermal energy or an increase in solar heat.

Vinyl vs Fiberglass Windows

Meanwhile, apart from being the glazing system, a well-made frame helps to improve the energy features and provides many other benefits as well. This is even more relevant for modern projects of commercial construction and business centers, where even the walls are made of glass. Therefore, it’s important to approach the task of window material selection carefully.

Materials Usable on the Market

There are different alternatives to choose from. The traditional and standard materials of contemporary frames include the following ones:

  • Vinyl
  • Aluminum
  • Fiberglass
  • Wood
  • Composite

It’s vinyl and fiberglass that are the most widely utilized materials for both private and commercial buildings. So, what’s special about both materials? And what should you be aware of while picking material for your windows? Here we come with the comparison. Keep reading to know everything about vinyl vs fiberglass windows.

Vinyl

PVC constructions are translucent products that consist of frames and double-glazed windows. In turn, the frame comprises a plastic profile and metal steel reinforcement located inside the profile. It is because of this composition that such structures are also called reinforced-plastic (that is, the frame consists of both plastic and metal). The plastic profile makes the window energy-efficient and aesthetically-appealing, whereas the steel reinforcement gives it strength and endurance for temperature fluctuations in the winter and summer seasons.

PVC Windows

Cost

Vinyl (PVC) is the most economical choice from the point of manufacture. The price of vinyl double-glazed windows is within $450 and $500, contingent on the characteristics and dimensions of the blocks you purchase. Apart from being budget-friendly, vinyl installations also have a low level of servicing requirements since PVC frames don’t need to be painted and do not require additional sealing.

Appearance

Today, a vinyl window is a great solution for any room or apartment, whether it’s a country house or an apartment in the center of the city. You need to keep warm and create coziness in any place, and PVC materials allow you to do so. What is more, the glazing system boasts of energy conservation and can be equipped with special anti-burglar fittings and anti-vandal double-glazed windows, which provides you with another advantage – safety.

If we talk about the outer aspects, then the plastic windows are versatile – plastic can be colored (thanks to special dye additives), laminated (glued with a special resistant film with imitation of the structure of wood or metal), or painted with acrylics (and this is more than 1,000 shades of all colors). So you can pick any decor solution that matches the interior or exterior of the building.

Endurance

PVC windows do not rot and are fairly strong and sturdy. They are also less plausibly subject to seal failure and subsequent problems. The average service life of a vinyl window structure varies from 10 to 15 years.

Maintenance

Vinyl windows have a long service life – from 10 to 15 years. But this doesn’t mean that they’ll become unusable after this period, they’ll just need to be replaced with a more energy-efficient one.

Noise-Proofing

Vinyl windows are efficient when it comes to noise insulation. When installing such a glazing system, you have no reason to worry about suffering from the outside noise or hearing your neighbors. The window frame composition and the entire structure help to prevent this.

Environmental Aspects

Vinyl windows are manufactured from pure PVC plastic, which is laborious to recycle after it’s been damaged or broken. So, bear it in mind when selecting the material.

Fitting

Choosing quality material from a worthy manufacturer is one thing; another is to decide on a company that will provide the construction. Incorrect window measurement is also significant here. A window that’s too large will be impossible to install without ruining wall blocks, and one that’s too small won’t look nice. Because of this, water penetrates under the frame and causes excessive moisture in the wall and damage to the dowels. Although some of these problems are fixable, we recommend that you hire professionals for the installation.

Fiberglass Windows

Fiberglass has been used for quite some time; it is often used in the shipbuilding, automotive, and defense sectors. The lack of tech solutions has hampered its use in window production. And only the last decade has made it feasible to manufacture a profile for windows and doors from this material.

Cost

The value of windows made on a fiberglass frame fluctuates between $600 to $900. Just like vinyl, this material does not need to be frequently maintained, and any extra expenses are to be incurred. The only thing you should be prepared to cover is the changing or fitting. As for the vinyl vs fiberglass windows cost comparison, a 6-unit replacement of a system made from fiberglass will cost about $4,400, whereas the same with vinyl windows will cost about $3,000.

Appearance

You will have a wide selection of colors and textures of fiberglass windows thanks to a special decorative coating. On top of this, this material does not rust, decay, or fade under the influence of sunlight.

Installation

Fiberglass windows are resistant to deformation; they won’t shrink or expand during abrupt changes in climate. That’s why they’re easy to install.

Strength and Durability

Fiberglass (fiber-reinforced plastic) has a high degree of strength. This material is about eight times stronger than vinyl. For this reason, fiberglass windows, regardless of their dimensions, comprise thin, lightweight frame elements. With a bend of about 690 – 1240 * 106 N / m2, and 410 – 1180 * 106 N / m2 under compression, fiberglass windows do not need additional metal reinforcement.

Maintenance

As for the preservation works, it is advised to systematically clean them using non-abrasive washing agents. Large scratches on the profile can be tinted, or you can completely replace the entire color of the frame or sash. Since the corners of the structure are connected by self-tapping screws, and not by welding (the method of plastic windows), it is possible to replace the damaged element of the sash (frame) with no hassle, without removing the entire construction.

Energy Efficiency

Fiberglass itself has a fairly low level of thermal conductivity, and the use of a heat insulator inside the profile allows you to achieve even greater thermal conductivity. Thus, such constructions are energy efficient and will not cause heat leakage.

Noise-Proofing

In terms of the noise-proofing factor with the fiberglass vs. vinyl windows comparison, fiberglass is better at ensuring the isolation from the transmission of noise.

Environmental Aspects

Environmental-friendliness is what makes fiberglass windows so popular among many homeowners. Despite the fact that fiberglass is a synthetic material, it is non-toxic and safe for both humans and the environment. So, if we do a fiberglass window comparison with PVC elements, the latter is much more difficult to recycle.

Final Verdict

It’s difficult to answer which is better: vinyl or fiberglass windows. Both are good products, and each has its own advantageous features. If you do not have any budget and price concerns, then fiberglass systems are the perfect match for you. At the same time, being inferior to the former in terms of appearance, strength, and energy efficiency, vinyl windows are still a good option that will allow you to save money on the production and installation costs.

Posted on Oct 3, 2019 in Roof

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