Vinyl, Fiberglass or Wood? Which Window Material is Best for your Home?
When it comes to finding the right replacement window for your home, there are many things to examine. From style to price to use, the options available for windows can seem overwhelming.
Some homeowners decide that a window reflecting their home’s architectural or interior design is their main concern. Others place more emphasis on the window’s features, such as energy efficiency. The type of glass might also play a role in the decision.
However, a common area homeowners might not have examined when planning to add new windows is the sort of material used in a window frame and sash.
Vinyl, fiberglass and wood are the three materials used most often in frames and sashes. Each material type has distinct advantages and disadvantages. Homeowners need to factor them into their decision when it comes time to get a new or replacement home window. Here are a few points to consider about different window materials:
The most budget-friendly of window materials, vinyl windows offer flexible style choices that include many of the same features available in higher-end windows.Pros:
- Energy Efficient
- Design Flexibility
Vinyl windows provide a wide variety of options so you can create a window that matches your home’s style. Instead of staining or treating the frame, vinyl frames are built in the color you need when they’re constructed at the factory. That means a lower possibility of fading, chipping or peeling paint.
- Low Maintenance
Thanks to vinyl windows, you don’t have to do all that much upkeep once they’re installed. Just keep them clean! Normally a basic garden hose, soft cloth and, if needed, non-abrasive cleaners will do the trick.
While most modern windows have a strong focus on energy efficiency, vinyl windows contain some of the toughest protections against gaps and leaks in window frames. Since they are made from a synthetic material, vinyl windows can be easily welded at the seams and many vinyl windows include steel-reinforced interlocking window sashes to increase energy efficiency and create added wind resistance.
- Perceived Quality
Considering its less expensive price compared to other material types, some might think vinyl windows aren’t built to stand the test of time. But durability is key when it comes to Pella vinyl windows. Pella tests their vinyl windows thoroughly. Window designs are submitted to laboratory cycle testing. During this testing process, the window’s function is tried thousands of times to show durability on everything from the window hardware to the frame structure. After that, tests analyzing air, water and thermal factors make sure that vinyl frames can defend against weather challenges while keeping your home protected. It all makes for a window that is robust and sturdy, with fade resistance and stylish exterior colors.
- Environmental Impact
There’s no way around it. Vinyl windows are not built from natural materials. Throughout their existence, vinyl windows have come under attack over the chemical basis of the vinyl material used in frame manufacturing. But vinyl window creation has come a long way in recent years. Windows such as Pella’s 350 Series, 250 Series and Encompass by Pella include frames created from advanced polymers that are performance-tested for excellent weathering and durability that keeps families safe and healthy.
Fiberglass windows present a stronger choice than vinyl windows, and don’t expand or contract when conducting heat and cold.Pros
- Increased Energy Efficiency
Fiberglass windows can provide significant positive changes in energy efficiency in contrast to vinyl windows. Pella’s Impervia fiberglass windows offer energy-efficient options that meet or exceed ENERGY STAR® guidelines nationwide*. Including optional foam-insulated frames, Impervia can provide even stronger protection against extreme elements.
- Composite Strength
Some of the increased energy efficiency in fiberglass windows is due to composite materials used in the frame’s design. As the name “fiberglass” implies, glass has long been a component of fiberglass window frames. But recently engineered composites, including Pella’s Duracast® material, don’t rely on the old glass particles, layering materials to build even more strength.
- Color and Texture Options
From a variety of colors to finishes that give the appearance of real wood, fiberglass windows offer options that fit any home’s style. Finishes can be baked into the frame during manufacturing to give colors that may stay vibrant for years. Fiberglass windows can also feature a durable powder-coat finish that results in windows with a texture that mimics real wood grain.
While they offer a more budget-friendly way to get the appearance of wood windows into your home, fiberglass windows are more expensive than vinyl windows. That makes them a much longer-term investment the style of your home. But the impact on your curb appeal won’t hurt if you’re looking to sell your home in the future.
- Not Quite Traditional
For some houses, only wood will fit. Regardless of improvements in finishing techniques and the flexibility to be painted, fiberglass frames will likely not meet the needs of homeowners looking to show off a traditional or historic look in their space. Particularly when looking to match natural wood grain, fiberglass windows aren’t the right choice.
For those with older, more traditional homes, there’s no substitute for wood-framed windows. There are several things to like about genuine wood.Pros
- Classic and Contemporary Style
Genuine wood has a natural look and feel that is unlike any other sort of material. From timeless dark woods, like mahogany and maple, to lighter woods, including oak, pine and cherry wood, an array of options can highlight the look of any home. It isn’t only older, traditional homes that benefit from the look of wood windows. Sleek and modern black wood window frames are one of the hottest trends in interior design today.
- A Natural Insulator
Wood frames help insulate a home with less effort than almost any other style of window. That can help homes stay safe from the cold in the winter and protected from the heat in the summer and can save families money on power bills all year.
- Protection from Sound and Weather
Wood-framed windows offer the thickest, most dense material for window frames. The density of wood also offers increased sound protection, as thicker wood will block out more outdoor noises than other style of window frames.
Top-of-the-line materials come with premium prices. Wood frames frequently have a more expensive initial cost than vinyl or fiberglass options. However, know that properly maintained wood frames can last notably longer than most other frames. They also create a tremendous increase to home resale value. And for families who must match their home’s traditional style, the benefits of wood frames are priceless.
- Need for Treatment
Wood window frames can suffer from damage if left untreated. That’s why it’s vital to be certain that wooden replacement windows come treated before installation. All of Pella’s wood windows come with EnduraGuard® wood protection, an advanced formula that protects against the effects of moisture. EnduraGuard helps ensure strong protection from the damage caused by moisture, decay, termites, mold and mildew on every exterior wood surface of our products.
Whichever material you choose, replacement windows can help increase a home’s energy efficiency and curb appeal. Ready to begin down the road to beautiful windows for your home? Talk to the professionals at Pella of Plattsburgh. They’ll help you select the windows that best match your needs, style and budget.