Vinyl, Fiberglass or Wood? Which Window Material is Best for your Home?
When deciding on the right replacement window for your home, there are many things to examine. From style to price to function, the options available for windows can seem confusing.
Some customers decide that a window reflecting their home’s architectural or interior design is their top priority. Others put more significance on the window’s features, like energy efficiency. The type of glass may also play a role in the decision.
However, a common area homeowners might not have thought about when planning to buy 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 unique advantages and disadvantages. Homeowners need to factor them into their decision when buying a new or replacement home window. Here are some points to consider about different window materials:
The most cost-effective of window materials, vinyl windows present flexible style selections that include many of the same features available in more expensive windows.Pros:
- Energy Efficient
- Design Flexibility
Vinyl windows offer a wide variety of options so you can choose a window that suits your home’s design. Instead of staining or treating the frame, vinyl frames are created in the color you need when they’re constructed at the factory. That means a lower chance of fading, chipping or peeling paint.
- Low Maintenance
Thanks to vinyl windows, you don’t have to do too much maintenance once they’re installed. Just keep them clean! Normally a basic garden hose, soft cloth and, if necessary, non-abrasive cleaning solutions will do the trick.
While most modern windows place a strong focus on energy efficiency, vinyl windows include some of the toughest guards against gaps and leaks in window frames. As they are created from a synthetic material, vinyl windows can be easily welded at the seams and many vinyl windows include steel-reinforced interlocking window sashes to add more energy efficiency and provide added wind resistance.
- Perceived Quality
Because of its less expensive price compared to other material types, people might think vinyl windows are unable 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 used thousands of times to prove durability on everything from the window hardware to the frame structure. Then, tests analyzing air, water and thermal elements make sure that vinyl frames can stand up to weather challenges while keeping your home pleasant. 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 made from natural materials. Over the years, 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 made from advanced polymers that are performance-tested for top-of-the-line weathering and durability that keeps families safe and healthy.
Fiberglass windows present a stronger option than vinyl windows, and don’t expand or contract when conducting heat and cold.Pros
- Increased Energy Efficiency
Fiberglass windows can bring significant increases in energy efficiency in contrast to vinyl windows. Pella’s Impervia fiberglass windows present energy-efficient options that meet or exceed ENERGY STAR® guidelines in all 50 states*. 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 construction. As the name “fiberglass” suggests, glass has long been a part of fiberglass window frames. But recently engineered composites, such as Pella’s Duracast® material, don’t rely on traditional glass particles, creating different coats of materials to build even more strength.
- Color and Texture Options
From a selection of colors to finishes that create the look 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 endure for years. Fiberglass windows can also include a long-lasting powder-coat finish that creates windows with a texture that mimics real wood grain.
While they present 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 more of a longer-term investment the appearance of your home. But the impact on your curb appeal will helps if you’re looking to sell your home in the future.
- Not Quite Traditional
For some homes, 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 match a traditional or historic look in their home. Particularly when looking to match natural wood grain, fiberglass windows might not be the right choice.
For those with older, more traditional homes, there’s no better choice wood-framed windows. There are many reasons to choose frames made from wood.Pros
- Classic and Contemporary Style
Genuine wood has a natural look and feel that is incomporable to any other type of material. From classic dark woods, like mahogany and maple, to lighter woods, such as oak, pine and cherry wood, an array of options can enhance the look of any home. It isn’t just older, traditional homes that benefit from the style of wood windows. Sleek and modern black wood window frames are one of the hottest trends in interior design at the moment.
- A Natural Insulator
Wood frames help keep things comfortable in a home with less effort than almost any other kind of window. That can help homes stay cozy in the winter and cool in the summer and can save homeowners money on energy bills all year.
- Protection from Sound and Weather
Wood-framed windows provide the thickest, most dense material for window frames. The density of wood also offers increased defense against outside noise, as thicker wood will block out more outdoor noises than other kind 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 frames. However, know that properly maintained wood frames can last far longer than most other windows. They also have a tremendous increase to home resale value. And for families who need to match their home’s traditional architecture, the benefits of wood frames are unmatched.
- Need for Treatment
Wood window frames can suffer from damage if left untreated. That’s why it’s important to be certain that wood-framed replacement windows come treated prior to installation. All of Pella’s wood windows feature EnduraGuard® wood protection, an advanced formula that protects against the effects of moisture. This helps ensure tough protection from the impact from moisture, decay, termites, mold and mildew on every exterior wood surface of our windows.
Whichever material you decide on, replacement windows can help improve a home’s energy efficiency and curb appeal. Ready to start down the road to improved windows for your home? Chat with the professionals at Pella of Ketchum. They’ll help you select the windows that best match your needs, style and budget.