Window Comparison

The Colorado Springs Guide To Replacement Window Materials

What’s The Difference Between Vinyl, Fiberglass, And Wood Windows?

Many homeowners get confused by the different materials used to manufacture windows and simply want to know what’s the best choice for homes in the Colorado Springs area.

The good news is it’s pretty easy to get some clarity on this topic, because there are basically just 3 different materials to choose from: wood windows, fiberglass windows, or vinyl windows.

Below is some information that will give you a good working knowledge of the different materials and help you figure out what would work best for you.

Wood Windows

Wood windows are beautiful – that’s what attracts homeowners to them. Wood windows also have a lot of negatives for today’s homeowner.

One of the biggest things is maintenance – wood windows require a lot of it! Painting needs to be done regularly in most cases.

Even with regular maintenance, wood windows can still be subject to insect infestation, as well as rotting and warping concerns. Wood as a material expands and contracts in extreme temperatures, which can make them hard to operate.

The final drawback to wood windows is that they are very pricey.

Wood Windows, Pros & Cons: If you choose wood, you’ll have beautiful windows. On the downside, they’ll cost more than other options. They also will demand more maintenance, and are at a higher risk for warping, infestation, and rot.

Fiberglass Windows

Fiberglass windows are usually a nice-looking option. They are also often of good quality and durable. The biggest drawback is that they are more expensive than high-quality vinyl windows – and the question is… is it worth the extra money?

Proponents of fiberglass windows will often say that fiberglass is stronger than vinyl as a material. That’s true, but it’s not the whole truth.

The problem is that a stronger material isn’t an advantage in this case. Vinyl windows are plenty strong enough – it’s not like windows are holding up your house! A “stronger” material is not the same as a more durable material.

The other problem with the “strength argument” is that fiberglass windows might not really be as strong as vinyl where it counts. Here’s why: since fiberglass windows can’t be fusion-welded (like vinyl windows are), they are fastened together with screws. This means their joints are not as airtight and watertight as fusion-welded vinyl windows.

One other thing to be aware of: some fiberglass windows need to be painted to look right. Anytime you have paint involved, that can mean more maintenance later.

Fiberglass Windows, Pros & Cons: Fiberglass windows are generally attractive and are usually of decent quality. On the negative side, they can cost quite a bit, can have problems at the corners that require screws to hold together, and sometimes need painting.

Low-Quality Vinyl Windows

You’ll sometimes hear other Colorado Springs window companies talk about how terrible vinyl is. They “look plastic.” They can “chalk and fade” over time. They’ll lose their seal and lead to windows that look permanently “foggy.”

That can be true – if they’re talking about RECYCLED vinyl products. You see, there are really two different kinds of vinyl that can be used for manufacturing windows and they are complete opposites. One is recycled vinyl which you need to avoid, and the other is 100% virgin vinyl, which is an excellent material.

Recycled vinyl is low-quality and inferior and is easy to recognize because it looks like cheap plastic. This is the kind of window that builders throw on a house when they want to cut corners or some owners use for rental properties to save money.

Low-Quality Vinyl Window, Pros & Cons: The only “pro” is these tend to be cheaper than any other option, although they cost you more in the long run. The best thing to do is to not even consider low-quality vinyl options: it isn’t durable, it is less energy-efficient, and it looks ugly.

High-Quality Vinyl Windows

The opposite of recycled vinyl is 100% virgin vinyl windows. This is the pure material used to manufacture high-performance windows.

Instead of the cheap plastic look, high-quality vinyl actually increases curb appeal. Because this 100% pure vinyl is stronger than the recycled kind, these windows have more glass and less frame which gives better views and more light.

Another advantage of high-quality vinyl is that it is typically more affordable than wood and fiberglass choices. Finally, vinyl will not rot or warp and will never be infested by insects.

High-Quality Vinyl Windows, Pros & Cons: High-quality vinyl windows are a good value. You get energy-efficient windows that are also attractive and durable. Other than occasional cleaning, they don’t require maintenance.

Do you have more questions about window materials and what is best for your Colorado Springs home? Call us for answers.