A home remodel is the perfect time to consider installing replacement windows, especially if your current windows are not doing their job. Approximately 14,000 people in the United States experience a water damage emergency at home or work every day, according to industry estimates. Replacing your windows can mitigate leaks and water damage in your home. There are two primary options for window material: fiberglass and vinyl. Know the differences between the two, and you’ll be able to make an informed decision about your replacement windows.


Both fiberglass and vinyl windows are man-made. Fiberglass windows are made of polyester resins activated by a catalyst and pulled through a heated die. These resins are injected into strands of glass and glass mats. This final material can be shaped however it needs to be. Vinyl windows have a base material of extruded polyvinyl chloride (PVC). To stiffen the framing, the inner structural elements of vinyl may include metal.


Companies sometimes advertise fiberglass windows as extremely strong, often more than nine times stronger than vinyl windows. Within the structural integrity of any home, windows do not provide structural support. While fiberglass windows may be able to support heavy weights, that feature is not very meaningful for a home. A vinyl window will do perfectly well in the strength department as long as the window opening is framed properly.


Fiberglass and vinyl windows both come in a variety of “baked-in” colors. There are slightly more color options for fiberglass windows, but not significantly more. Fiberglass windows can be painted while vinyl cannot, giving it the advantage of customization. Some fiberglass windows can come with a wood veneer covering the outside.


As both window varieties are constructed from man-made materials, neither of them rot and carpenter ant or termite damage is unlikely. Otherwise, fiberglass takes the advantage in durability. According to a 2007 case study, they have a lifespan that is about 38% longer than vinyl. Fiberglass windows have less chance of seal failure because the frame and window glass expand and contract at the same rate. Seal failure often results in fogging and condensation on windows.

While fiberglass and vinyl replacement windows have their differences, they both do a great job at insulating your home and require very little maintenance. As you consider the window options for your home renovations, consider what style will suit your home the best and commit to those windows.

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