When it comes to replacing windows for West Michigan homeowners, we often get the question: Which is better, fiberglass windows or vinyl windows. The fact is both fiberglass and vinyl are great materials for windows and both have their advantages. It’s really about what’s right for your home. Because we want you to make a wise window investment and an informed decision, let’s explore some of the pros and cons of fiberglass and vinyl windows.
What’s The Difference Between Fiberglass and Vinyl Windows?
There’s no denying it, Fiberglass is a much stronger material than vinyl — and can be up to 10x times stronger. Though your windows won’t provide your home with any structural support, it’s important to remember that strength equals durability. Fiberglass remains at least 38% more durable than vinyl — vinyl, which can warp over time. Fiberglass is actually considered a “lifetime” product because it often lasts for 50+ years. Still, both are resistant to pests or insects like termites and require significantly less maintenance than wood.
In terms of aesthetics, fiberglass windows can be painted and repainted if you decide to redecorate your home, whereas vinyl comes in one color and cannot be updated. This factor alone can make fiberglass windows an added selling point for your home down the road. Also, because fiberglass windows can be stronger using less material, this allows for fiberglass windows to have less of a frame and more glass to let in more light and views.
If energy efficiency is your priority, both fiberglass and vinyl are considered relatively efficient, however, fiberglass itself is 60% recyclable glass which means it reacts to heat in much the same way as the window itself, making it eco-friendly and often more efficient. Vinyl often uses metal as additional support, which may conduct heat into the house and also can expand and contract as the weather and temperature changes.
Both fiberglass and vinyl windows have very low maintenance needs. Simply clean normally inside and spray the outside with water occasionally to clean.
This is where most homeowners make the decision to go with fiberglass or vinyl – the price. Vinyl windows can cost 15%-30% less than fiberglass depending on your options. It’s important to note, however, that these days vinyl windows have anywhere from a 15-25 year warranty, while fiberglass windows often carry a limited lifetime warranty. The cost to replace over time should certainly be considered.
Replacement Windows by AOA
In addition to offering top-rated Fiberglass and Vinyl window products from the industry’s best manufacturers, we also handle the installation for your replacement window and door projects in the greater Grand Rapids area and throughout West Michigan.