When shopping for replacement windows, you’ll likely be barraged with offers from every corner, making it hard to take your pick. As a result, you might need a fine-toothed comb to peruse the fine print. Plus, it helps to partner with a reputable firm like Maverick Windows – a certified Austin based window replacement company offering a price match guarantee and a lifetime warranty on energy-efficient windows.
Perhaps you’re spoilt for choice, given the various materials used to make replacement windows. Or maybe, vinyl appears like a great option, but you’re still on the fence, wondering if other alternatives have more to offer. Well, this post has your concerns in mind. Let’s compare vinyl with other materials based on various factors to help you make a decision that will transform your home.
There’s no question that few materials can hold a candle to wood – at least in the looks department. For starters, wood gives off a traditional and elegant vibe, regardless of shape or size.
Conversely, vinyl doesn’t have much going for it. Some homeowners claim it looks quite basic, while others think it looks plastic-like. Still, beauty is in the eye…meaning vinyl window replacements could grow on you; who knows?
Well, what about aluminum? Despite its popularity, aluminum doesn’t have the same wow factor as wood. And compared to vinyl, it’s not available in as many styles or color options.
Vinyl frames are also generally thicker than fiberglass and sport visible join lines. As such, the latter is a better option if you want to achieve a seamless look or enhance the amount of light that streams through your windows. You can also stylize fiberglass windows with paint, while vinyl doesn’t handle paint well.
Wood frames are susceptible to warping, cracking, rotting, and peeling due to prolonged exposure to moisture and other elements. Plus, the frequent expansion and contraction of such frames isn’t good news – especially if you live in a place with unpredictable weather. Thus, frequent sealing, painting, refinishing, polishing, and patching could become part of your regular home maintenance repertoire.
If you need a material you don’t need to tend to as often, vinyl and fiberglass fit the bill. Other than the occasional coat of painting your fiberglass windows and an extra layer of caulk (in the case of vinyl windows), they don’t require much upkeep. Moreover, these materials are moisture-resistant, meaning they won’t crack or warp easily.
All the same, fiberglass is more rugged than vinyl, with an average service life of 50 years. The latter lasts about 30 years – although it beats the 20 years you can expect (if you’re lucky) from wood replacements.
Wood is a great insulator – no wonder we use it to build our houses. However, its insulation capabilities are no match for fiberglass or vinyl frames.
Manufacturers typically incorporate Low-E glass, warm edge spacers, foam insulation, and other features to make vinyl replacement windows more energy-efficient. Plus, their airtight seals help prevent heat loss and improve their insulation capabilities.
Nonetheless, fiberglass frames are the clear winners based on this criterion. Plus, they sport a vapor barrier that prevents moisture from seeping in and affecting the windows’ insulation capabilities. Besides, the glass fibers used to craft these types of windows offer superior insulation.
On the other hand, aluminum doesn’t hold up well to extreme heat, implying it may not be ideal for climates with consistently high temperatures. Likewise, moisture can seep into the frame, making your windows frosty and less energy-efficient.
Vinyl frames are a budget-friendly option – usually cheaper than aluminum and fiberglass. Even if you go for the top vinyl trim, you won’t have to break the bank to afford it.
On the flip side, wood windows are the priciest, despite offering lower insulation qualities and value – if we might add. Thus, if money is tight, it’s advisable to opt for other materials.
And talking of cost, vinyl installation is usually a breeze owing to its flexibility. As such, it typically costs less to install as it’s less demanding. In fact, if you’re DIY-inclined, you can set up your vinyl windows in no time. However, fiberglass’ rigidity means it requires a professional installation, which can add to your overall cost.
Besides, fiberglass is less common. Thus, vinyl or other alternatives may be a better fit if you need replacement windows urgently and can’t contend with a longer lead time (which is often the case with fiberglass windows).
Every window material has its quirks and benefits. Thus, it pays to assess your needs, preferences, area’s climate, and budget before investing in replacements. In short, weigh the upsides and downsides of each material to ensure you settle on windows offering the most value.