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3 Key Considerations When Choosing Between Vinyl and Fiberglass Windows

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Integrity Windows and Doors has teamed up with building industry thought leader, Matt Risinger, president of Austin, Texas-based Risinger Homes, to provide insights and best practices to fellow professionals across the country. This is the final post in a six-part series. 


One choice that homeowners face early in the building or remodeling process is selecting windows. Vinyl is a popular window in America primarily because it’s the low-cost leader among window options. However, not everyone knows that fiberglass framed windows are only slightly more expensive but provide a big upgrade in performance, aesthetics and durability. Let’s look at these three areas and how these two windows compare.

Performance
Vinyl is inherently a rather flimsy material, and especially in the hot and sunny Southern regions of the United States a vinyl framed window can bow in the heat. I’ve found that vinyl window sashes are often not strong enough to resist the forces of their lock mechanism and can cause issues with opening, closing and locking. On the other hand, fiberglass is a super strong material (think: a boat hull) and can take the heat without the movement of vinyl.

Aesthetics
When vinyl windows are made, they are melted and heat-seamed in the corners. This leads to some very ugly exteriors especially in the corners where the manufacturer has shaved down the excess vinyl. (See above left.) Fiberglass windows are built similarly to traditional wood windows and have super crisp corners and overall look very clean. (See above right.)

Durability
Vinyl windows typically come in two colors — white and off-white. If you want a different exterior color like bronze, which is very popular, the vinyl is painted on the outside. This very thin paint job scratches easily — often in transport to the jobsite — and fades quickly over the first few years. Integrity’s fiberglass windows have an acrylic cap stock factory applied over the top of the fiberglass frame that’s super thick and durable. (Think: acrylic tubs!)

In summary, for a small upgrade in cost I truly think fiberglass is one of the best window options for any house in America. It has the strength, durability and good looks to make your home look fantastic for decades to come!

For more information on windows visit my blog at www.MattRisinger.com or my YouTube channel at www.YouTube.com/MattRisingerOr follow me on Twitter (@MattRisinger) or Instagram (@RisingerBuild).