In the last 10 years the choice for replacement windows has expanded beyond wood, aluminum and vinyl to include both fiberglass and composite windows, made from a combination of fiberglass and wood pulp.
The new products offer homeowners more options to replace window sashes, the part of the window that opens and closes, and each option has pros and cons.
Vinyl windows came to market in the 1970s and gave homeowners looking for replacement windows a less expensive alternative to wood or aluminum.
In addition to being more affordable, vinyl replacement windows were touted as better than the popular wood because they didn’t need painting or other maintenance, were unaffected by moisture and were quickly delivered.
Thirty years later wood is still considered the high-end window material because of its strength, appearance and durability. Vinyl replacement windows are still considered the more affordable, lower maintenance alternative.
New home builders are using a combination of materials for entire windows — sashes, frames and interior and exterior casing — including aluminum in some parts, vinyl and wood in others.
But in the last decade manufacturers have brought fiberglass and composite windows and replacement sashes to market, offering homeowners new alternatives, particularly to vinyl replacement windows.
The comparison of fiberglass and composite windows to replacement vinyl include:
- The fiberglass and composite windows are stronger and harder than vinyl, meaning less material is needed to hold the glass window in place. That allows more sunlight into a home.
- The acrylic factory finish ensures the color resists fading and cracking far longer than vinyl.
- The materials are more rigid than vinyl, making them much less susceptible to expansion and contraction than vinyl.
- Fiberglass windows are made from sand and composite replacement windows are made from sand and wood pulp left over after manufacturing of wood windows. That makes them more eco-friendly than vinyl, a petroleum-based plastic.
- Both types of new replacement windows are more affordable than wood and competitive with ‘high-end vinyl” windows, typically wood windows with a vinyl exterior.
Fiberglass and composite windows are available in the Twin Cities. Contact AMEK Custom Builders to learn more by calling 952-888-1200.