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Vinyl, Aluminum, Fiberglass, Or Composite Windows: Which Is Right For Your Home?

Windows are the eyes of your home. With so many choices available in the market, you should choose the best. There are factors to consider, such as durability, style, price, and other relevant features. So, which material is best for you? We have researched answers to make it easier.

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When choosing windows, the right choice will be the one that suits the needs of your home. Here are some reasons to choose the following windows:

  • Vinyl - cheap, energy-efficient, better moisture resistance
  • Aluminum - lightweight, low-maintenance, and seals well
  • Fiberglass - durable with a wide range of decorative options
  • Composite - impact, and rot-resistant with better insulation

You should decide well on the type of window to install for your home. The window choice should enhance your home's appearance while maintaining functionality. Read further to know more about window materials.

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Which Window Material Is Best For Your Home?

Windows allow a view of your home interiors. The frame and sash of the windows will draw attention, so you need to find a window that is consistent with the home's style. Besides appearance, the windows should do well at protecting your home from outside elements like rain and wind.

Whether you are adding or replacing windows, there are many material options for every type of home. Narrow down your choices by aligning them with your needs. Below are your window choices and their qualities.

Aluminum

Aluminum is a popular material for modern homes. Thanks to innovations, you can use aluminum for window frames.

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Pros

This material has a slim profile, but it is durable. The window frames are thin, so the focus will be on the glass and the home's interiors. Moreover, the frames seal well at the joined corners.

Depending on your location and conditions, aluminum is generally low maintenance. Warping is not a problem in the long run.

Aluminum is water-resistant and will not rust. However, you should not choose this material if your home is by the beach. The window can corrode due to salt in the air and water.

Cons

Conversely, aluminum is one of the costlier window choices. In terms of energy efficiency, aluminum is a poor insulator. To regulate temperature, manufacturers add insulation in the frames, which adds on top of the cost.

Composite

If you want to get the best of two window materials, you can choose composite windows. This material is a blend of wood with aluminum, vinyl, metal, or plastic.

Composite windows are environment-conscious because of their recycled materials and recyclability.

One combination is wood with an exterior PVC. Wood is strong and stable, while PVC is low-maintenance with good thermal resistance. The PVC effectively resists moisture and prevents the decaying of the window frame. 

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Here are the pros and cons of composite windows:

Pros

  • Resists moisture, rotting, and warping
  • Appearance mimics wood, which you can paint or stain
  • Eco-friendly
  • Energy-efficient

Cons

  • More costly 
  • Matching the window to your home is a challenge

With this window, you get a variety of color and style choices. Hence, you can customize your window to match your home. Yet, you will take time to decide with the wide range of possible material combinations.

You can choose composite windows if you have the budget and the style matches your home. Find reliable composite window vendors so you get the most out of your money.

Fiberglass

Fiberglass is a new and popular residential window option. The material has proven its durability for other applications. If you choose this material, your window will withstand different weather patterns.

Listed below are the pros and cons of this window material:

Pros

  • Energy-efficient for cost-savings
  • Can survive extreme heat and subzero temperature
  • Customizable and has more size and color options
  • Noise-reduction ability
  • Can fit any size of the window opening
  • Low-maintenance
  • Easy to install
  • Paintable
  • Lasts for more than 50 years

Cons

  • Condensation (fogging or frosting of window glass)
  • Difficult to install due to its heavy weight
  • Needs a steel frame when installed
  • Sensitive to sunlight
  • 10-30% more expensive than other window materials

Fiberglass is not UV-resistant. The material will fade the fiberglass resin over time. It is best to choose a powder-coated fiberglass window.

Vinyl

Another famous window choice is vinyl. The material is a contraction of PVC plastic. Vinyl has hollow chambers that make them lightweight but is still strong to use for windows.

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Pros

You can easily take care of vinyl windows because of their resistance to rotting and warping. In effect, it stays in shape for longer. Also, the material can sustain its color so you don't need repainting. 

Vinyl is energy-efficient because of its tight water and air sealing. There are vinyl windows with multi-chamber frames that slow down the transfer of heat.

If budget is an issue, vinyl is a good choice for your home.

Installing vinyl windows yourself is possible. There are pre-cut sizes available for convenience.  

Cons

Although vinyl is cheap compared to other choices, some manufacturers cut the corners and offer low-quality windows. So, you need to find a reliable supplier. Also, check if the vinyl is UV-resistant because it discolors the material.

Even if vinyl is widely available, it can be hard to find a large window size. The vinyl frame is weak and cannot support a heavy glass pane. 

Vinyl is not biodegradable, so it is not an eco-friendly option. 

What To Consider When Choosing Windows

You can narrow down your window choice by considering some factors. Below are the key considerations to check out.

1. Appearance

Your windows are visible to the exteriors of your home. It is subtle, but it will draw attention to your home's interiors. So, you should match the style of your home with your window choice. Decide if you are going for a traditional or modern look.

Most of the materials mentioned in this post are for contemporary and modern styles. Fiberglass and vinyl offer colors and finishing that can suit your style. If you want to stay on the traditional side, you can choose composite windows.

2. Maintenance

Windows are easy to clean, but you need to consider the outside conditions affecting their lifespan.

Outside elements such as rain and wind will affect the finishing of the window material. Rust, corrosion, rotting, and warping are some issues windows can encounter.

All of the window materials mentioned in this post require less maintenance. Less maintenance does not mean that you can disregard taking care. You must still ensure that the window is suitable for the current conditions of your home.

3. Energy Efficiency

It is important to consider the energy efficiency of residential windows. Windows can help insulate the home interiors if you choose the right material.

The National Fenestration Rating Council (NRFC) has a rating for window solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC). 

The SHGC matters because it gauges how well the window can block the sun's heat. If the SHGC of the window is correct, there will be no heat loss in the cold months and it helps reduce AC costs in the hotter months. 

You can check the Energy Star or NRFC tag on the window. For the window materials mentioned, all will do well in insulating. Among the materials, vinyl is the most energy-efficient.

4. Strength

Another important factor when choosing windows is strength. The material should not be flimsy and easily warped. If that happens, the window will not look good and you will buy a replacement. 

The window materials should comply with the structural standards. There are provisions for the required loads for windows, such as design, wind, impact, and dead loads.

5. Price

When buying the window material, it should also be within your budget. However, buying cheap will not mean good quality. The benefits of buying a better window material should exceed the costs. 

How Much To Spend For Window Installations Or Replacements?

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The price ranges for the window materials are the following:

The window prices vary due to the size, style, quality, and related labor costs. If you choose a window with added features, the price will go up. 

Based on these prices, aluminum is the cheapest, while fiberglass windows are the most expensive.

In Closing

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You can choose aluminum, composite, fiberglass, and vinyl for your windows. Each window material has its pros and cons that you should consider when choosing. Select the window based on its appearance, maintenance, strength, energy efficiency, and price.

The right window for your home should meet all your requirements. After all, your window choice should be appealing and functional for your home.

Learn more about windows here:

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