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The Official Blog of Salt Lake Window Company, a Salt Lake City, Utah based provider of high quality windows manufactured by AMSCO & Cascade Windows.



Vinyl vs. Fiberglass Replacement Windows

Replacement windows are highly recommended as a home improvement project with a significant return on investment. Not only that, a windows upgrade adds to the comfort level of the home -- when the windows are energy-efficient -- and gives a boost to its appearance.

Once you've decided to tackle window replacement, you're faced with a variety of choices. Window frame material is one of the critical options before you and that is increasingly a choice between vinyl, or fiberglass or fiberglass composite.

Durability and Maintenance
Vinyl and Fiberglass Composite Windows have become more prevalent than wood windows in new construction and renovation in part because of the inert nature of each material. Vinyl and fiberglass don't decay and insects aren't attracted to either material. Wood is an organic material that eventually rots; it's also subject to insect infestation, with detrimental effects to the frame.

Maintenance demands for vinyl and fiberglass are on the low end of the spectrum, mostly requiring hosing off and scrubbing the frames with soap and warm water. Fiberglass frames require more maintenance than vinyl since they need to be repainted periodically.

Lifespan
According to a 2007 study, fiberglass is estimated to last 38 percent longer than vinyl -- a good quality vinyl window is rated for up to 30 years, while a fiberglass window is expected to last for about 50 years.

Fiberglass fibers in the frame expand and contract at the same rate as the glass. That reduces the chance for seal failure, which is the main cause of condensation and fogging of the insulated glass unit. Vinyl windows have welded corner seams, where seal failure is most common.

Fiberglass is stronger and more rigid than vinyl -- the frames don't warp or twist. Fiberglass is also about eight times stronger than vinyl, although that attribute isn't as important in windows as it is for other parts of the building, since they don't provide structural support.

Heat has an adverse effect on vinyl, which can soften to the point of melting in high temperatures, leading to distorted and warped frames that place additional stress on the seal.

AMSCO and Cascade Windows are fabricated using advanced vinyl technology that results in frames that are more stable and resistant to climate extremes. Both companies increase the integrity of the seal with warm edge spacer technology to reduce thermal transfer and condensation.

Energy-Efficient Windows
Both vinyl and fiberglass frames have insulating value, with transmission of thermal energy slowed by hollow cavities -- similar to a honeycomb -- incorporated into the design. Fiberglass is rated approximately 15 percent higher in energy efficiency than vinyl, partly because of reduced expansion and contraction, and because fiberglass and fiberglass composite frames don't transmit heat or cold.

The stability of fiberglass frames means the entire window system and weatherstripping remains airtight and resists moisture infiltration. Fiberglass also provides insulation from noise transmission to a higher degree than vinyl.

Finishes
Generally, more options for finishes are available with fiberglass windows, since the frames can be painted. Fiberglass frames can also be fabricated with a wood veneer on the interior side of the window.

The color for vinyl window is injected all the way through the frames and can't be altered. While that eliminates the need to repaint, the options for color in vinyl windows is generally limited to light colors, such as white, almond, and taupe.

AMSCO Windows has expanded the traditional neutral color palette with several rich hues, available in the Renaissance and Artisan Series lines. The company's patented vinyl formula produces exceptional color retention for all its vinyl windows.

Cost
Vinyl windows cost significantly less than fiberglass -- up to 50 percent less, according to Remodeling Calculator. That doesn't include the cost of dismantling the existing window, framing, interior trim, molding, and decorative fittings.
Other features increase to the cost for both types of frames, such as custom configurations, special glass coatings, and accessories.

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Comparisons between Vinyl Windows and Fiberglass Windows

In window replacement, there are three primary materials you can choose from. Two of them compete in the market for the home owner's choice. Vinyl and fiberglass windows are usually number one on home owners' list of window replacement or repair options. If you are choosing between these two, here is a comparison of their respective advantages and disadvantages.

Vinyl and fiberglass are closely priced. However, vinyl windows have the upper hand. Made from the cheapest material, vinyl windows are inexpensive solutions to your window problems. Vinyl windows are also popular for their insulating features. However, since vinyl windows are more prone to damage, they can be costly replacements if you plan to use the material for every repair.

Fiberglass windows may be expensive but are known to last longer than vinyl and wood windows. Fiberglass windows are eight times more durable than vinyl. They can withstand harsh weather conditions, unlike vinyl windows that crack over time. They can be a good investment if you plan to keep your home for a long time.

When you want Utah replacement windows, you also need to consider the material's environmental effects. Both vinyl and fiberglass windows are energy efficient. They provide sufficient heating and cooling. Fiberglass, however, would break down faster when disposed in a landfill, making them more environmental friendly. They are also not flammable, unlike wood and vinyl windows.

When installing Salt Lake replacement windows, both vinyl and fiberglass require the same amount of work. They should be installed properly to ensure quality results. Vinyl and fiberglass come in different colors, giving you more flexible design options. You can paint them with your desired color or you can order a pre-painted one from the manufacturer.

Vinyl and fiberglass windows are both termite resistant and easy to maintain, compared with wooden windows. However, among the three materials for Utah replacement windows, fiberglass is the most stable and recommended material. Fiberglass windows can provide better thermal resistance and structural beauty. When choosing a material for your window replacement, select one that would prove to be a long-term investment for you.

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Fiberglass vs. Vinyl Windows

Replacing the windows in your home is a major investment, and you'll have to live with your decision for a long time. Therefore, you want windows that you'll really enjoy but will not have to fuss over. Look for the highest quality you can get within your budget.

You'll definitely want to consider fiberglass windows over vinyl windows. Vinyl is a well-known, popular choice. Fiberglass is newer, but these days 'newer' often means 'more innovative.' Fiberglass definitely offers some unique benefits.

Efficiency

Both fiberglass and vinyl are very energy efficient and can save substantially on heating and cooling costs. It takes 39% less energy to produce fiberglass vs. vinyl. Fiberglass has no environmentally damaging components, and it's fully recyclable. Polyvinyl chloride, a key ingredient in vinyl, is a toxic chemical. Tests show it can leach into indoor air with its microscopic dust particles. Fiberglass is also very effective for reducing noise. Because vinyl has less mass, it's not as good for noisy locations. Double- or triple-pane glass also contribute to noise reduction. Durability

Vinyl resists chipping, rot, rust and corrosion. But extreme temperatures can cause it to warp or fade. Fiberglass does not corrode, rot, warp, dent, chalk of fade. Both fiberglass and vinyl are virtually maintenance-free. They never need to be scraped or painted, and they're easy to clean. Because fiberglass is eight times stronger than vinyl, it can be used for very large windows. Vinyl is a good choice for the majority of weather conditions. Fiberglass is a top-performer virtually anywhere. Appearance

You'll find lots of choices for both fiberglass and vinyl when it comes to standard styles and colors. You should find plenty of custom options, too. You can't paint or stain vinyl, but it does come in a variety of colors. Fiberglass comes in many standard colors and can also be stained or painted. Both vinyl and fiberglass offer lots of functional options. Cost

Vinyl windows are available in a wide range of prices, whereas fiberglass tends to be higher-priced. Fiberglass assures you'll get a top-notch warranty. Fiberglass, especially Ultrex, is now considered the industry standard for superior performance. Nonetheless, you'll want to compare fiberglass vs. vinyl windows based on the specific traits that match your lifestyle and fit your budget.

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