Vinyl vs Fiberglass Windows

Comparing Popular Window Types in Seattle

Choosing the Best Type of Windows for Your Home

Replacing your windows is no small task. There are so many types of windows that it’s hard to know where to start. Many homeowners ask how much do windows cost? Are fiberglass windows worth the investment?  And how do I choose a window installer?

Let’s touch on the first two questions and make your window shopping a little less “pane” ful 😉

To answer the third question, refer to our window installation guide.

Let’s talk about two very common materials used for windows in Seattle: vinyl and fiberglass.

Milgard Vinyl Windows single hung in kitchen

Vinyl Windows

The budget friendly solution.

What Are the Benefits of Vinyl Windows?

Vinyl windows are a good option for homeowners who want great value for their windows. They are low maintenance, highly energy efficient, require no painting, and are the most commonly chosen window because of their affordability. With the right manufacturer, vinyl windows can provide reliable performance for a lifetime.  In fact, many reputable manufacturers like Milgard Windows provide lifetime warranties for vinyl windows and doors.

What Are the Limitations of Vinyl Windows?

Vinyl is inherently flexible, and not as strong as aluminum, wood, or fiberglass frames.  With large windows (over 50 sq. ft.), vinyl frames can flex more with wind pressure.

Vinyl also has limited color options when it comes to dark colors.  Darker colors tend to absorb more heat which can cause vinyl windows to soften and warp.  That’s why you are limited to the colors provided by the manufacturers.

Vinyl also expands and contracts with temperature change. This expansion and contraction of the vinyl can put stress on the sealants between your siding and vinyl window.  This means you’ll need to check your sealants every two years at the minimum to ensure you don’t have any cracks in the sealant.

This same expansion and contraction can cause stress to the seals between the insulated glass units, which will cause those seals to fail allowing moisture to get in between the glass (foggy glass).  Luckily most window manufacturers provide lifetime coverage on failed insulated units.

Milgard Fiberglass windows in home

Fiberglass Windows

The best material type for windows

What Are the Benefits of Fiberglass Windows?

Fiberglass windows are made of silica sand, which is the main component of glass as well. This means plenty of natural supply for the production of these types of windows and less resource depletion.

The tensile strength of fiberglass is equivalent to aluminum.  This strength allows the frame profiles to be built thinner for a sleek modern design, and larger without the risk of excessive flexing due to wind load.

Additionally, fiberglass frames are as energy efficient as vinyl windows. Unlike vinyl windows however, you can paint fiberglass frames any color, even black, due to the fact fiberglass is completely heat resistant.

This heat resistance property means minimal expansion and contraction with temperature change, thus less stress on the sealants between your fiberglass window and home siding.

In the greater Seattle area where rain is constant, Fiberglass Windows stand out by offering peak performance. They are more durable and less likely to warp overall. The best fiberglass windows are from Milgard and can last a lifetime with little maintenance. The best fiberglass windows are backed by their lifetime product warranty.

What Are the Limitations of Fiberglass Windows?

Fiberglass Windows are more expensive to produce, thus are more expensive to purchase than their vinyl window counterpart.  So for an extremely budget conscious buyer, fiberglass windows may not be your best option.

Also, many manufacturers have not come up with a cost-effective way to build radius or curved windows, so often will substitute an aluminum-clad product with these radius shapes.

Finally, fiberglass windows are painted, so over time will need to be repainted due to natural fading.  The good news is that Milgard fiberglass windows are painted using optimal levels of UV inhibitors.  If you’re shopping for new windows, check out our specials page so you don’t miss out on extra savings.

Which Windows Are Best for Your Home?

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing new windows for your home. Make sure to consider both short-term and long-term benefits.

  • Cost: Vinyl is more affordable than fiberglass and can provide the best ROI over the short-term.
  • Aesthetics: Fiberglass can provide a more modern look and a more natural color sheen then vinyl.
  • Size: If you have large windows in your home (50 sq. ft. plus), fiberglass provides a stronger alternative then vinyl.
  • Environment: Unlike vinyl which is made of petroleum products, fiberglass is made of silica sand. The production of fiberglass windows has less environmental impact.
  • Color: Fiberglass provides more color options, whether from the manufacturer or if you choose to paint them a custom color yourself. Fiberglass is also paintable which allows you to change the frame colors many years later.
  • Resale value – you’ll likely see a significant boost no matter which new window you install, with both offering 89% ROI in the Puget Sound region.

When you’re ready to get your windows replaced, make sure you choose a trusted and experienced window dealer in Seattle. This ensures that your warranty remains valid and your windows look great for years to come. Always take your time to learn about the products, warranties, and the overall value new windows will add to your home.

Schedule an appointment to get help on whether vinyl or fiberglass windows are the best fit for you and your home.