Compare Vinyl vs. Composite Windows


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Vinyl vs Composite Windows

If you are deciding between vinyl vs. composite windows, here are four factors to look at to help you find the best window options for your home.


On the strength issue, vinyl and composite windows will be pretty darn comparable. A top quality vinyl window frame can last up to thirty years, as should be the case with the composites. Composite windows are a newer technology so time will tell how they hold up in the long run.


The style window you choose comes down to taste and the actual product you choose. The Andersen 100 window is a composite that is quite nice looking, while other composite options out there leave something to be desired on the style front. Composites can be made with a mix of color and finish options, which can mean a very nice looking window. Vinyl frames are relatively bland - not bad looking by any means, but nothing special. Some contractors point out that certain high end vinyl options are quite nice looking, such as the Sunrise Restorations window, but they simply can't compare to wood clad.

Energy Efficiency

Many manufacturers claim that their composites are more energy efficienct than vinyl windows, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of unbiased information to support that Renewal By Andersen windows have decent performance numbers but nothing exceptional (they are nice looking but also very expensive windows.) Well made vinyl windows offer some of the best performance numbers in the replacement market, while other brands such the lower end models from American Craftsman and Cascade for instance have some of the worst (especially once installed as opposed to in the showroom).

Cost & Value

Vinyl windows are quite popular and account for nearly half of all replacement windows - expect to pay anywhere from $200 and $750 per installed window. A well made vinyl window with installation should run you $400 to $450. Vinyl can offer very nice long term value with a well made product and installation. Composites range in price from $325 to $1100 per installed window. The Andersen 100 should run you around $500 installed for a normal sized double hung. The value issue is still up for grabs with some composite proponents saying they offer excellent value, while other industry experts are only so so on their long term prospects.

Bottom Line

When it comes to deciding b/n vinyl vs. compsite windows, it may come down to looks for some, with the nod going to the best composite windows. However, a high end well made vinyl window with solid installation is hard to beat from the overall price and value perspective. Our window replacement cost estimator can help you compare costs between these two frame materials.

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