Compare Vinyl vs. Fiberglass Windows


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Vinyl vs. Fiberglass Windows

If you are debating between vinyl vs. fiberglass windows, here are four factors to look at to help you find the best replacement windows for your home.

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Fiberglass windows are definitely stronger than vinyl windows, in fact they are eight times stronger if comparing them to PVC (vinyl). Vinyl windows will probably not last the same length of time as fiberglass windows. A top quality vinyl window can last up to thirty years (meeting the manufacturer's warranty), but fiberglass windows that are cared for can last considerably longer.


The style windows you choose will be down to personal taste and manufacturer issues. An example would be the Milgard aluminum and vinyl windows, they look identical if you put them both in front of you. As a homeowner you will probably not be able to tell the vinyl windows apart from fiberglass windows, especially if they are finished in the same color. However, If you compare a poorly made or lower end vinyl window to a well made fiberglass model such as a Marvin Infinity, you should be able to see the difference in the frame. Overall, it's all down to personal choice, quality and what you feel looks best for your home.

Energy Efficiency

It's very difficult to pinpoint whether vinyl or fiberglass windows are more energy efficient. In fact, you'll probably find performance numbers are almost the same on both the higher end fiberglass and higher end vinyl windows. As years pass, vinyl will lose a bit more of its energy efficiency than the fiberglass windows. Therefore, over the long term, fiberglass will probably be the more energy efficient of the two (and more expensive, see below). Installation will also play a very big role on the energy efficiency of your windows. Be sure you find a reputable installer that can offer a quality installation job.

Cost & Value

Vinyl windows are exceptionally popular - dealers sell them everywhere around the country and they make about roughly half of the replacement market. The prices vary between $200 and $750 per installed window, with a mid range window costing $425 installed. If you choose a higher end manufacturer, you can expect to pay the higher end of the scale. Fiberglass windows are slightly higher in price due to their strength and construction. You can expect to pay anywhere between $300 and $900 for each installed window, with a mid range window costing $600 installed.

Bottom Line

When it comes to deciding between vinyl vs. fiberglass windows, a well made fiberglass window gets the nod over it's well made vinyl counterpart. The big question is whether the fiberglass frame is worth the additional cost - think $425 vs $600 per window, multiply this out by the number of windows you need and you should have your answer.

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