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If you’ve been shopping for new replacement windows for your home here in the Minneapolis metro, you’ve probably noticed you have lots to choose from – window styles, brands, colors, and more. But one of your first choices should be the type of frame material, because that will help you narrow down your options. We find that many people we talk to are looking for energy-efficient windows that also require little or no maintenance. Energy savings and lack of upkeep both top the list of desired features in replacement windows, and we have two types to suggest: fiberglass and vinyl.
Both fiberglass and vinyl windows are excellent replacements for old wood windows. (The exception to that would be if you own an historic or older home and you’re endeavoring to maintain architectural accuracy. In that case, we’d have other recommendations for you.) Fiberglass and vinyl windows are similar in some aspects, in that they both require very little in the way of regular maintenance, other than occasional cleaning. And we have windows of both types that are highly energy efficient. But fiberglass and vinyl windows have different characteristics, so let’s discuss the three main areas you should pay attention to.
Energy Efficiency/Performance: Overall performance of a window in terms of energy efficiency involves a number of factors. You might think that the insulation value of a fiberglass window is greater than a comparable vinyl window, since most home insulation consists of fiberglass. But there’s more to the R-value of a window than simply the frame material. While fiberglass provides more insulating value than vinyl, many vinyl windows are manufactured with air or foam-filled spaces in the frame, creating more insulation than a solid fiberglass window would. You also need to factor in the glass itself. Since glass makes up the greatest area of a window, choosing a glass that comes with a high rating, such as EnergyStar certification, is what matters most. You may find that overall a vinyl window might have a higher energy efficiency rating than a similar fiberglass window, or vice versa. Check those numbers on the window sticker!
Appearance: While you can’t put a dollar value on looks, this is something to consider. You want a window that will add to the exterior (and interior) appearance of your home. Looks do matter. We find that often homeowners are looking for a window that replicates the look of real wood. So does vinyl or fiberglass deliver that appearance better? Here’s one place where fiberglass windows have the clear advantage over vinyl windows. And it’s not just appearance – fiberglass windows actually feel more like wood, while vinyl windows have a synthetic feel to them as well as the look. While the fusion welding process that is used to manufacture most vinyl windows makes them very strong and durable, it does produce a more artificial look and feel.
Return on Value: Which one of these types of windows is more cost effective? If you’re looking at the bottom line on installation cost, yes, fiberglass windows are more costly – up to 50% more than vinyl. But you need to look at the long-range cost as well. Which ones will add greater value to your home? Which will save more on energy? Which ones will last longer? In the long run, the more expensive fiberglass windows could actually save you more. Fiberglass windows are far more durable than vinyl, especially in Minnesota’s climate – as much as eight times stronger. And you can expect them to last up to twice as long as vinyl. That may be important if you’re planning to stay in your home indefinitely. But if you plan on selling your home in the near future, vinyl might be a more economical choice.
So which windows are the best – fiberglass or vinyl? The bottom line is the best windows for your home are the ones that will meet your needs, fit your budget, and help you accomplish your energy efficiency goals. We’d be happy to review your home’s existing windows and make recommendations. We usually will have several types to suggest, and we’ll guide you through the process to choose which windows are right for you. We are a licensed Minnesota replacement window company, and we serve the greater Twin Cities metro area.
Window Outfitters is a premier Window Replacement, doors, siding contractor and installer. As Contractor in the St Paul, Minneapolis, (Twin Cities) Minnesota (MN) metro, we proudly serve, but are not limited to, the following areas: Minneapolis Energy Efficient Vinyl Windows, Replacement Window Contractors Minnesota, Burnsville, Apple Valley, Lakeville, Savage, Bloomington, Edina, Richfield, Eagan, St Paul, Hastings, Minnetonka, Plymouth, Maple Grove, Eden Prairie, Farmington MN, Chaska, Shakopee, Chanhassen, Victoria, Mendota Heights Anderson Windows Minneapolis, Marvin Windows Minneapolis.