The Story Behind Fiberglass Windows
When talking about the popularity between vinyl and fiberglass windows, fiberglass takes the lead.
The differences in fiberglass and vinyl windows are the materials used to make them. Fiberglass is created by pulling many strands of fiberglass together and putting them through a resin bath that is then pulled through a die that is heated which helps the resin to set. Once this process is complete, the fiberglass can be molded and shaped into any type figure. Products such as boats, automobiles, bath tubs and even aircrafts have fiberglass material as part of their makeup.
The difference with this and vinyl is really the price and lifespan. Vinyl windows will eventually lose its durability and will need to be replaced whereas fiberglass can withstand wear and tear for an extended amount of time after the vinyl has given out. Because of the durability and strength that fiberglass offers, these windows tend to run on the higher side with price. They are extremely complicated to install and most stores do not even sell fiberglass off the shelf.
What's the Cost Difference?
On the plus side, vinyl and fiberglass windows are cheaper than wood. As stated above, vinyl windows tend to run on the cheaper side in comparison to fiberglass. Vinyl is also much easier to install whereas fiberglass almost requires a professional to complete the job. It normally costs between $400-$650 to install a single vinyl window whereas fiberglass normally will cost you between $600-$1000.
Most consumers are able to install their own vinyl windows. Home improvement stores have vinyl windows on shelves for consumers to buy. With fiberglass, it's a completely different story. Stores typically do not carry fiberglass and if they do, they do not offer a warranty due to the fact that these windows are so complicated to install. Professional installation is highly advised for fiberglass windows.
Maintenance & Upkeep
Generally speaking, these two window types are easily maintained. They are not made up of organic material like wood windows are and do not rot like wood windows do. Both vinyl and fiberglass do not attract bugs whereas wood windows typically do over time. Cleaning is simple and can be done with a sponge and warm water.
Fiberglass windows use less material in their build and because of that, more glass is able to be used which means more open space and natural light. Vinyl windows require more material to build, which results in less space for glass to be used. Fiberglass windows can also be easily painted whereas vinyl cannot, and normally come in a select few color choices.
Both window types are energy efficient and do a very good job at slowing the transfer of thermal energy. Fiberglass has a small advantage over fiberglass because its glass fibers do not expand and contract from differing temperatures. Fiberglass windows are also great for decreasing the amount of noise transmission.