Fiberglass vs. Vinyl Windows Purchasing Manual


When shopping for new-building or for substitution windows, you have a preference of many distinct elements in the window frames. Wood windows are however readily available, but windows framed with aluminum, vinyl, fiberglass (or fiberglass composite) are also obtainable.

More and more, the option arrives down to vinyl or some variation of fiberglass or fiberglass composite. How do these resources evaluate when utilised for window frames and which one is greater over-all?

Vinyl Windows

Vinyl windows are created from extruded polyvinyl chloride (PVC) as the foundation materials. They might contain metal as an inside structural factor to stiffen the frames.

Vinyl windows initial appeared in significant numbers in the 1970s when compact window fabricators began providing vinyl-framed windows to satisfy custom measurements that substantial window manufacturers could not offer you. It was not right up until the 1990s, nevertheless, that vinyl windows truly grew to become a preferred solution. Significant companies quickly noticed the merit in creating vinyl windows. Nowadays, hundreds of important window makers present entire strains of vinyl-framed windows.

The major advantage of vinyl-framed windows is that they are reasonably priced, costing only about 50 percent of wood-framed windows, on typical. Vinyl windows, too, are vitality successful considering the fact that they are fabricated making use of hollow cavities that can be crammed with insulation to lure air which increases R-benefit. Vinyl windows can be fabricated to in shape any opening sizing.

Vinyl windows under no circumstances require to be painted. This edge can be a parallel drawback, even though, if you want to paint your vinyl windows. Vinyl windows can be painted, but not efficiently as the paint will before long peel away.

Vinyl windows are only readily available in a constrained assortment of hues.

What We Like

  • Lower expense

  • Very easily offered

  • Painting not desired

Fiberglass Windows

Exactly where vinyl windows succeeded in making a customer base that did not exist in advance of, fiberglass frame windows took it to the subsequent stage.

Fiberglass is made when polyester resins are activated by a catalyst and then pultruded, or pulled, by way of a heated die. Strands of glass or glass mats are impregnated with resins. The finished product is identified as a lineal and it is machinable and can be formed. Fiberglass has long been used to produce extremely-robust, lightweight materials for skis, surfboards, and canoes. 

Fiberglass (and fiberglass-composite windows) started to acquire level of popularity close to 2000. They were initially formulated to address certain limits to vinyl windows.

In the course of vinyl’s lifespan, it progressively loses its resiliency—a disadvantage that fiberglass does not have. Fiberglass is also more powerful than vinyl. Fiberglass windows also can attain the exact amount of vitality-effectiveness with more compact frames with a decrease profile, generating fiberglass frames a additional beautiful option. And fiberglass can be fabricated in a way that closely resembles wood—right down to becoming equipped to paint it distinct colours.

Recent fiberglass windows are additional properly explained as fiberglass composites because they are fabricated with a mixture of fiberglass and polyester resins. Much better than wooden and occupying a selling price assortment concerning vinyl and wood, fiberglass-framed windows are an increasingly well-known preference.


Both of those vinyl and fiberglass windows are much less expensive than wooden, but of the two, vinyl is the a lot less costly alternate. Vinyl windows are about 10- to 30-percent more affordable to acquire and install. The price of installing a single vinyl window $700 to $800, compared to $900 to $1,100 for a person fiberglass window.

When cost is the sole determiner for acquire, vinyl windows obviously and consistently win out around fiberglass windows.

Do-It-Oneself Set up

Vinyl windows have a definite advantage, as they are quite easy for do-it-yourselfers to source and to install by themselves. Fiberglass windows, on the other hand, should be installed with excellent precision for the reason that the product is quite rigid, necessitating shut tolerances.

Professional set up is greatest with any style of new-construction or substitution window. But with fiberglass windows, specialist set up is almost mandatory. Some fiberglass window brands may perhaps be hesitant to market windows directly to house owners, and may well not warrant them if they are not installed by authorised contractors.

Vinyl windows are usually stocked at dwelling improvement facilities for simple acquire, even though fiberglass windows ought to be particular ordered.

Strength and Toughness

Vinyl and fiberglass windows are both produced from inert substances that do not rot and are not tempting to insects like termites or carpenter ants. In that feeling, vinyl and fiberglass windows rank shut with each other for longevity, especially when in comparison to wooden windows—made from organic and natural products that bugs adore to eat and which can rot.

Amongst vinyl and fiberglass, fiberglass windows will be extra durable structurally. Fiberglass windows are approximated to have a 38-% for a longer period lifespan than vinyl, according to a 2007 examine.

Also, for the reason that fiberglass is sourced from glass—the very same substance as the window-glass—both frames and glass panes develop and agreement at the exact price, top to less prospect of seal failure. Seal failure in the IGU (insulated glass unit) is a key lead to of fogging and condensation. Vinyl windows have welded corner seams, which is where by seal failure normally occurs.

Fiberglass would make for a more powerful, much more rigid frame than both vinyl or wood. These windows do not warp, at any time. They are incredibly minimal maintenance—other than painting them if you so opt for. Fiberglass can be as a great deal as nine situations more powerful than vinyl.

It is significant to try to remember, nevertheless, that windows by themselves offer no structural support. So the sheer means to support heavy weights (an marketing claim of some fiberglass window brands) is handy, but not as meaningful as it appears on the floor. If the window opening is framed correctly, vinyl windows do perform effectively. 

Routine maintenance

Equally windows are equally low upkeep. Mould, mildew, moss, and filth can be hosed off and then the frames cleaned by scrubbing with a sponge and warm drinking water.


Fiberglass gets the nod in this article, generally simply because the fiberglass utilised in the window frames consists of up to 60-percent recycled glass. Vinyl windows are made from PVC plastic, a substance that is hard to recycle at the end of its daily life.

Visual appearance

Fiberglass windows present extra glass space than vinyl windows. Due to the fact vinyl is not as solid as fiberglass, more material is necessary for the frames. This means that vinyl window frames are a little thicker than fiberglass, impinging on beneficial glass room. Fiberglass windows comprise much more glass place than vinyl—and much more glass usually means more normal gentle.

Fiberglass can also be textured to closely resemble the texture of purely natural wooden. Fiberglass windows appear in a huge variety of hues not discovered with vinyl windows. Vinyl windows come in a selection of baked-in shades, as do fiberglass windows. But fiberglass has the additional advantage of being paintable, when vinyl windows are complicated to paint and keep in excess of the extended-expression.

Some fiberglass windows are made with a fiberglass core and a wooden veneer masking the outdoors (only on the inside side of the window).

Electricity Effectiveness

The glass fibers in fiberglass do not develop and deal under heat and cold, and consequently they are a a little bit far better insulator than vinyl. In accordance to maker Magnetite, fiberglass is rated 15 % higher in R-benefit than vinyl-framed windows. Each types, however, provide pretty very good insulating price, because they are produced with hollow cavities that do a very good job of slowing the transmission of thermal strength.

Along with greater electricity effectiveness, fiberglass windows are far better at offering insulation from noise transmission.

Real Estate Benefit

Fiberglass windows tend to experience better resale values than vinyl windows. In common, windows are not a substantial variable in identifying the sale price tag of a property, except they are in exceptionally weak ailment. But concerning fiberglass and vinyl windows, fiberglass windows would command a bigger resale price if the customer were being to take into consideration windows.

Determining Factors

Equally vinyl-framed and fiberglass-framed windows are great products that may well be a greater decision than wood when it arrives time to choose new-building or substitute windows.

Vinyl has the benefit when expense is the main component. They work very well for affordable home remodels and for home flips. For the best physical appearance and power, fiberglass windows are the preferred alternative.


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