Towards the high end of the replacement window market is the option of fiberglass windows. Fiberglass is a structural material recently adopted into the replacement window industry and has become quite popular. Some of the properties that make fiberglass a superior alternative to simple wood, or vinyl frames are its stability, efficiency and durability. Perhaps this is why it is priced higher than the other options.
The reasons why you should go for fiberglass windows are:
Fiberglass windows do not warp
Fiberglass expands and contracts (with increase and decrease in temperature respectively) at almost the same rate as glass, and hence the window does not change shape with change in ambient temperature. In contrast, aluminum and wood expands / contracts at 3 times and 7 times the rate of glass respectively, and thus, the windows get bent (and ‘bow’-ed outwards) when the temperature changes significantly. As fiberglass windows remain ‘square’ at all times, it endures, less air leakage and less stress of the locks on the windows.
Fiberglass windows are energy efficient
Fiberglass is an insulating material – thus it keeps the temperature difference between the interior and the exterior of the house constant to a fair degree. This means that the house, overall, becomes more energy efficient in terms of energy consumed to heat or cool the house as required.
Fiberglass windows are more durable
As these windows do not bend or warp with changing temperatures, they undergo lesser stress the year round, and thus they are longer lasting and more durable. This is an immense advantage over wood, which has chances of rotting or warping; and vinyl, which has chances of shrinking or cracking.
Apart from these basic, fundamental advantages, fiberglass windows have a host of other plus points that are worth noting. They are chemically inert, thereby making them resistant to dust, rain and pollutants in the atmosphere. This type of windows is also rot resistant, unlike wooden windows, where rotting is a serious problem that has to be taken care of at regular intervals. Also, fiberglass windows can be painted over, and have a low environmental impact. This is because fiberglass windows constitute primarily of glass, which can be recycled repeatedly, making these windows ‘planet earth friendly’.
However, there might be a few possible drawbacks of installing fiberglass windows in your home. First, fiberglass windows might turn out to be heavier than vinyl windows, making them harder to clean and maintain. Also, fiberglass windows are more expensive than wood or vinyl windows, making them out of reach for many people.
The decision of whether or not you choose fiberglass lies with you and you have to decide it taking in to account the background of your house. Some important factors that you might consider while making this decision are – if the difference in the extreme temperatures (i.e. highest and lowest) of the year in your city is not that large then fiberglass does not give any added advantage. Also, think about how often you need to heat / cool your house – and how much it is going to cost you to get fiberglass windows than wood or vinyl ones. The offset price should give you an idea of how much you should ideally be saving on energy by using fiberglass. If fiberglass cannot deliver that much savings, you can ditch the idea.