Denver Homeowner’s Guide To Replacement Window Materials

Weighing The Pros & Cons Of Vinyl, Fiberglass, And Wood Windows

With all the different claims you hear about replacement windows, it can be tough to decide what will work best for you.

It’s common to wonder what windows are best for Denver area homes. Is it wood… or fiberglass… or vinyl?

We want to give you objective information so you can make a decision you’re comfortable with. Here’s a quick guide to replacement window materials:

Wood Windows

The big advantage of wood windows is that they are beautiful. But, unfortunately, they have many drawbacks.

If you want to keep them looking beautiful, you have to be prepared for quite a bit of maintenance. Not only that, but wood windows can rot, warp, or suffer insect infestation. Wood windows also expand and contract quite a bit, swelling in the summer and shrinking in the winter. That can make them alternatively hard to open or drafty.

Wood windows also have a high cost.

Summary of Wood: Wood windows are beautiful. But they do require very regular maintenance, are more likely to be infested or warp, and come with a higher price tag than most other windows.

Fiberglass Windows

Many fiberglass windows are attractive. And, in general, they are quality products. The question with fiberglass is whether they are any better or more attractive than high-quality vinyl windows - are they worth paying more for?

One claim you often hear about fiberglass is that they are strong windows. That’s true as far as the material goes, but it’s not really a particular advantage for a window – stronger does not mean more durable or that they last longer.

In fact, one drawback is that they might not be as strong where they need to be strong. Because fiberglass windows can’t be fusion-welded like vinyl windows can, they are fastened together with screws. This means their joints are not as airtight and watertight as fusion-welded vinyl windows.

Another potential drawback of fiberglass windows is that some require painting to give them a finished look. This can mean maintenance further down the line.

Summary of Fiberglass: Fiberglass replacement windows are more expensive than comparable options. Many fiberglass options are attractive, but not more beautiful or durable than high-quality vinyl options that cost less.

Low-Quality Vinyl Windows

Here is a problem with the word vinyl: it’s really referring to two different things. One kind of vinyl – recycled vinyl – is lower quality and inferior.

An easy way to spot low-quality vinyl windows is that they often have a “plastic look.” These windows lower the overall appeal of your home, are less energy-efficient, and often chalk and fade over time.

Summary of Low-Quality Vinyl: Avoid low-quality vinyl windows that are manufactured using recycled vinyl. The cheap prices will cost you more in the long run in energy costs and lower home value.

High-Quality Vinyl Windows

The other kind of vinyl is top-quality – the pure stuff that is used to create high-performing windows that are easy to maintain and are energy-efficient.

This high-quality vinyl adds to curb appeal, and does not have the “boxy, plastic” look low-quality vinyl windows do. There is more glass, and less vinyl frame, creating more viewing space and natural light.

Not only are these windows more affordable than fiberglass or wood, high-quality vinyl is also very durable. Vinyl – unlike wood – will not warp, rot or get infested with insects.

Summary of High-Quality Vinyl: High-quality vinyl windows get you a lot of bang for your buck. Besides being more affordable, they’re energy-efficient, durable, beautiful, and require almost no maintenance.

If you have more questions about the right window materials for you, give us a call. We’ll be happy to help.