The Difference Between Vinyl, Fiberglass, Aluminum, Hybrid & Wood Windows
Knowing the difference between vinyl, fiberglass, aluminum, hybrid and wood windows will make a window replacement decision an easier one to make.
Vinyl windows, made of PVC, are one of the most popular for homeowners and the easiest to find and the least expensive. Virtually maintenance free, they are energy efficient, weather resistant and not as likely to rot or play host to invading insects. The downside is the few colors vinyl windows are available in can fade, but cannot be painted. They are, arguably, not the best window for sound control.
Usually the most expensive, wood windows require more maintenance. They need to painted and are more susceptible to rot and insect invasion. Wood windows are popular because the color can be changed to match any décor and they are best for sound proofing.
Aluminum windows are three times stronger than vinyl, making them more durable with little maintenance. With more mass than vinyl, aluminum is better for sound control. Aluminum isn’t as common in residential properties because of its conductivity and it will gain or lose heat quickly.
Fiberglass windows are made from glass fibers, and therefore, have a fire retardant quality lacking in vinyl or wood windows. They are stronger, causing them to expand and contract less with temperature fluctuations. Fiberglass can be painted, but on the flip side, it will need to be painted. It’s more expensive than vinyl, has less insulation but is still an energy efficient choice.
Hybrid windows are mixtures of any two of the above. The idea behind them is to give homeowners more choices and the goal is to get the best of both worlds. For example, a wood composite will have the thermal properties of wood combined with the weather resistance of vinyl.
Depending on whether price, durability or flexibility is most important to the homeowner, any of these window styles are viable options. Check into the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) for certification information prior to purchasing any style window.
Call NEO-DYNE, a Milwaukee Window Installer, for more information: