Attention Homeowners: Here’s The Concise
Guide To Window Replacement Options
Over the years, we’ve had literally thousands and thousands of conversations with homeowners about window replacement. One thing that comes up again and again during these discussions is this: homeowners often feel overwhelmed by information and claims about window replacement.
To help you sort through information overload, we have put together a concise summary of the most common window replacement choices. Of course, the very best way to sort through options is to give us a call to schedule a free consultation. There is nothing like face-to-face interaction with an expert to get your questions answered thoroughly.
But read on first, and get your quick education on replacement windows.
Pros: Vinyl windows often – but not always – cost less. They also tend to be fairly low maintenance.
Cons: While vinyl windows often cost less up front, the long-term costs can be higher because they typically need to be replaced sooner. We have seen vinyl windows fail in as little as 5 years.
Vinyl windows expand and contract excessively with changes in temperature causing stress on the insulated glass units which can lead to premature glass seal failure.
Vinyl windows come in limited colors, typically only white and beige.
Also, vinyl windows don’t look as good as other options – we’ve heard homeowners describe them as “plastic-looking.” They are also subject to chalking and fading over time.
Bottom Line: Vinyl is the option for people who need a cheaper, quick solution and are not as concerned with long-term value.
Pros: Wood windows are beautiful and strong.
Cons: The biggest drawback to wood windows is maintenance. They need to be painted frequently. They are also more subject to rot, warping, and other degrading conditions than typical choices. Finally, in most cases wood windows are the most costly option.
Bottom Line: Wood windows can be an option if you don’t mind the extra time and expense of frequent maintenance. There is also a risk that if not maintained pristinely, they will be subject to quicker degradation.
Aluminum Clad Wood Windows
Pros: Wood windows clad with painted aluminum on the exterior can be beautiful and strong.
Cons: There is no proven way to bond the aluminum to the wood and these two materials expand and contract under different conditions. This can lead to separation, allowing water to get trapped under the aluminum and causing the wood to rot. Also, the painted aluminum finish can fade, scratch and the aluminum can corrode when installed in close proximity to the ocean. Finally, in most cases, aluminum clad wood windows are the most costly option.
Bottom Line: Aluminum clad wood windows can be an option if you don’t mind the risk of dry rot and refinishing the exterior painted finish. There is also a risk that if not maintained pristinely, they will be subject to quicker degradation.
Pros: Fiberglass is a strong material. Fiberglass windows look good, but only IF they are given the proper finish.
Cons: Fiberglass must be painted to provide a finished color and look. Unfortunately, this paint finish can be scratched and abraded by rubbing against another surface. Also, over time the paint can fade. Fiberglass windows rely upon mechanical joints at the corners that are sealed with caulk which can degrade over time. They are also higher priced than most vinyl windows.
Bottom Line: Fiberglass is a strong window, but often requires a paint finish which needs to be maintained. Not enough of an upgrade over vinyl options to be worth the additional cost.
Renewal by Andersen’s Fibrex Windows
Pros: Here is a list of the advantages of Fibrex® material:
- More than twice as strong as vinyl
- Capstock finish co-extruded onto window frame. It provides a permanent, durable surface that never needs painting and has superior resistance to scratching and abrasion.
- An elegant look that matches top quality homes
- Warranty from a 112+ year old company that covers both product and installation
- More colors to choose compared to other options
- Energy Efficient SmartSunTM Glass
- More glass viewing area than most vinyl windows
- Extremely low maintenance
- These windows won’t crack, pit, corrode, or rot*
Cons: Initial costs are more than typical vinyl windows.
Bottom Line: With Fibrex Windows, you DON’T have to choose between maintenance-free durability OR beauty, you can have both.
Want to continue your ‘replacement window education’? There is no better way than a face-to-face consultation to get all your questions answered. Contact Us to get started.