When it comes time to replace your home’s windows, there’s a lot to think about. There’s the price of the project, the ROI, the contractor, timing, and more. However, the most important thing to think about is the window that you choose. Not all materials and designs are created equal, so it’s imperative that you do your own research, and find a solution that fits your specific needs.
Surveying the Options
The great thing about the replacement window market today is that homeowners have options. Some of the most common types include:
• Aluminum. Windows made from aluminum are considered extremely economical. These cost-effective replacement windows are durable and light, which makes installation a breeze. They also require minimal ongoing maintenance. One of the biggest disadvantages is that aluminum windows aren’t as energy efficient as other options.
• Vinyl. Another popular choice is vinyl. Vinyl windows never require painting or staining and are extremely energy efficient. Unfortunately, they require thicker frames and sashes, which reduces the overall amount of visible glass by a couple of inches. Also, stylistically, vinyl doesn’t fit naturally on many homes that previously had wood or aluminum windows.
• Wood. The two primary benefits of wood are energy efficiency and aesthetic appeal. Few materials look better than genuine wood, and the durability of the frame means top-notch insulation. However, wood frames need to be repainted frequently and are vulnerable to insects. Also, on top of the ongoing maintenance costs, wood frames generally cost more up front.
• Clad-wood. These windows are supposed to offer the best of both worlds – the look of real wood without the high cost, that is. However, clad-wood simply isn’t the same as a wood window. It may have a similar visual appeal, but don’t expect the same energy efficiency.
While there’s nothing wrong with aluminum, vinyl, wood, and clad-wood windows, take time to consider fiberglass replacement windows.
The Four Biggest Benefits of Fiberglass
If you truly want the best of both worlds, then it’s not clad-wood that you’re looking for. What you really need to be seeking out is fiberglass. Premium fiberglass replacement windows are the smart choice in many situations. Let’s analyze the benefits to see why this is true.
1. Life Expectancy
When installing replacement windows, one of the first things that you should ask about is life expectancy. After all, you want this to be the last time that replacement windows are needed.
While wood certainly has its advantages, longevity isn’t one of them. Wood windows, when properly maintained and sealed, will last roughly 15-20 years. If not properly cared for, it could be more like 10 or 12 years. Aluminum windows last much longer, likely 30-40 years in optimal conditions, but are still far from being a long-term or permanent solution.
Now, consider that fiberglass windows can last 80-plus years without any ongoing maintenance. In fact, it’s not unlikely to expect 90-plus years out of fiberglass. This means that you’ll never have to worry about replacing your windows ever again.
One of the biggest advantages of fiberglass is that it’s extremely energy efficient. In fact, it’s so energy efficient that many leading commercial buildings are using fiberglass windows in new construction. This is pretty good proof that it’s suitable for your home.
“They hold in heat, keep cold air out of your building and allow you to cut down on your energy bills immediately upon installation,” says Karlyn Knafo, a product developer for a window and door company. “Fiberglass frames offer minimal expansion and contraction as they reduce the likelihood of unit failure and caulking cracks and maintain superior performance in regards to air and water infiltration. Fiberglass frames also provide savings of about 20 to 40 per cent in heating, cooling and energy costs compared to other window frame materials.”
While you may not see savings of 40 percent in a residential home, you can certainly expect significant energy savings when you go with fiberglass over an alternative like aluminum.
However, it’s about more than shaving a few dollars off your monthly bill. When there’s better installation, you’ll feel more comfortable in each room of your home. Temperatures will be more consistent and won’t vary much from the setting on your thermostat. This means fewer hot flashes in the summer and less time curling up by the fireplace in the winter.
3. Strength and Durability
As mentioned, the life expectancy of fiberglass windows is roughly 80 years. The reason why these windows last so long is that they’re far more durable than the alternatives. Whereas wood rots and deteriorates, and aluminum can corrode, fiberglass stands up to the conditions.
One of the first things to know is that fiberglass is much more impact resistant than the alternatives. Whereas other materials deform under pressure, fiberglass distributes impact load to prevent surface damage. Furthermore, fiberglass is highly resistant to warping, rotting, twisting, shrinking, and cracking. While it’d be foolish to claim that these windows are invincible, it’s pretty easy to give fiberglass the unofficial “strongest window” award.
4. Design Flexibility
For all of the strength and durability that fiberglass has, these windows can easily be cut into just about any shape or design. This makes it an extremely flexible design choice for homeowners who have unique needs and desires. Fiberglass looks good on just about any structure, and you don’t have to worry about whether or not these windows will look out of place. Fiberglass is a homeowner’s dream.
Why John McCarter Construction?
There are many benefits to selecting fiberglass replacement windows, but make sure that you’re also choosing the right contractor. At John McCarter Construction, we specialize in fiberglass window replacements and take pride in our ability to provide professional and quality service to each and every one of our clients.
If you’re interested in replacing the windows in your home, then please contact us. We’d be happy to provide your family with a no obligation, no pressure quote today!