Skip to Content
Blog
Vinyl, Fiberglass or Wood? Which Window Material is Best for your Home?

Vinyl, Fiberglass or Wood? Which Window Material is Best for your Home?

When deciding on the perfect replacement window for your home, there are many features to review. From style to price to function, the options available for windows can seem confusing.

Some customers decide that a window complementing their space’s architectural or interior design is their top priority. Others place more emphasis on the window’s features, including energy efficiency. The type of glass may also play a role in the decision.

However, a common area homeowners might not have considered when planning to add new windows is the kind of material used in a window frame and sash.

Vinyl, fiberglass and wood are the three most commonly used materials in frames and sashes. Each material type has unique advantages and disadvantages. Homeowners would do well to factor them into their decision when it comes time to get a new or replacement home window. Here are important points to consider about different window materials:

Vinyl Windows

The most cost-effective of window materials, vinyl windows present flexible style choices that include many of the same features available in more expensive windows.

Pros: 
  • Energy Efficient
  • While almost all modern windows put a strong focus on energy efficiency, vinyl windows contain some of the toughest guards against gaps and leaks in window frames. Since they are made from a synthetic material, vinyl windows can be easily welded at the seams and many vinyl windows feature steel-reinforced interlocking window sashes to increase energy efficiency and provide added wind resistance.

  • Design Flexibility

    Vinyl windows provide a wide variety of options so you can find a window that fits your home’s design. Instead of staining or treating the frame, vinyl frames are crafted in the color you prefer when they’re constructed at the factory. That means a lower possibility of fading, chipping or peeling paint. 

  • Low Maintenance

    With vinyl windows, you don’t have to do much once they’re installed. Just keep them clean! Normally a basic garden hose, soft cloth and, if necessary, non-abrasive cleansers will do the trick.

Cons
  • Perceived Quality

    Because of its less expensive price compared to other material types, many might think vinyl windows aren’t built to stand the test of time. But durability is paramount when it comes to Pella vinyl windows. Pella tests their vinyl windows intensely. Window designs face laboratory cycle testing. During the test, the window’s function is operated thousands of times to test durability on everything from the window hardware to the frame structure. Then, tests dealing with air, water and thermal factors make sure that vinyl frames can fight weather challenges while keeping your home pleasant. It all makes for a window that is robust and sturdy, with fade resistance and stylish exterior colors.

  • Environmental Impact

    There’s no way around it. Vinyl windows are not made from natural materials. Throughout their existence, vinyl windows have come under criticism over the chemical composition of the vinyl material used in frame construction. But vinyl window creation has come a long way in recent years. Windows such as Pella’s 350 Series, 250 Series and Encompass by Pella consist of frames made from advanced polymers that are performance-tested for top-of-the-line weathering and durability that keeps families safe and healthy.

Fiberglass Windows

Fiberglass windows bring a stronger selection than vinyl windows, and don’t expand or contract when conducting heat and cold.

Pros
  • Increased Energy Efficiency

    Fiberglass windows can provide significant improvements in energy efficiency in contrast to vinyl windows. Pella’s Impervia fiberglass windows include energy-efficient options that meet or exceed ENERGY STAR® guidelines in all 50 states*. With the addition of foam-insulated frames, Impervia can provide even stronger protection against extreme elements. 

  • Composite Strength

    Some of the increased energy efficiency in fiberglass windows is due to composite materials used in the frame’s construction. As the name “fiberglass” indicates, glass has long been a part of fiberglass window frames. But recently engineered composites, such as Pella’s Duracast® material, don’t rely on the old glass particles, layering materials to establish even more strength.

  • Color and Texture Options

    From a collection of colors to finishes that give the look of real wood, fiberglass windows offer choices that fit any home’s style. Finishes can be baked into the frame at the factory to add colors that may endure for years. Fiberglass windows can also include a resilient powder-coat finish that creates windows with a texture that has the appearance of real wood grain.

Cons
  • Cost 

    While they offer a more cost-effective way to get the look of wood windows into your home, fiberglass windows are more expensive than vinyl windows. That makes them a much longer-term investment the beauty of your home. But the positive effect on your curb appeal will helps if you’re looking to sell your home down the road.

  • Not Quite Traditional

    For some houses, only wood will fit. Even with improvements in finishing techniques and the flexibility to be painted, fiberglass frames will likely not meet the needs of homeowners looking to show off a traditional or historic look in their home. Particularly when looking to match natural wood grain, fiberglass windows are not an ideal choice.

Wood Windows

For those with older, more traditional homes, there’s no substitute for wood-framed windows. There are several things to like about frames made from wood.

Pros
  • Classic and Contemporary Style 

    Genuine wood has a natural look and feel that is unlike any other sort of material. From classic dark woods, like mahogany and maple, to lighter woods, like oak, pine and cherry wood, an array of options can highlight the look of any home. It isn’t just older, traditional homes that benefit from the look of wood windows. Sleek and contemporary black wood window frames are one of the hottest trends in interior design at the moment.

  • A Natural Insulator

    Wood frames help retain warmth in a home far better than almost any other kind of window. That can help homes stay cozy in the winter and protected from the heat in the summer and can save you money on utility bills any time of the year.

  • Protection from Sound and Weather

    Wood-framed windows provide the thickest, most dense material for window frames. The strength of wood also offers increased defense against outside noise, as thicker wood will block out more outdoor noise than other kind of window frames.

Cons
  • Cost

    Top-of-the-line materials come with exceptional prices. Wood frames usually have a more expensive initial cost than vinyl or fiberglass options. However, know that properly maintained wood frames can last notably longer than most other frames. They also bring a tremendous asses to home resale value. And for homeowners who must match their home’s traditional style, the benefits of wood frames are unmatched.

  • Need for Treatment

    Wood window frames may suffer from damage if left untreated. That’s why it’s important to be certain that wood replacement windows come treated prior to installation. All of Pella’s wood windows feature EnduraGuard® wood protection, an advanced formula that protects against the effects of moisture. EnduraGuard helps ensure enhanced protection from the impact from moisture, decay, termites, mold and mildew on every exterior wood surface of our windows.

No matter which material you select, replacement windows can help increase a home’s energy efficiency and curb appeal. Ready to begin down the road to beautiful windows for your home? Chat with the professionals at Pella of Jackson. They’ll help you select the windows that best suit your needs, style and budget.

 
*Some Pella products may not meet ENERGY STAR® guidelines in Canada. For more information, contact your local Pella sales representative. 
Back to Blog