We sometimes get asked at BM Windows about fiberglass replacement windows, usually from a customer who has heard that they’re “better” than vinyl replacement windows. While it’s true that fiberglass windows have certain characteristics that could be considered better than vinyl windows, we want to explain why we don’t think they tip the scale in the favor of fiberglass (and why we’ve chosen not to sell them at our San Diego replacement window company).
It All Comes Down to Value
In our years of business, we’ve found that most people are looking for a good value when it comes to replacement windows and doors. Sure, some people are looking for the cheapest windows and doors they can find, and some are willing to shell out any amount of money for the products they perceive to be the best, but most just want the best products for their budget—whether that budget is big or small.
In our opinion, the extra money you would pay for windows with fiberglass frames is simply not worth it. While fiberglass windows are slightly more energy efficient than vinyl replacement windows, the energy savings aren’t enough to justify the added cost, which could be as much as 50% more.
Don’t Put Too Much Emphasis on Frame Strength
One of the “advantages” that manufacturers of fiberglass windows will tout in their marketing materials is the strength of fiberglass frames. While it’s true that fiberglass frames are stronger than vinyl frames, this doesn’t give the homeowner any sort of advantage.
Having a super strong frame sounds great, but when you consider that windows don’t provide any structural support to a home and don’t need to be able to support heavy loads, it becomes a moot point. It’s the framing around the window that provides the structural support—not the windows themselves. The only situation in which a stronger frame could matter is if you have a huge picture window and desire a very thin frame for aesthetic purposes. Other than that, vinyl frames are more than adequate for any home when it comes to strength.
Vinyl Replacement Windows Are More Readily Available in San Diego
If you’re someone who likes to shop around for the best price on products for your home, it might be difficult to do so with fiberglass windows. Not a lot of replacement window dealers in San Diego sell fiberglass windows, so your options are really limited. That is not true of vinyl replacement windows. There are numerous options of replacement window companies selling vinyl replacement windows in San Diego. You can choose from a small, local window dealer, a large national company, or even a big box store. You can easily get multiple quotes and compare your options to get the biggest bang for your buck.
Invest in an Upgraded Glazing System for Your Replacement Windows
While the frame is important to the overall energy efficiency of your windows, it’s not as important as the glazing system on your windows. As you know, windows and patio doors are made up mostly of glass, so upgrading your glass with a multi-layer solar reflective coating on the outside glass panel and a heat retention coating on the inside panel is a much better investment than paying more for a fiberglass frame. You’ll see.
When it really comes down to it, the extra cost for fiberglass frames is just not worth it, except in a few unique circumstances. One would be, as mentioned above, if you want large windows with thin frames, or if you want to be able to paint your frames. Fiberglass frames are paintable, while vinyl frames are not, but since more than 90% of homeowners want white window frames anyway, this isn’t an issue for most people. The energy savings associated with fiberglass over vinyl are not enough to justify a much higher price.
So what do we recommend? San Diego homeowners looking for the best windows for their money should go with high-quality vinyl windows with an upgraded glazing system that includes coated glass, a high-quality spacer, and Argon gas between the two panes of glass. Our preferred brand of vinyl replacement windows is Anlin Window Systems. Their products come with a double lifetime warranty and come standard with many of the features that San Diego homeowners are looking for.
We know there’s a lot to consider when you’re replacing your home’s windows. We’re here to help! We’ll walk you through the entire process. We’ll help you compare windows and find the best products for your budget. Contact us today to get started.