Comparing Different Window Materials

How to know which window type to choose?

Manhattan KS Vinyl Window Replacement

Vinyl or Wood Window?

These days there are several products available in Kansas to choose from for your window options. With all the information available on the internet combined with the all too common pushy salesperson, it can feel as though you need to be a rocket scientist to choose the best window fit for your home. Some may opt to stick with the traditional window selections they have always used, while others prefer the newest and shiniest window replacement option.

Below is a summary to assist you in contrasting some of the differences between a few of the existing alternatives. frame they conduct heat on a much higher level than other options, which means much more heat is lost in the winter and gained in the summer (as much as four times more than vinyl). They can consequently feel hot or cold to the touch and are predisposed to condensation. Aluminum windows are more applicable in warmer climates, where there is not much need for heating a home. And as we all know, our beautiful state of Kansas is a four season state!

Wood Windows

First off, you may recall many older windows being wood based windows. However, these are slowly losing their market dominance and being transitioned out. This is mainly due to the increased need for maintenance with wood windows, as they must be painted or stained regularly to keep their look and remain protected from natural elements and prevent rotting. Some manufacturers have addressed this by layering the wood with vinyl or aluminum, however this typically increases the cost substantially.

Aluminum Windows

Another option is aluminum windows, which are more durable than wood. However, with the metal frame they conduct heat on a much higher level than other options, which means much more heat is lost in the winter and gained in the summer (as much as four times more than vinyl). They can consequently feel hot or cold to the touch and are predisposed to condensation. Aluminum windows are more applicable in warmer climates, where there is not much need for heating a home. And as we all know, our beautiful state of Kansas is a four season state!

Fiberglass Windows 

A newer option is fiberglass windows. These windows are made from materials that require mechanical fasteners, which can lead to leaking through the corners of the windows.  While these are strong and many boast they do not change with the elements, this also means they do not adapt as the natural materials of your home adapt. When it comes to the cost of fiberglass windows in Kansas, they will almost universally be more expensive than their vinyl counterpart. Homeowners should expect a price tag of approximately 1.5x the cost of a quality vinyl for the same quality window. It is important to remember that windows provide no structural support, so the sheer ability to support heavy weights (which is the claim many fiberglass manufacturers and fiberglass salespeople use in order to sell you) is not all that meaningful. If the window opening is framed properly, fiberglass windows perform comparably to vinyl windows. With fiberglass windows, you end up paying for something you do not need!

There is a misconception which is important to sort out when choosing your window material. This is that most insulation for your home is made up of fiberglass, so typically many homeowners assume that a window frame made of fiberglass would be more energy efficient than a vinyl frame of similar quality. However, the reality is that the frame material itself is only a small portion of the *R-Value calculation of the entire window assembly.  Additionally, many vinyl windows are shaped with multiple chambers for trapped air and/or are often filled with a rigid or injected foam.  These processes tip the scale toward well-designed vinyl window frames, as they provide more total efficiency when compared to their fiberglass counterparts. A well-made vinyl frame with an Energy Star Qualified glass pack will most often be more energy efficient than the fiberglass option. Just as the quality of cell phones have improved over the years, so have vinyl windows. The claim that vinyl windows crack or warp is completely inaccurate when using a quality vinyl product.

Vinyl Windows

Vinyl windows are an option which provide a substantially lower energy cost (up to 4x as much as wood), keeping heat in during the winter and out during the summer, reducing total energy usage and costs. Along with lower energy costs, the windows themselves are also more cost efficient than other window options. In this case lower cost does not mean lower quality, rather they are durable and will not rust or corrode. Vinyl also provides the added benefit of being maintenance free. They are nearly 100% scratch free, never have to be painted, scraped, stained and are easily cleaned with soap and water. Because they are more resistant to the elements, they do not age as rapidly as other window options. There are several color, size, style options for vinyl and they can be custom made.

Contact Vanguard Home Designs

Regardless of which type of windows you are considering for your Manhattan area home, we invite you to contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation for replacing your windows and making your home more beautiful and efficient.