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Wood Vs. Vinyl vs. Fiberglass vs. Aluminum Windows (Comparison)

different types of windows

Windows are a vital part of your home’s exterior & interior decor. From providing aesthetic features to protecting your house from various weather conditions and lots more.

There are different kinds of windows, each with unique features to meet different needs.

We have asked many window replacement professionals like Ecoline Windows to share their insights and recent industry trends and provide expert opinions regarding this material.

So here is a comparison of different types of windows based on their cost, durability, and insulating properties to enable you to make the best choice suitable for your needs.

Wood Windows

Wood Windows

Wood windows are an ageless and classic piece of architecture often used to portray style and elegance by most homeowners.

To meet your aesthetic appeal, they can be made from different types of wood, such as maple, pine, and mahogany.

This makes it the most versatile and customizable type of window.

Wood has been in use for hundreds of years, but recently, it has become a less popular choice for windows owing to the production of more conventional window types.

Besides being aesthetically pleasing, wood windows offer one significant benefit to homes.

Wood is long known to be a natural insulator which makes it energy efficient. This means it can regulate your home’s temperature and keep your family comfortable all year round.

Its ability to retain heat lowers carbon emissions and keeps your energy costs low.

However, there are many limiting factors to using wood windows:

Price

Wood is the most expensive frame material. The high final quote stems from the initial high cost of manufacturing wood.

High maintenance

Naturally, wood is susceptible to damage from environmental conditions such as humidity and requires frequent maintenance such as painting, cleaning, etc.

However, adding finishes to wood protects it from harsh weather conditions and makes it resistant to wear and tear. When properly maintained, they can last for a long time.

Installation

When it comes to installing wood windows, it is not as easy as, for example, vinyl windows. Therefore, it requires the services of a professional.

Vinyl Windows

Vinyl Windows

Vinyl windows are made from a synthetic plastic called Polyvinyl Chloride.

This material is designed to resist moisture, humidity, and decay. It was produced as a substitute for wood windows which are susceptible to rot and warping if not properly maintained.

Vinyl windows have gained popularity over the years and are a common choice among homeowners for many reasons:

Cost Effective

It is much more affordable than the other kinds of windows. So, you don’t have to spend a fortune installing vinyl units.

Easy installation

Unlike wood and fibreglass windows, there’s no technicality required in installing this kind of window. With the right tools, even a DIYer can install it.

Excellent Energy Efficiency

Just like wood windows, vinyl windows have great insulating properties. This is attributed to the high R-value of PVC, making it a great energy-efficient type of window.

Durability

Because of its material, vinyl windows have exceptional durability and can last up to 30 years.

It is resistant to pest attacks and is also not affected by weather conditions. This makes it a good choice for a long-term plan.

Low-Maintenance

Unlike wood windows, vinyl units often require little or no maintenance. Simple cleaning is all that is needed to keep it looking brand new.

Fibreglass Windows

Fibreglass Windows

Stronger than vinyl and more affordable than wood, fibreglass windows are increasing in popularity for their strength, low maintenance, and long-lasting durability.

Fibreglass windows are made of glass fibre and resins. This makes it ideal for tall buildings as they can withstand extreme weather conditions such as high wind loads and high temperatures.

Although similar to vinyl in many ways, they offer unique advantages.

Insulation

Although vinyl is a good insulator, fibreglass performs better and is more energy-efficient.

Also, the glass base makes it a good insulator against sounds. So, if you live in a noisy area, this window type may be the best option to consider.

Durability

They are not susceptible to rot and decay from moisture and are resistant to pests’ attacks. Generally, it is more durable than vinyl, wood, and aluminum windows.

Cost

Installing fibreglass windows is higher than installing vinyl and aluminum windows. However, it’s cheaper to install than wood windows.

Installation

Unlike Vinyl windows, proper care is required when installing fibreglass windows. So, it’s best to let a professional do the job.

Maintenance

Just like vinyl, it requires little to no maintenance.

Aluminum Windows

Aluminum Windows

Aluminum windows have been a popular choice for modern houses over the years. They are known for their great strength and durability.

Also, aluminum window designs are appealing, especially when anodized – a process similar to applying finishes on wood. This protects it from corrosion.

A significant disadvantage of aluminum windows is that it’s a poor insulator and not a good option for cold climatic conditions.

However, technological improvements have been made to solve the issue of insulation with this type of window.

Below is how it compares with other window types.

Cost

Although more costly than vinyl windows, it is considerably cheaper than wood and fibreglass windows.

Installation

Aluminum windows are lightweight and flexible; this makes them easy to install. Also, the flexibility makes it a good option for windows with irregular shapes.

Insulation

When enhanced with thermal break technology, aluminum windows can offer excellent insulation to your home and reduce your energy cost.

Low maintenance

Similar to vinyl and fibreglass, aluminum windows require less maintenance than wood windows.

Durability

These units are considered stronger than wood, vinyl, and fibreglass windows, especially when anodized.

Wood vs. Vinyl vs. Fiberglass vs. Aluminum Windows: Prices Breakdown

The price tag is one of the most significant aspects influencing homeowners’ choices regarding window types.

But you have to understand that it is impossible to provide you with a precise quote based on frame choice only.

Since your new windows have much more customization features that must be taken into account: glazing, hardware, painting, size, style, and configuration, etc.

However, the table below offers the approximate price ranges for the popular window types discussed above, considering the basic configuration for a casement window.

MaterialApproximate Price Range Per Unit, $
Wood825 – 1300
Vinyl565 – 920
Fibreglass700 – 1000
Aluminum600 – 950

Conclusion

Each window type has distinct features, although they share some similarities. Knowing these features is essential to help you make a well-informed decision.

All in all, the most crucial factor to consider here is your home’s overall thermal performance, the region you live in and the exterior of your house.

If you do not want to break the bank but still want to take up a home renovation project such as window replacement, installing vinyl windows is the best middle ground.

The units are energy-efficient, affordable, great looking and require almost no maintenance, making them the most frequent choice among homeowners.

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