The Top 3 Questions When Deciding Between Vinyl and Fiberglass Windows

There is a great debate about the best type of windows to use when building a home. Some say that the best kind to use is vinyl windows. Others say that the best type of window to use is fiberglass.

The specific type of window to use for a certain project greatly depends on what the aim of the project is. If people are looking for to DIY their windows, vinyl is the definitely the better option. If they are looking to keep the windows as they are, then vinyl is the way to go.

At first glance, vinyl and fiberglass windows are just the same. However, they are significantly different from one another. They are different in terms of the materials they are made of as well as they hold up to natural wear and tear.

They also differ based on their strength and durability. Another key difference between fiberglass and vinyl widows is their cost and resale value.

Here are some questions to ask to determine whether to buy vinyl or fiberglass windows.

The Important Questions

The first question to ask is about the materials used in the production of the windows. The materials used in the production of these two kinds of windows are one of their key differences.

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The base material for vinyl windows is polyvinyl chloride, more commonly known as PVC. Metal may be added to this base material to add strength and durability.

Taking polyester resins and pushing them through a heated die produce fiberglass windows. A catalyst activates the polyester resin. Strands of glass are then added to the resin. The finished product is called a "lineal." The lineals are formed into different shapes and sizes.

In terms of colors and finishes, fiberglass provides a wider array of options. Vinyl windows come in a number of "baked in" colors as do fiberglass windows. Fiberglass windows have the upper hand because they can be painted.

Some fiberglass windows are constructed using a fiberglass base. Afterwards, they are wrapped with a wood veneer.

The next question to ask when deciding between windows is about the strength and durability of the windows.

Some claim that fiberglass windows are nine times stronger than their vinyl counterpart. It is important to note that windows provide little to no structural support for houses and other buildings.


This means that the ability of fiberglass windows to carry heavy weight is impressive, but not very meaningful. If the windows are framed properly, vinyl windows should work as well as fiberglass windows.

In terms of durability, vinyl and fiberglass windows should perform just about the same. Both types of windows are formed from inert materials. This means that they will not rot no matter how long they are used.

The only type of window that fails the durability test is the one made from wood. This is because wooden windows can rot. They can also house termites and other kinds of pests.

If there is really a need to be specific, fiberglass windows are a bit more durable compared to vinyl windows. Fiberglass windows are said to have a lifespan about 38% longer than vinyl windows.

Using fiberglass windows also present a lesser chance for seal failure. This is because fiberglass windows and the window panels themselves are both made of glass. This means that they will contract and expand at roughly the same rate.

In terms of their maintenance, both vinyl and fiberglass windows are easy to maintain. The two types of windows are fairly easy to clean.

The third and last question needed to be asked regards cost and real estate.

Fiberglass windows are more expensive compared to vinyl windows. Home improvement stores only sell new construction windows. These so called new construction windows are typically wood or vinyl windows.

Not only are vinyl windows cheaper, they are also more readily available. As previously stated, vinyl windows also lend themselves to DIY projects easier.

Homes that come with fiberglass windows are usually sold for more than homes that come with vinyl windows. The resale value of fiberglass windows is higher than that of vinyl windows.

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As for real estate, a homeowner should consider the glass space allowed by the windows as well as their insulation factor.

Vinyl windows provide less glass space compared to fiberglass windows. More material should be used for vinyl windows to be able to support large amounts of glass. Vinyl window frames are thicker than fiberglass window frames.

Fiberglass window frames are stronger than vinyl ones. This means that fiberglass window frame can hold larger panes of glass.

The insulation factor of both these types of windows are generally equal. Both vinyl and fiberglass windows have hollow cavities that can hold insulation material. This means that both can do a nice job in providing insulation for homes and other types of buildings.

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