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Window Material Options and 5 Key Considerations

posted on March 04, 2020 in Global Blogs

White frame wood, fiberglass and vinyl windows side-by-side collage

Deciding which window material is the right fit for your space is not an easy decision, whether you’re looking to replace existing windows or tackle a whole new project. It’s important to take into account what each type of window can offer in terms of function, style, features and cost savings.

Here is an overview of some of the most common window materials — wood, fiberglass and vinyl — and some key considerations when determining which material is best for you.

Modern tall wood windows dark frame and white walls in home

Wood Replacement Windows

Wood replacement windows give your space a more natural look. You can stain wood frames to match the decor in your home or paint them to give your space a dash of color. In addition, wood windows are well-insulated and help maintain a comfortable indoor temperature, year-round.

When selecting wood windows it’s important that you factor in the quality of wood and make sure that they are treated to prevent moisture damage and stains from mold and mildew. Painting or staining your wooden window frames can help protect them from humidity and insects.

Wood windows also provide more design options than other types of windows. Each type of wood has its own personality and there is a large variety of paint color options and hardware selections available. Wood replacement windows can add a luxurious feel to your property and enhance its curb appeal.

Fiberglass sliding windows dark frame and white walls in kitchen above counter

Fiberglass Replacement Windows

Fiberglass replacement windows require less maintenance than their wooden counterparts while still retaining the quality look of painted wood. If you need strength and durability, fiberglass windows are a good option. They are built to withstand extreme heat and subzero temperatures.

Pella’s Impervia fiberglass windows use a long-lasting, powder-coat paint finish. They are some of the strongest, most durable windows available and also allow more light into your space.

Fiberglass windows are a great all-around solution for those looking to balance visual appeal, quality, durability and energy efficiency. As an added bonus, fiberglass replacement windows are less likely to take damage during installation than other composite windows.

Vinyl windows white frame and gray wall in living room setting

Vinyl Replacement Windows

Vinyl replacement windows are an affordable and functional option for any space. They don’t require painting, staining or refinishing. This makes vinyl windows relatively easy to maintain.

If you are looking to save money on energy bills, vinyl windows are among the most energy-efficient of all window types. Vinyl window frames have the insulating quality of wood and come with the added option of foam insulation, which can help reduce heat loss.

Vinyl windows are also an outstanding choice for louder environments, where you need to block out noise. The frames are durable and have excellent impact resistance.

Vinyl replacement windows are a cost-effective upgrade option for your property.

Tan frame wood, white frame fiberglass and dark frame vinyl windows lined up side-by-side?

5 Window Material Considerations

Now that you know some of the strengths of each type of window material, there are a few key factors you should consider when assessing which option is the right fit for your space or project.

1. Appearance: What sort of look are you going for in your space? Wood replacement windows are versatile in design and provide lots of color options. They also give off a high-end feel and can add a sense of luxury to your home. Alternatively, fiberglass and vinyl windows allow for dual-color frames that feature a white interior paired with a variety of exterior color options.

2. Maintenance: Are you the type of person who enjoys household chores? Or would you rather spend less time worrying about upkeep? Vinyl and fiberglass replacement windows are easy to care for and hold up well in all types of climates. Wood windows require more maintenance.

3. Price: Vinyl replacement windows tend to be competitively priced and provide long-lasting performance. Fiberglass windows are typically more expensive than vinyl offerings. Wood windows vary in price but often tend to be more expensive than vinyl or fiberglass.

4. Durability: Fiberglass replacement windows are perhaps the strongest option available, known for their resistance to extreme temperature and also for their durability. Vinyl windows can be reinforced with interlocking sashes. Pella’s wood windows come with a limited lifetime warranty.

5. Energy Efficiency: Pella’s 250 Series of vinyl windows are among our most energy-efficient products. Air chambers inside the vinyl reduce heat loss and sound transmission. Fiberglass and wood windows are also very energy efficient. Pella offers a number of window glass options to choose from in order to help increase energy efficiency across all window types.

What Is the Best Material for Window Frames?

Wood, fiberglass and vinyl windows excel in different areas and the final decision on which option is best for your space is a mix of personal preference and environmental factors. If you need more assistance in reaching your decision or are ready to take the next step, your local Pella representative can help you find the window material and options that are right for you.

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*Study of homeowner perceptions of leading national brands. Study commissioned by Pella, 2021.