When it comes to getting new windows, you have a critical decision to make — what type of replacement windows are best for your home? Modern window options include materials like aluminum, wood, vinyl and fiberglass, so picking the right one may seem overwhelming.
If it’s your first time getting replacement windows or it’s been a while, it helps to compare the materials to make the best choice. That’s why we created this guide to explain the benefits and disadvantages of different window materials. Discover the differences between aluminum, wood, vinyl and fiberglass windows with the pros and cons below.
Aluminum windows are lightweight options that have become more popular with modern advances. Aluminum windows from decades ago created drafts and weren’t the best material for window frames. Today’s improvements have made aluminum windows somewhat better, but they still come with cons. Discover the advantages and disadvantages of the material below.
Homeowners in certain climates consider aluminum windows because of their style and benefits. The advantages of aluminum windows include the following.
- Little maintenance: You won’t need to perform as much upkeep with your aluminum windows as you would other materials. But that’ll depend on the conditions your windows experience.
- Strength: Aluminum windows can come in styles with thinner frames and larger windows, thanks to the material’s strength. That makes it suitable for modern homes, and it creates a more durable window design.
- No warping: Aluminum provides a window material that won’t warp over time. It helps create a better seal and contributes to both its strength and low-maintenance design.
The main cons of aluminum windows have to do with its weatherproofing abilities, which isn’t ideal in a window material. There are other cons to the material, as well, which you’ll want to factor into your window decision. The disadvantages of aluminum windows involve the following.
- High price: With the pros of aluminum windows comes the con of a high cost. While it’s not the most expensive window material, it is often costlier.
- Corrosion: While aluminum doesn’t rust, it is prone to corrosion. Corrosion-resistant paint will help, but other materials may be the better choice if you live anywhere coastal or in a wet climate.
- Poor insulator: No matter the weather where you live, aluminum isn’t an ideal choice if your goal is shrinking your carbon footprint. It insulates your home poorly, which lets in extreme temperatures and reduces your home’s energy efficiency. Some manufacturers create efficient aluminum windows with insulation foam inside. But other options would be a better choice given the material’s price.
Fiberglass is a relatively new material in the window world. It’s a stiff and lightweight product made of glass fiber-reinforced plastic. Compare the pros and cons to decide if fiberglass windows would suit your home.
Modern materials have advantages over traditional ones in durability. That’s true for this material, as the benefits of fiberglass windows include the following.
- A better seal: Fiberglass windows are more resistant to warping than other materials. That means you get a better seal with your window, which helps your home’s energy efficiency.
- Durability: Fiberglass has a reputation as a durable material, making it an excellent choice for windows. With the durability of fiberglass windows also comes a long lifespan under specific conditions and with proper care.
- Appearance: Some manufacturers make fiberglass windows that mimic the look of wood. That combines qualities of both materials, though many homeowners prefer the genuine product.
While fiberglass may sound like an ideal choice, remember there are disadvantages to the material. You could have to deal with these cons of fiberglass windows.
- Higher price: You can get similar pros to fiberglass windows with other materials, like vinyl. Those come at a lower cost than fiberglass, meaning this material isn’t the best for a homeowner on a budget.
- Less customization: Other materials allow for a variety of shapes, styles and colors. You won’t get that much customizability with fiberglass windows.
- Sensitivity to sunlight: Ultraviolet rays from the sun pose a threat to fiberglass resin. While manufacturers may apply a coating to protect your windows from the sun, it will need to be thick to prevent damage.
Wood has been a window building material for centuries, and for good reasons. It makes an excellent window structure that homeowners have consistently appreciated over the decades. Still, you should compare the pros and cons of wood windows to make the best decision for your home.
Wood windows provide benefits across appearance and quality, making the material a popular choice. The advantages of wood windows are as follows.
- Style: When homeowners select wood windows, they do so primarily for the look. A beautiful and natural style is one of the most attractive benefits of wood windows. Wood windows are also flexible in terms of appearance. You can paint or stain them to match your home, and manufacturers craft different styles and shapes.
- Longevity: With proper care, some wood windows can last for decades longer than other materials. That’s why it has been around for so many generations.
- Energy efficiency: Wood is an excellent insulator. It will help maintain your home’s heat or cooling, depending on the time of year. That makes your home more energy-efficient in any season.
Of course, you do need to carefully consider any potential drawbacks that come with this product. Wood windows may come with these disadvantages.
- Rotting over time: On its own, wood is not a water-resistant material, which means it could rot over time. Luckily, preventive maintenance helps preserve your windows. Paint or stain them as necessary to protect the material and prevent rotting. Modern wood windows use features like extruded aluminum exteriors to avoid rot, as well.
- Warping over time: Wood contracts and expands with changes in weather. That could impact not only the look of your wood window, but also its function. Modern wood windows feature glazing or venting systems to prevent moisture and water from damaging the material.
- Higher price: Compared to other materials, wood windows can be more expensive. That doesn’t mean, however, you shouldn’t consider them for your home. Some homeowners feel the natural look and other pros of wood windows are worth the price tag. And because they can last for decades, you could consider wood windows an investment.
Vinyl is a plastic-like material that typically comes in white, but you’ll find it in various color options. Thanks to the advantages of vinyl windows, they’re becoming an increasingly popular choice for homeowners. Their popularity means vinyl windows will be easy to find, so be sure to consider them for your home. Compare the pros and cons of vinyl windows below to help you decide.
Vinyl windows have become a common choice for homeowners for a reason. Along with being a more affordable material, vinyl windows have these advantages.
- No rotting or warping: Reduce your window maintenance with the benefits of vinyl windows. The material is better at resisting moisture than others, and as a result, it doesn’t rot or warp.
- Energy efficiency: Vinyl provides an airtight and watertight seal to maintain your home’s temperature. That means you get improved energy efficiency year-round, whether you’re heating or cooling your house.
- Cost-effective: Unlike other window materials, vinyl is ideal for homeowners on a budget. Even with a lower price, vinyl still delivers a quality seal for your windows.
While there are cons of vinyl windows, you can get around most of them by finding a quality manufacturer. Disadvantages of vinyl may include the following.
- Poor qualities: Vinyl is an affordable material, but that means some manufacturers might cut corners. Choose a trusted supplier to get windows that are resistant to sunlight and have high-quality construction.
- Limited sizes: Vinyl is a slightly weaker material than others. This factor means it may be harder to find large vinyl windows because the material can’t support a heavier glass pane.
- It doesn’t take well to paint: Unlike other materials, you won’t be able to paint vinyl to match your home. Some manufacturers can customize vinyl windows as you order them and may offer different colors.
How to Choose the Best Type of Window for Your Home
With all the advantages and disadvantages of those materials in mind, it can be tough to pick the right one. So what is the best material for window frames in your home? That will depend on these factors.
- Your budget: To pick the best windows for your home, keep your budget in mind and compare prices. For instance, you may want to know — are wood or vinyl windows more expensive? Wood tends to cost more due to the material, but your specific budget will let you know whether it’s still the right choice.
- The weather: Windows keep out rain, wind, cold and heat. Select the best window for your home based on the climate where you live. You’ll want a durable material that provides an energy-efficient seal no matter what. But consider different windows’ abilities to protect you and your home from sunlight or rain based on the climate.
- Your home’s style: The look of your home’s exterior will determine what type of windows you select. And that’s not only about the shape and style. The window material will factor into your home’s appearance, as well. Homeowners with older constructions often select wood windows to preserve the traditional feel of their home. Modern styles suit vinyl or other materials.
Contact Wize Home Direct for All Your Window Needs
Have an idea of which material is right for your windows? Do you still need help deciding? We at Wize Home Direct are here for you! We provide homeowners in North Carolina with windows certified through Keystone Certifications and backed by a Good Housekeeping limited warranty. Our wood and vinyl windows offer the high-quality protection your home needs from the elements. We even offer an array of styles to suit your home.
Contact us at Wize Home Direct today to learn more about our windows and installation services.