Fiberglass Replacement Windows

With the ability to accept many different frame color options, fiberglass repacement windows look fantastic in many interior settings.
With the ability to accept many different frame color options, fiberglass repacement windows look fantastic in many interior settings.

Fiberglass Replacement Windows: An Introduction

While still in the primary and replacement window and door business, one of the most frequently-asked questions I was asked dealt with the variety of replacement window options. At the time, there were primarily two: vinyl and wood replacement windows. It wasn’t until the last few years of my industry experience that fiberglass replacement windows were considered an option. The reasons were two-fold: manufacturing and cost. The bottom line why? The technology needed to produce quality fiberglass windows at an affordable cost was non-existent. Times have changed, however. And now, fiberglass replacement windows, even though still at the top of the replacement window cost per unit, are not only a viable option for many homeowners, but an option many energy-savvy consumers are choosing. For the remainder of this hub I will briefly discuss the various benefits of choosing fiberglass replacement windows over their competition. Let’s begin by mentioning a few of the reasons fiberglass windows, in the past, were not as widespread and accepted.

Before more modern and efficient manufacturing technology, fiberglass windows suffered from the following issues:

  • Concerns over strength and durability
  • Resistance to extreme weather conditions
  • The capability of integral frame construction
  • High cost of manufacturing and subsequent high market price

Fiberglass Replacement Windows: The Transformation

Now, with improved manufacturing techniques; such as pultrusion, or the process of pulling fiberglass frame components through a die as opposed to pushing them through under pressure (extrusion), fiberglass window components can be made with extreme precision, strength, and cost-effectiveness. The result of this process ends with an extremely durable fiberglass frame that can be shaped and fabricated into some of the most energy efficient windows on the market today.

In addition to strength, the fiberglass and epoxy resins comprising fiberglass window components are smooth and capable of accepting a wide variety of custom, color-through colors. This benefit alone sets fiberglass replacement windows apart from its primary competition, vinyl replacement windows; as vinyl cannot be painted with full integrity after installation.

Thus, due to the improvement in manufacturing techniques, better quality, increased strength and durability, and the ability to come in various colors, fiberglass windows have truly been transformed!

A warm example of color-through fiberglass replacement windows
A warm example of color-through fiberglass replacement windows
Greater strength allows for larger fiberglass window units
Greater strength allows for larger fiberglass window units
When it comes to strength coupled with energy efficiency there is no substitute to fiberglass
When it comes to strength coupled with energy efficiency there is no substitute to fiberglass

Fiberglass Replacement Windows: Benefits

Other benefits of fiberglass replacement windows include:

  • Fiberglass components are much stronger than wood or vinyl and can therefore be used to build much larger replacement window units
  • The price gap between fiberglass replacement windows and their nearest competition, wood and vinyl, is narrowing as more energy-savvy consumers are making the switch to fiberglass windows
  • Fiberglass has equal, if not better, insulating properties (R-factors) than wood due to the amount of insulating air "trapped" during the manufacturing process
  • Fiberglass replacement windows are maintenance free and stand up to the harshest of weather conditions due to their impermeability to moisture
  • Fiberglass, due to its primary components of glass fibers and resins, expands and contracts—along with weather changes—in a uniform manner; therefore allowing the frame to maintain its integrity in  function
  • Fiberglass replacement windows are more-tightly engineered and constructed resulting in lower overall air infiltration in extreme weather.
  • Unlike vinyl replacement windows, fiberglass replacement windows can be painted after installation. This is an enormous benefit if a homeowner so chooses.

FIberglass Replacement Windows: In Conclusion

Based on over 15 years of experience selling other types of primary and replacement windows, I feel fiberglass replacement windows, although a bit more expensive, are well worth the investment.

Energy efficient, strong, durable, attractive, available in various custom color options, and a narrowing cost gap are just a few factors contributing to the increase in popularity of fiberglass windows. So, if you're in the market for replacement windows, do yourself a favor and consider fiberglass replacement windows a primary option.

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Comments 9 comments

RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

Good info, thanks. What about fiberglass windows for new construction?


Rob Jundt profile image

Rob Jundt 6 years ago from Midwest USA Author

Fiberglass new construction windows are more than likely similar to the replacement product. The main difference between a replacement window and a primary, in my experience, is the overall frame depth. Check the structural and thermal ratings between the two if possible. They should be fairly close. Hope this helps.


Sylvie Strong profile image

Sylvie Strong 6 years ago

A very informative hub! The information about how fiberglass windows have evolved and now become a good option is first-rate.


Rob Jundt profile image

Rob Jundt 6 years ago from Midwest USA Author

Sylvie,

Back when I first got into the window business, fiberglass windows were more science fiction than reality. I did had an opportunity, however, to become one of the first wholesalers for a leading fiberglass window manufacturer. An opportunity I passed on unfortunately. Nevertheless, I'm no longer in the industry, but you never know what could have been ... Thanks for the kind comment!


John LaMotte 6 years ago

Where may a property owner purchse these to put in himself? I have only been able to locate through dealers who want $1,000/window for install--4-5 times costs of vinyl, 2 x cost of wood


Rob Jundt profile image

Rob Jundt 6 years ago from Midwest USA Author

John,

Fiberglass replacement windows can be difficult to purchase retail simply because the market is not as saturated like vinyl. My best advice would be to look for the best deal from a dealer and then try to locate an installer. There is little difference in the manner in which replacement windows are installed, and there are plenty of qualified people out there looking for work. All the luck and thanks for reading!


Anita 6 years ago

I'm with John. I've been looking for all-fiberglass brands and so far have only found Marvin. Do you have other manufacturors names to hunt down pricing? We have a great carpenter lined up. We need just need to order.

Really appreciate it!


Rob Jundt profile image

Rob Jundt 6 years ago from Midwest USA Author

Anita,

Marvin is a GREAT window company. They are on the pricey side, however. Since I've been out of the business for some time, I'm not sure who's left. I do know that Owens-Corning made fiberglass replacement windows. I hope the market opens up soon. With the amount of small to medium-sized manufacturers going belly-up due to the downturn in home construction, it would be nice to see a few survivors. Sorry I don't have a better answer. You might check your local NARI (National Assoc. of the Remodeling Industry) for input and recommendations. Thanks for viewing!

RJ


Matt 5 years ago

This is great. Need some info on fibre glass replacement windows suppliers in Cary?

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