Home Home & Design Homes Windows Replacement: Comparing Vinyl And Fiberglass Windows

Windows are important fixtures that make a building complete. They have invaluable uses that include ventilating the house, lighting, and complementing a design. Having these in mind, you can definitely know what to look for in a window when considering windows replacement.


Windows made from vinyl or fiberglass are a popular choice among homeowners. However, each material has characteristics that make it different from the other and according to Total Home Windows and Doors, understanding the features of each of these window materials  will enable a homeowner to go for the right fit during windows replacement. Some of the most outstanding differences include:

  • Appearance

The difference in appearance of these windows is noted on the frames. When you are a bit far from the two, it is hard to note the difference, but you see the difference when you get near. The corners of vinyl windows have a conspicuous line, while those of fiberglass windows are continuous. Fiberglass windows look livelier while those made from vinyl look plain.

When looking at design options for your windows replacement, fiberglass has several, while vinyl is limited to a few colors. However, since vinyl cannot be painted, it means fiberglass can easily peel and fade.

  • Installation

Vinyl window replacement is faster and easier than installing fiberglass windows. Vinyl can expand and contract, and windows made from it are often given a 1/8 inch allowance for expansion and contraction. So, when fixing the allowance, allow the window to fit perfectly.

But, fiberglass does not expand nor contract. This characteristic can take a lot of time to get the correct fitting to an already existing window.

  • Costs 

Windows made from the two materials have a significant cost difference. Vinyl is incredibly cheap, while fiberglass is relatively expensive. Vinyl costs around $520 and $730 for a window that is 48 inches. Installation for this size of vinyl window is $250. The entire process costs you between $770 and $980 per window.

The same size of fiberglass window costs between $572 and $1693. Installation price is also higher than that of vinyl and goes for $300. The total cost for installing a fiberglass window is between $872 and $1993. So, if you are operating with a shoestring budget, you would want to opt for vinyl windows  for your windows replacement project.

  • Strength and Durability

Fiberglass is more durable and stronger than vinyl, which explains the cost difference. While vinyl can last approximately 30 years, fiberglass has 50 years plus lifespan. 

The two materials are made using plastic. But, fiberglass is made stronger by reinforcing it with glass fibers. It adds more glass to the frame, making it more aesthetic than vinyl. Additionally, this technique applied to fiberglass makes it withstand high temperatures, up to 165 degrees. But, when vinyl is subjected to such, its integrity becomes compromised.

  • Energy-Efficiency 

Since fiberglass does not expand and contract like vinyl, it has better insulation properties than vinyl. When comparing both materials’ energy-efficiency, fiberglass is 15% better and therefore the best for your window replacement.

  • Noise Insulation

Glass fibers added on the fiberglass windows to enhance durability also provide insulation from noise. If you live in a busy environment, you can consider using fiberglass because it is among the best noise insulation materials.

Vinyl does not offer such insulation, making it a poor material when looking for windows that can help blur noise from the outside.

  • Maintenance 

Both materials do not require expensive maintenance. Since fiberglass is paintable, it can peel and fade with time, requiring fresh paint to be applied. Since vinyl warp, when exposed to extreme temperature, it may need caulking to enhance its insulation with time.

  • Environmental Concerns

When looking for a green option, fiberglass is your best match. Since it provides better insulation than vinyl, it is 30% more efficient than vinyl. It is also recyclable compared to vinyl, which can only be disposed after becoming damaged beyond repair.

  • Resale Value

Because vinyl windows have been in the market for some time, they are considered to have a 74% return on investment after windows replacement. On the other hand, fiberglass is relatively new in the market and does not have a substantial percentage for its return.

Replacement windows are generally a good investment in homes because they raise their value by 70%.