When it’s time for new windows, for homeowners who want modern looks without constant upkeep, the options narrow down to two winners: vinyl and fiberglass. Both are popular—but for different reasons.
As you consider your window replacement, it’s a good idea to get clear on what you want most from this vital home renovation project. And keep in mind—homeowners in the Chicago area have great reasons to consider investing in fiberglass windows. Let’s look at why that’s the case.
A Closer Look at Vinyl Windows
When we talk about vinyl windows, what we mean is the material the frames are made from. Vinyl window frames are constructed of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a kind of plastic.
A big reason homeowners consider vinyl is its cost—which can be anywhere between 10-30% less than fiberglass or wood. These windows are especially popular if you’re trying to keep costs down on a rental property, or if you’re a first-time homebuyer who wants quick, easy upgrades.
But there are compromises that you’ll make when you choose vinyl windows, which we’ll get into below.
A Closer Look at Fiberglass Windows
Fiberglass windows are made from glass that has been melted, then stretched into very fine fibers. The fibers are then woven together with resins to create a highly durable, resilient frame.
Homeowners appreciate fiberglass for its beauty and appearance—these windows tend to look more polished and streamlined than vinyl. And fiberglass is also prized for its ability to withstand weather and wear better than vinyl, as it retains its appearance over time.
Before we go on to look at more of fiberglass’s benefits, let’s consider what both materials bring to the table. After all, there are good reasons vinyl and fiberglass are both preferred to wood these days.
What Vinyl and Fiberglass Have in Common
Both vinyl and fiberglass windows outperform their counterpart, wood, when it comes to durability. As a natural substance, wood easily rots and is susceptible to pests. As manmade materials, both fiberglass and vinyl last longer, are lower in maintenance needs, do better at resisting moisture damage, and don’t appeal to termites, carpenter ants or woodpeckers. They’re also less likely to burn in a fire.
Now that we have shared those similarities, let’s consider how fiberglass windows outshine vinyl—especially when we’re talking about Marvin windows.
Winning Features of Marvin Fiberglass Windows
What do Marvin fiberglass windows provide to your home that vinyl can’t deliver? As it turns out, there are a lot of reasons to choose fiberglass instead of vinyl as you decide which windows to install.
Better Views Due to the Frame-to-Pane Ratio
Because of how each type of window is made, fiberglass can be crafted into a thinner frame. This means two things:
First, you get a leaner profile for the window. Fiberglass frames simply look less bulky than vinyl—they’re sleeker, and homeowners tend to like that.
Second, if you compare two windows of the same size—one vinyl, the other fiberglass—what you’ll see is that with fiberglass’s thinner frame, you’ve got more room for the windowpane itself. You get “more glass”, so to speak—which gives you a better view outside. There’s less frame standing in the way of what you can see.
Of course, a more expansive glass pane also means you get more sunlight in the room—an added benefit.
As a rule, fiberglass is more durable than vinyl. While vinyl can be easily dented when struck by hail, branches, and rocks propelled by your lawn mower during your normal yard work, fiberglass is more resilient.
Marvin fiberglass windows in particular stand out in this arena. Marvin’s Ultrex fiberglass is crafted to be 8 times stronger than vinyl. The result is that your Marvin windows will stand the tests of time better than vinyl, hands down.
Retains Its Shape Better
Most homeowners know that wood tends to expand and contract with changes in weather—but did you know that vinyl also expands and contracts? The fact is, vinyl is quite prone to warping and cracking over time, particularly with exposure to UV rays that wear it down.
Fiberglass, on the other hand, is a lot more “committed” to holding its shape. Marvin’s Ultrex fiberglass experiences very little expansion when exposed to the elements—87% less than vinyl.
Why does this matter? Well, when you realize that the more your window frames expand and shift, the likelier it is for you to deal with window damage, increased drafts, and moisture leaks—it’s clear why fiberglass is a winner in protecting your home.
Vinyl windows are often sold as a great alternative to wood because they don’t need to be painted. And while that’s true, it’s only part of the story. Vinyl windows are made to be one color for their lifetime; they actually can’t be painted because their makeup doesn’t hold paint well.
So while you won’t have to paint them, you will be committed to that one color you chose until your next window replacements. Vinyl doesn’t come in a lot of color choices. And since vinyl is so sensitive to UV rays, the color of these frames tend to fade or get discolored. They won’t look as nice over time, and they’ll even look mismatched based on how much sun any individual window gets.
Not so with Marvin’s Ultrex fiberglass windows! These impressive windows stand up beautifully to weather, wear and UV rays. They can take 48,000 hours of sun—yet their color finish won’t fade—so you enjoy a consistent, vibrant appearance for a lot longer than vinyl can offer.
Discover the Delight of Marvin Fiberglass Windows for Your Home
At Siding & Windows Group, we believe you deserve top-notch upgrades that truly deliver the lasting home transformation you’re looking for. As you consider replacing your windows, don’t overlook the value and enjoyment that elegant Marvin fiberglass windows deliver—installed by our window specialists.