The Difference Between Fiberglass Windows vs Vinyl Cost

Modern window frame outside the house

When it comes time to replace the old, outdated windows in your home, you’ll definitely want to be aware of how much fiberglass windows vs vinyl cost up-front. There are important differences between the two materials that correspond to their respective benefits as well as their price points. Discovering which option suits both your wallet and your lifestyle is relatively simple—continue reading to understand why. 

What Are Fiberglass Windows?

Fiberglass is a plastic made with glass-fiber-reinforced polymers. Because of its stable and sturdy properties, fiberglass is often chosen to create parts and products for the aviation and automobile industries. Whether it is used for jets and cars or windows and doors, fiberglass is considered a go-to construction material, especially for homeowners looking to scale up the value of their homes with a truly durable beauty. 

Popularized in the early 2000s, the demand for fiberglass windows has only increased over time. Chances are, you’ve come across fiberglass frequently without recognizing it because fiberglass is so incredibly versatile; it can be easily stained and treated to resemble even the most expensive varieties of wood—and at a fraction of the cost! They’re not only beautiful but energy-efficient and impact-resistant as well. 

What Are Vinyl Windows?

Since their invention, vinyl windows have defined American architecture for nearly fifty years. Vinyl windows are made of polyvinyl chloride, a synthetic polymer more commonly referred to as PVC. Like fiberglass, PVC is also known for its high versatility; among its many uses, it can be found in pipe systems, roofing and flooring, medical devices, and, of course, in windows! 

Vinyl windows are often lauded for their cost-effectiveness and energy efficiency. Vinyl is also thicker than its industry counterparts, meaning that vinyl windows are also great for soundproofing. Gain a more in-depth understanding of the incredible properties of vinyl windows on our blog

Fiberglass Windows vs Vinyl: Cost Analysis 

Aligning the incentives between the initial investment in your windows and their functionality in your home is a basic priority, but there are more factors to consider than just the dollar value up-front. 

So what important variables play a role in a window’s “true cost?” Repairing or replacing damaged windows over time can be an additional financial responsibility. Moreover, homeowners should also take into account the energy efficiency of their windows, considering that certain window materials are more likely to keep electric bills lower than others. Here’s what that “true cost” comparison looks like. 

The Cost of Fiberglass Windows

Because of the method in which they are manufactured, fiberglass windows are among the most durable on the market. Imbued with glass, these windows will expand and contract at the same rate as their panes which helps lower the risk of any seal failure or frame warping. 

Fiberglass windows will not only function for years, but they’ll also continue to look brand new. With oven-cured stains, you’re less likely to have to spend money fixing chipped or faded paint jobs, making them cost-effective for homeowners who take pride in their home’s pristine aesthetics. 

In addition to being visually striking, fiberglass windows are among the most energy efficient in the industry, up to 15% more effective than their vinyl counterparts. With a high R-value (insulation rating), fiberglass windows are sure to lower energy bills across the board—no matter the season. 

Taking into account these impressive attributes, it comes at no surprise that fiberglass windows will end up costing more than vinyl ones, especially if an unfortunate accident or weather event requires you to spend money on a replacement. 

The Cost of Vinyl Windows

Because of the method in which they are manufactured, vinyl windows will likely need very little structural repair after long months exposed to the elements; the material is unlikely to decompose under normal circumstances and is impervious to pests like termites. Should a weather event compromise the integrity of your vinyl windows, they’ll also be among the cheapest and easiest to replace. 

Though slightly less effective than fiberglass windows, vinyl windows also have a great intrinsic energy efficiency rating. With heat-welded joints, indoor air won’t escape through loosened screw holes. Moreover, vinyl windows are constructed with honeycomb chambers that trap air and improve overall levels of insulation, keeping your home temperature-controlled without making your HVAC system—or your wallet—work overtime. 

As they naturally age, vinyl windows may need to have their color stains touched up here and there. To aesthetically-minded homeowners, buying vinyl windows may mean a commitment to spending a bit of money on upkeep to keep them looking pristine. 

A “True Cost” Analysis

Simply put, out of all the materials you may be considering for your new windows, vinyl is the cheapest material outright. With high durability, low-cost part substitution, recycled components, and naturally energy-efficient properties, vinyl windows are the most cost-effective despite some potential long-term cosmetic maintenance. 

Though they’re generally more expensive up front, fiberglass windows are worth every penny in the long run. When it comes to keeping the electric bill reasonable, fiberglass windows are sure to benefit homeowners year-round. Fiberglass windows emulate expensive building materials like wood while requiring less aesthetic upkeep.

And when it eventually comes time to replace your windows, as every homeowner must, studies show that the lifespan of fiberglass windows is generally about 38% longer than their vinyl counterparts. When investing in your “forever home,” adopting a big-picture perspective may end up saving you money miles down the road. 

With both fiberglass and vinyl, the up-front cost of updating your home’s windows is sure to lower your energy bills and give you a valuable ROI; the money you invest will only appreciate the value of your property later on. As an added bonus, both vinyl and fiberglass windows will cost both you and the planet less; when they age out of their prime they can be recycled to make new windows or other products. 

Design Your Windows With Acadian  

After understanding the difference between the two materials, fiberglass windows vs vinyl cost a bit more due to their manufacturing processes and long-term durability. But in reality, either material is incredibly effective, energy-efficient, and used by homeowners across the board. 

Whichever material you choose to install, you don’t have to do it alone! Acadian Windows is here to ensure that your fiberglass, vinyl, or even wood windows are installed by the professionals most trusted by Louisiana homeowners and beyond. Read more about our vast selection of window offerings to discover which material is right for you and your home.