Best Windows for Canadian Climate:
Fiberglass Windows vs. Vinyl Windows
Homeowners and new construction planners alike will eventually be faced with a key decision when deciding on their new windows: are fibreglass or vinyl windows the better option for me, my home, or my new build? In Canada, the material used for new or replacements windows plays a crucial role in the comfort and enjoyment of a home. What colour options do each variety offer? Are fibreglass or vinyl windows more durable? Is one more difficult to maintain? These are common questions we’ve been asked, and we’re here to give you the resources to make an informed decision on your new windows. Find out the differences between fibreglass and vinyl windows below, and how these differences are increasingly important to consider for homes in Canada.
Good news: both vinyl and fibreglass windows come in a variety of colour options. Since your colour palette is not likely to be an issue, there are a few other differences to keep in mind when deciding between the two types of windows. The colour application process of each window is vastly different, and could play a determining role in your decision between the two varieties. fibreglass windows are painted after the extrusion process, which is why you are likely to see more colour options available for these windows. The colour on vinyl windows is co-extruded, which results in a more vibrant and durable colour finish. Extruded colours on vinyl windows will not peel or chip, unlike fiberglass windows. You may find more colour options with fibreglass windows, but if durability/longevity is a priority for you, this may come at the cost of those colour options.
The upfront costs of vinyl windows are significantly lower than fibreglass windows. Because of their tendency to age gracefully, vinyl windows increase the curb value of a home at a higher capacity than fibreglass windows. If you are worried about the return on your home investment, vinyl windows are easily your best bet; the lower price tag alongside the higher resale value of homes with vinyl replacement windows makes vinyl the clear winner in this regard.
Vinyl and fiberglass are both more long lasting when compared to other traditional window materials, but which of the two is better? fibreglass windows are reinforced via glass fibers, which can add durability and strength to the window structure. However, fibreglass is not as well equipped for extreme weather conditions, which can make them a questionable choice in certain Canadian climates. In more moderate climates, a fibreglass window is likely to outlive it’s’ vinyl window counterpart by a few years, but a well built vinyl window can be equally as effective. Vinyl can withstand extreme frigid temperatures, and is not known to lose structural integrity due to cracking from extreme climates.
As previously mentioned, vinyl windows are coloured via extrusion, while fibreglass windows are painted post-installation. Because of this, fibreglass windows are prone to chipping and peeling, which require more on-going maintenance. Vinyl windows, on the other hand, cannot fade, peel, and chip. As such, vinyl windows are the more ideal option for homeowners and builders who prioritize practicality and low-stress maintenance.
Both fibreglass and vinyl replacement and new windows have hollow cavities which can be filled with insulation. This feature is highly important in slowing the transmission of outside temperatures to inside the home, thus making them more energy efficient. Fibreglass windows have the reputation of being the more energy efficient option; this can be true when comparing fiberglass and vinyl windows of moderate quality. However, well made and high-quality vinyl windows are superior in terms of energy efficiency to fiberglass. The secret to buying high-quality and energy efficient vinyl windows? Make sure that they are Energy Star certified; a vinyl window with this distinction will easily outperform a fibreglass window with conserving energy and saving you the form of home heating and cooling costs.
Fibreglass and vinyl windows both offer a variety of benefits, which can make deciding between the two a daunting task.
Vinyl has rightfully earned a reputation for durability in tough climates, which makes them favorable in the potentially polarizing Canadian climate. The structural integrity of vinyl windows will not be compromised when put up to the test of Candian winters. Fibreglass, on the other hand, is more prone to lose structural integrity when faced with the same temperature extremes. This, combined with the low-maintenance nature of vinyl, lower upfront costs, and the increase in your ROI on your home or new build, makes the winner quite clear; vinyl is the best material for a Canadian home window.