Fiberglass or vinyl windows ?

rbinyJanuary 2, 2010

I am starting my research on what types of windows to use on my new home I am going to be building in Upstate NY. Has anyone any information on comparison, pro's or con's between fiberglass and vinyl windows. There are so many options out there I don't really even know where to start. Thanks for any advise.

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Fiberglass windows can be painted whatever color you like inside and outside. They are structurally sound. They are also more expensive than vinyl windows. Some good brands to consider are Marvin and Milgard.

Vinyl windows will cost less. If you purchase a good quality vinyl window it will provide very good energy efficiency. If you purchase cheap vinyl windows you will be very unhappy after a few years. Typically, vinyl windows are available in either white or tan. However, some manufacturers do offer painted exteriors. Some good brands to consider include Simonton, Gorell, Softlite and Okna.

If you live in a very warm climate, pay close attention to the Solar Heat Gain on various windows. Look for a window with as low a SHGC rating as possible. The best glass for a warm climate would be a triple coated Low E glass. You should also get quotes on double AND triple pane and compare the difference in relative energy savings to the additional cost.

If you live in a cold climate, get quotes for both double and triple pane but, look for the highest SHGC.

Check back and let us know your progress.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 1:59PM
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Fiberglass would be the better choice if you have the money. However, Marvin is definitely the wrong choice in upstate NY. They have terrible air and water infiltration numbers, compared to any other fiberglass window. Especially that you get very high winds, it is not a good option.

Okna had some foam filling misrepresentation issues, so there are some trust issues. Gorell not worth the money, you can do better.

Just do your research. Many people here are representatives of certain products and their opinions can be misleading or subjective...

A window company should recommend glazing by elevation. Not all glass works the same either. So definitely study up!

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 12:23AM
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Please provide evidence Marvin has air leakage problems. What facts do you base your claim on?

Which window would you recommend over a Gorell? What qualities you to make such a ridiculous statement

Okna had a very short term problem that did not affect the energy efficiency of their problem but, it has been resolved. Okna has double pane windows with a U factor of .25.

Why would a window company make a glazing recommendation based on altitude?

I would suggest that the OP check out any recommendations made by certain people here as obviously some have no clue what they are talking about.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 12:45AM
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Please reread my post. I said air and water...and why so hostile?

A window with a DP30 rating should be able to keep out rain when its driven by 42mph winds and a window with a DP40 should be able to keep out rain when driven by 49mph while water infiltration is DP related - and air infiltration is not - the nature of air and water infiltration is different. Marvin is a 30-35 DP correct? Winds in Upstate NY can reach up to 80 MPH. Check you wind zone charts if you don't believe me.

Softlite, Simonton and I am a graduate of the school of

Okna did have some problems, why sweep them under the rug. Do you sell Okna?

Window companies should recommend glazing based on the sides of the house the windows are on, North, East, West South not altitude. This is what is elevation drawings are...

Finally we agree, some people have no clue...but why so hostile?

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 3:21PM
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Nope, wrong again. Out of the box the Integrity has a DP 40 rating and it can be ordered with the HP kit which increases the rating to DP 50.

Softlite has an AI rating of .02. Yes you read that right .02. A DP rating of 65 and a U factor of .26 They use a Sturtz assembly line that produces the best tolerances in the industry at +/- 1/32". They also offer a foil laminate exterior in many colors, which is much better than painted exteriors.

Okna had a few windows that there were problems with. Do you know how many? Nothing was swept under the rug. You know about it, right?

No hostility, just get annoyed with people who post incorrect information as you have. You really should make sure you know what you are talking about before you post.

Please tell the OP what window YOU would recommend since you think there's something wrong with my recommendations.

BTW we don't carry Marvin, Softlite, Gorell or Okna. We do however carry Simonton and have for over 10 years. I wouldn't rate it as the "best" window out there but for what you pay, it's a very good value. Very few call backs and first rate customer service. They need to improve their energy ratings before it can become a top window

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 4:32PM
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A window with a DP30 rating should be able to keep out rain when its driven by 42mph winds and a window with a DP40 should be able to keep out rain when driven by 49mph while water infiltration is DP related - and air infiltration is not - the nature of air and water infiltration is different.

lars, when you borrow something that someone else wrote and include it as part of your comments, it is generally considered polite (at the very least) to mention where you got the information.

Just my two cents.

    Bookmark   January 3, 2010 at 7:40PM
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The Marvin Infinity DP is 30 which is the all fiberglass best looking window. The Integrity come in a 40. NY has winds up to 80 MPH. So am I still wrong??? It's too low. Did you check wind zone charts to confirm that I am correct?

Again you are out preaching instead of reading my post and I did mention I liked Softlite and am aware of the benefits. Thank you for reinforcing what I stated.

So what is my incorrect information I posted? You don't even know what elevation means and we are supposed to benefit from your advice? Lets pray nobody gives you their arch drawings because obviously you wouldn't know what to do with them...Altitude, all of us in the office had a good laugh. Too funny!

Btw Simonton was the first vinyl window YOU recommended then mention they do not have great thermal values. That is why I mention that some people are not objective here. Perhaps in the future you should mention them last?

Oberon, you're right...thanks. Feel free to use anything from me.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 10:30PM
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Still waiting for your recommendation of a window brand. Or would you prefer to snipe instead of helping the OP out?

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 11:01PM
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Also please tell me the last date time we had 80 mph winds in NY? I think that is a little ridiculous as it is not at all common and a very rare occasion at best.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2010 at 10:17AM
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May I ask a question here? Just to slightly change the direction/tone. In central TX which window would you think I should be looking at.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 3:44PM
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I would either choose a high quality vinyl window or a fiberglass window. You cannot use a cheap vinyl window in the Texas summer heat or you stand a good chance of it warping. You might also want to consider a thermally broken aluminum window.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2010 at 4:18PM
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I can't recommend for TX. I'm in CA. I prefer aluminum clad wood over fiberglass over vinyl for look and minimizing environmental and health impacts (vinyl off-gassing). We're using clad wood in all windows except the showers- where we are using fiberglass. But they are pricy!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 11:55AM
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What fiberglass window would you therefore recommend?

If upstate NY has 80mph winds and you keep referencing the water wind speed, by your logic, you would have to specify a window that is a DP80+ to keep out water at the wind speed your are referencing.

A DP30 window is structurally sound to 134mph of wind and a wind driven rain of (water test pressure) of 42mph. At 43mph, it does not mean that water starts pouring through the window, it means that some of the wind driven rain is getting past the seals. The Marvin may, actually have a better water test pressure number but being that DP, Structural, and Water are all related, DP is limited to the lowest of the 3 numbers.

Please post up the air infiltration numbers that you say are so horrible for the Marvin. Pdf's of the data would be nice.

Glazing by elevation is great if you are designing a home and your architect knows what he is doing. Most homes are not designed to effectively take advantage of different options in glazing characteristics.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 3:10PM
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Thought I'd chime in here as I've had the Marvin fiberglass windows for several years and couldn't be more pleased.

I can't imagine how wind could come in unless the windows were installed improperly. However, all Marvin installers receive training to do this properly.

My reason for choosing the fiberglass is that I like the heft and quality of this window and I have no intention whatsoever of painting another window in my lifetime.

While we don't get the 80 mph winds that apparently buffet upper NY state, we do on occasion get some strong winds and I've never noticed any air coming in through the windows.

So my recommendation, based on personal experience, is most definitely fiberglass.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 8:40PM
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Thanks for posting your experience.

Your recommendation based on your experience holds much more creditability than Lars's opinions based on "unavailable" facts.

I suspect that Lars work for another fiberglass company like Inline or Serious (basically the same window) which both make a mud ugly fiberglass window.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2010 at 9:57AM
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