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Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

Posted by deb52899 (My Page) on
Tue, Sep 11, 12 at 12:37

We're getting estimates on windows. I'd like to go with fiberglass, but we did get an estimate on vinyl just to compare costs. The vinyl we looked at are Sunrise windows out of Temperence, MI. (We're in Detroit, MI area.) Sunrise was recommended by someone here. For fiberglass, we're looking at Inline and Marvin Integrity.

The vinyl guy said the new windows are thicker than the old, builder grade, windows. He said the new vinyls are 3 1/4" thick and that all new vinyl windows will be thicker. Are all fiberglass windows thicker too? My problem is if the window is thicker, then my current window treatments do not work. We have 2" wood blinds, matching, in the entire house (23 windows). I love them. They are only 3 years old and I don't want to change them. I'm hoping maybe fiberglass isn't as thick?

The vinyl windows come in exactly the color I want - dark brown outside, white inside, with prairie inserts and brushed nickel hardware. They entire window comes out of the unit for cleaning - it doesn't just fold out, but you can take it out. They have a lifetime warranty. (If they have a lifetime warranty and they fade or warp, can't we have them replaced for free?)

The Inline fiberglass come in the right colors with prairie inserts, but no brushed nickel hardware. I'd have to get white, which I think looks cheap. I called Inline directly (the number Eric recommended), but the guy never returned my call.

Marvin comes out Thursday for an estimate, so I'm not sure what they have.

Thoughts, recommendations between these 3 types, warnings? Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

What are your existing windows made out of?

I think you may be confusing the wall thickness of the vinyl frames with the depth of the frame. Unless your existing windows are a thin gauge aluminum, there should be no problems with the new windows fitting into the existing openings.

Mark at Inline may be out of town because I am trying to contact him too. Send him an email. He will get back to you.


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

The existing windows are vinyl. The window guy (who gave us an estimate) said those window frames are about 2.5" thick and the new frames are 3.25" thick, so they will come farther into the opening, making my blinds not fit.

When I called Mark the other day, a girl (receptionist?) answered and said he'd be in in about 10 minutes so I asked if I could leave a voicemail. That was last Wednesday I think.


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

All the fiberglass frame will be 3.25 in wall depth as well.

That is a standard depth for a replacement frame.

Mark can be tough to track down sometimes but he does get back to you. I know he handles a bunch of questions over there so they stay pretty swamped.


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

I'm no expert, but one thing that attracted me to fiberglass over vinyl was that they could be painted/refinished easier than vinyl (in theory)
and I believe that anything exposed to the elements will eventually have to be refinished.


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

Your entire house could crumble into a heap from age and those fiberglass windows would still be there and could be refinished and installed into the next house.


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

Regarding your actual question Deb, all new replacement windows will come in 3 1/4" jamb depth (other than a unit that has jamb extensions built on to make them even thicker.) That said, you can keep your existing jamb extensions and in turn , keep your blinds. What it will require is a build out on the exterior, as most windows do not allow custom off-set nailing flanges. The downside is that the window will protrude farther on the exterior. This may be very minimal, or highly noticeable depending on your home.


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

Thanks everyone. HomeSealed - our first floor is brick and there is room for the windows to protrude, but the second level is siding and I think that would look bad. So it sounds like my only option is new window treatments. This seems so amazing to me. You can only have nice wood blinds with the original windows in your home and when you replace the windows you have to get new window treatments. Man!


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

Most times you can re-mount the window treatments and re-use them by just spacing the brackets out slightly.

It is done quite often and don't throw them away until you have tried to re-fit them.


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

Deb,

If you current windows are made of wood, than you will be surprised that you will lose some glass with the vinyl windows as the frames are thicker. We replaced our front windows with vinyl a few years ago and were disappointed that the mullions were so much thicker than our old wood windows (ours were full replacements not inserts). We were not able to re-use the blinds due to the change in glass size. However, your style sounds like it might be tilt and turn style windows which may allow you to reuse the blinds easier than we could with our casements.

As per fiberglass windows I did extensive research on fiberglass windows and compared four different makes of fiberglass when we built our addition. We knew we did not want vinyl this time. The windows I considered were Inline, Marvin, Thermotech Fiberglass Fenestration and Marvin Integrity. The factory and showroom for Inline windows is fairly close to where we live so we had a carefully look at their windows. We also live near Fibertec windows and in comparison to Inline, I found their windows more attractive than Inline's for a similar price. Both companies are in the greater Toronto area so not too far from Detroit and therefore it might be worth a trip out. I decided not to go with Marvin windows as I preferred all fiberglass and the Integrity line was only fiberglass on the outside. My favourite fiberglass windows by a small margin though was Thermotech Fiberglass windows (located in Ottawa Canada) which is what we went for in the end (unfortunately they were the most costly as well and the customer service was not perfect). We recently had to buy one more window and this time went for Fibertec as the shipping from the Toronto area was much more cost effective than from Ottawa given we only wanted a single window. The fibertec windows look very, very similar to the Thermotech Fiberglass windows. You might also get more options in terms of the brushed nickel hardware if you explored the other fiberglass windows makers.

Long story short, you will find the glass area on a fiberglass window is much larger than on a vinyl window, and may in fact accommodate your current blinds better. Many of the fiberglass windows are made in Canada, but Inline seems to be the most known on these boards so perhaps they do the best job getting their product known in the states. All fiberglass windows have excellent energy ratings and I believe are less prone to leaks caused by expansion and contraction than vinyl windows are so should perform better over the long haul. Here is my ranking based on attractiveness:

1. Thermotech Fiberglass Fenestration
2. Fibertec (very close second, and I believe they have changed their screens recently so may be just as attractive as Thermotech Fiberglass now)
3. Marvin Integrity (although half wood and half fiberglass I think is not as good). Their all fiberglass ones were not attractive in my mind and very expensive.
4. Inline Fiberglass

Good luck in your searches. I found the window decision one of the hardest decisions to make so far in our build (we are only half way done). Be sure to come back and tell us what you choose, and how you like your new windows. These boards were very helpful to me as I researched my options.

Carol


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

OntarioMom - Thank you so much for your very detailed response. It was really helpful and I appreciate it! I have never heard of Thermotech or Fibertec and I wonder if they are sold here or if there is an installer here. The Marvin Integrity is my first choice so far, but the ones we looked at are all fiberglass. We are planning on the "All Ultrex" as opposed to the "Wood Ultrex" which is wood on the inside. We love wood and had wood on the inside in our last house, but this house doesn't have wood and the entire upstairs is actually white trim. So we chose the white fiberglass interior, and brown fiberglass outside. (This is what we're considering in all brands.) We liked the Inline - unfortunately they only have one company to install in our area (that company holds the exclusive to Inline) and that company has very bad customer service and installation reviews. While we liked the product, we're hoping not to have to go with that company. Right now it will depend on the Marvin quote, which I'm still waiting for.


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

The Marvin Infinity is available in a new construction format as well and has a better finished aesthetic look to the interior.

Throw that one into the mix for consideration as well.


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

Just in case you did want to get a quote from Fibertec or Thermotech Fiberglass Fenestration (not to be confused with Thermotech windows that sells vinyl) you could always hire a separate window installer. I think both these companies do ship to the States. Our framers installed our fiberglass windows with no problem. There were installation instructions sent with the windows. In fact, if your Inline installer offers poor customer service, you could hire out the install of Inline's windows and then order the windows directly from Inline in Canada (or so I imagine you could).

Good luck with your Marvin quote!

Carol


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

We got quotes for Inline (fiberglass), Sunrise (vinyl) and Marvin Integrity All Ultrex (fiberglass). Marvin beat the other quotes. I'm very shocked. Marvin fiberglass even beat out the vinyl? Is this too good to be true? He didn't know the other quotes. We never mentioned them. I've read good reviews on the Marvin company on Angie's List. I'm so excited because the Marvins were my favorite!


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

Good solid choice and I am very happy for you that the pricing worked out well. You will not go wrong with these windows.


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

We are in a similiar situation. Have Anderson that are wood on the inside and vinyl clad on the outside. I so don't want wood anymore and we looked at the Marvin Integrity but it too had part wood. Is the All Ultrex all fiberglass?????
Thanks!


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

Yes, all ultrex is all fiberglass! The wood ultrex is wood on the inside.


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

We are in a similiar situation. Have Anderson that are wood on the inside and vinyl clad on the outside. I so don't want wood anymore and we looked at the Marvin Integrity but it too had part wood. Is the All Ultrex all fiberglass?????
Thanks!


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

Thanks so much!!!! I was told by the showroom dealer in our town that the integrity only came in wood on the inside and fiberglass on the outside and I wanted all white and not painted wood. Does the inside have to be painted or is it just like vinyl that is pretty much maintenance free?


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

Better product than vinyl and nothing needs to be done to the finish other than an occasional cleaning.


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

"better product", hmmmm, Im going to have to call shananigans on that, especially considering the poor, poor air infiltration rating that the Marvin product gets... Ultimately, each product has its pros and cons: Vinyl provides lower cost, superior performance, and better warranty, while wood provides beauty (ie: form over function). Fiberglass windows are like fiber-cement siding, they still need maintenance and offer varying ranges of performance, but ultimately still need the same amount of attention, painting , etc as a wood product. The Marvin Ultrex Integrity is indeed ALL fiberglass, but is also ALL ugly. The wood- ultrex is a nice, attractive product.
All of these Fibertec/Thermotech posts are clearly SPAM, so I would disregard them. The Inline product is the only FG product that I've seen that offers upper echelon performance along with the slim lines and other benefits of FG.


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

Maybe I should not have used the term better in that general a statement Homesealed, although I personally am not a vinyl fan and that may have made my statement appear biased.


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

"but ultimately still need the same amount of attention, painting , etc as a wood product"

I don't think so.


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

The finishes on fiberglass should be more durable than on a wood-wood window because of the substrate and its moisture stability.

In terms of a clad-wood window, I think the fiberglass finishes will have a similar projected lifespan. I can't speak for HomeSealed but I think that is what he was referencing in terms of the finish of maybe he was referring to the Fiberglass - Wood combo?


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

We can only go by what he says, which was pretty clear and very obviously wrong. I would also dispute that fiber cement siding needs as much maintenance as wood siding.


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

Angeez, I responded yesterday, but from my phone and it didn't go through. Sorry. Here you go:

The inside is white fiberglass and we got the outside bronze (brown) fiberglass. Google Marvin integrity. There is a website just for them and you can see the all ultrex.


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

I am sure that HomeSealed can clarify his own remarks and I think we would both agree that he knows his stuff as good as anyone on here (with the exception of Millworkman on the wood stuff).

The newer wood sidings are junk as they are super open and push the paint off like a snow plow without a vented wall. I would agree with you on that point.

The nice and hard older wood sidings are just as durable and would probably have similar maintenance schedules to fiber cement. They are certainly more bug friendly but they are tough stuff.


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

I have owned a wood boat and I have owned a fiberglass boat. I will never own another wood boat.


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

Love this analogy Eco!


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

1. I was referencing the wood/ultrex needing the same attention as other wood windows.
2. In regards to fiberglass windows or fiber cement siding, I should have clarified that: obviously a synthetic material will not rot out like wood, retain the same amount of moisture, etc. That said, any product that is painted, will eventually need to be painted again. That is true regardless of whether it is wood, fg, or even painted vinyl.
3. No worries MWM. I like the Marvin products a lot, although if there is a weak link in that lineup it is the all Ultrex Integrity. IMO, the primary reason to choose a wood or fiberglass window over a premium vinyl window comes down to appearance, and that window is just not attractive, even in comparison with a nice vinyl choice. The Ultimate on the other hand is drop-dead gorgeous, and the Wood Integrity is pretty nice as well. We just installed some last week.


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

I'm not sure what is ugly about the all ultrex. I loved it! I didn't see the wood ultrex in person because we weren't interested in that one. So maybe I better not so I don't regret my decision :) Anyway, I signed the contract yesterday for the Integrity All Ultrex. It has everything I want except the brushed nickel sash lifts (handles). It has brushed nickel locks, but white handles on the double hungs. The casements have brushed nickel folding cranks. Seems odd to me, but wasn't a deal breaker.


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

You will not regret the decision to go with these windows. I personally do not find them attractive just not as visibly pleasing or as clean cut an appearance as the wood/ultrex unit. As far as the sash lifts, keep an eye on the site as you will probably find they add them at some point and if the white ones bother you just change them out!


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

Please don't take my comments the wrong way Deb, as MWM said, that window will serve you well. There are pros and cons to every product and material out there, and much of it like appearance is very subjective. Marvin is a quality company and product, so I agree, you will be happy with that decision. Congrats. :)


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

Thanks everyone for your insight. Hopefully after installation I can find this thread and post pix and an update.


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

Please do as were always happy to see the finished product!!!


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

Homesealed,

Sorry you were quite wrong that my suggestion of Fibertec or Thermotech Fiberglass windows was spam. I am a school teacher not a salesman. I just happen to live close to Inline and Fibertec's showrooms, and own the Thermotech ones so I thought I would share my opinion. Canadians do make several kinds of fiberglass windows as I guess we need the warmth for our winters. I spent months and months researching these fiberglass windows, so thought it would be okay to share what I learned. Sorry, if I somehow offended you or others by letting Deb know what I thought of the various Fiberglass windows that we considered for our build.

Deb, I hope you enjoy your windows, and great that you got them at a competitive price. We have two Marvin doors, so they are a great product, although I am no expert just a consumer like yourself.

Carol


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

Carol, I do apologize if I was mistaken. If you read these boards enough, you'll notice that 9 out of 10 posters that pop up with very glowing posts about a company that had not even been part of the discussion are SPAM, and usually company reps dishonestly posing as consumers. In addition, you offered some inaccurate information in your posts including generalizations about the thickness of vinyl vs fiberglass, performance factors etc. Just to address a couple of those, a high quality narrow line vinyl product like Sunrise or Okna will offer a very similar "edge of frame to glass" measurement as a fiberglass alternative. In addition, the thermal and structural performance of those vinyl offerings will meet or exceed those fiberglass units, and in some cases like the Marvin, they blow it out of the water. The Inline otoh, offers very good performance which is comparable to the vinyl options. I am not familiar with the Fibertec or Thermotech. I would also add that the expansion/contraction issue is dramatically overstated. Empirical evidence shows that the differences in a residential window application are basically negligible, and in addition, the properties of the base material for any given product are most certainly taken into consideration in the engineering of the product, and thereby mitigating any potential negatives.
All that said, I am not just a vinyl "fanboy" despite my defense here, it just happens to be a material much that is maligned by misinformation put out by folks wanting to sell alternatives... as well as by the fact that there are just way too many lower end vinyl products out there that give the material itself a bad name.
Ultimately, as I have stated earlier in this thread and in many others, each material has its own pros and cons, and each can be the "best" choice in a given application.
Lastly, once again, please accept my apology if you were just sharing your personal experience. Perhaps the differences in perception have something to do with the products that are available in the US versus those in Canada.


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

HomeSealed

Thank you for apologizing HomeSealed. I was just passing on my personal experience of the different fiberglass windows I have seen in person or have in my home (or have seen in my sister's home). I have not posted on the windows forum much since last November when I bugged the regular window forum posters repeatedly as I researched my fiberglass options. WindowsonWashington may remember my postings as he helped me repeatedly. So, no I did not just pop on this board for the fist time, it was just that the title of fiberglass windows caught my eye and I felt I could share what I had learned on this subject.

I don't really think I gave a glowing report on any one Fiberglass window maker, but just ranked the appearance of these windows for what it was worth for those who did not have the luxury of driving to these Canadian Factories/showrooms to see the windows first hand. I do recall the energy ratings of the three Canadian Fiberglass windows makers (Inline, Fibertec and Thermotech) are quite comparable. It does seem true that the latter two are not well known in the states.

Thanks for giving us all extra information on vinyl windows. I did not know that there were narrow lined vinyl windows available. I did know that good quality vinyl windows have very impressive energy numbers. I do wonder over the long term though that vinyl windows might be more prone to leaks than fiberglass. But atlas, that is what the fiberglass windows salespeople would like us to believe.

Again, thanks for taking back your inaccurate SPAM statement.

Carol


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

Fair enough Carol :) ... On your comment, "that is what the fiberglass windows salespeople would like us to believe.", that may be the greatest advice that can be found on this forum! Not necessarily regarding fiberglass in particular, but window salespeople in general. That may sound crazy coming from one, however there is just so much misinformation out there that it blows my mind on a daily basis. That is the great thing about forums such as this: they are very helpful in helping consumers parse out the info that is legit, from the stuff that is just "salesmanship".
As I mentioned before, I'm not familiar with the particular brand that you recommended, but if it has ratings comparable to Inline, it sounds like a very good choice.


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

"I have owned a wood boat and I have owned a fiberglass boat. I will never own another wood boat."

Well put.

Not sure that wood on the side of the home is an exacting comparison to wood that is submerged in water.

Ark was built of wood and it seemed to do okay, but Noah may have chosen fiberglass had it been available.


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

Obviously you have never owned a wood boat. If you had, you would know that what's below the water is the least of your problems.


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

I think that you like wood more than you are letting on here Eco ;)


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

I have owned all fiberglass Corvettes and they weren't exactly maintenance free.

Do they make those is a size 14 HomeSealed?


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

You had to caulk your Corvette?

Wonder why they don't make wooden cars? :)


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RE: Fiberglass, vinyl - questions

Every winter. Leaked air otherwise.

Some of the cars now do have wood floor interlayers for sound damping.


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