There is a debate raging over vinyl and fiberglass windows.
Over which is the best choice. While generally, both windows
are improvements over their predecessors. Each may offer advantages like improved maintenance benefits
over the wood window, like no need to paint, and more.
But before checking into specific manufactures, have the measurements
of your window openings and make sure any windows in question can be
made to be set in your style openings (replacements usually have no
outer tabs for mounting).
Vinyl is made of extruded pvc, polyvinyl choride,
a material that has made forming these types of windows easier that
former methods. Vinyl windows have varying thicknesses, usually corresponding with their
quality. The better ones have welded mitres
at the corners while some of the cheapest don't even have weep holes
at the lower outer tracks, trapping the water. It never pays to go
with the low end, some fail and fall apart within a year of two,
while at the same time, reputable vinyl might outlast windows
by other manufacturers that are supposedly higher ratged. Vinyl is
less expensive that fiberglass and justifiably so.
The windows may be framed throughout in vinyl, vinyal clad, or split
vinyl to wood (however one problem with vinyl clad is that once the
vinyl manages to crack, moisture infiltrates and starts to decompose the wood.
An argument against vinyl windows is that they are quicker
to crack and fail than fiberglass -- when placed in service
around temperature extremes.
Fiberglass will cost you more, no doubt, and don't be surpised if they
come at a 20% to 30% premuim. Though highpoints of fiberglass should translate to a more uniform
expansion and contraction from weather changes and they are almost always stronger
in their construction.
Some fiberglass models have insulation cavities for thermal efficiency
that also eliminates the prospect of rotting wood. Although some of
the better vinyl versions have integrated this as well.
Whichever window you decide to go with, consider where you live and
the hot and cold conditions the windows will have to endure.
Stick with a proven name and model, and stay away from manufacturers
that have just entered the market, as many tend to come and go, leaving the prospect
of warranty coverage left behind. So...
Look at the warranties and see what specifically
the product is warranted against and
what is exluded. Including all parts, installation of the new window,
and liability for damages incurred from a faulty window.A
large number of the more economical-minded replacement lines fail
within the first year and many homewoners end up getting stuck.
Another point is if the warranty is transferable to a new home owner.
Usually first to fail is the glass seal (internal chamber fogs and discolors).
Remember, a failed window causes loss of heating and/or cooling, much
of the cost of replacement is in the installation, and when water enters
the home, the faulty window might be the least of your
woes. So windows are an item it never pays to skimp on.