Window materials will be one of the first things you need to think about when you start shopping for replacement windows for your Milwaukee home. Everything about your window is affected by material, including price, maintenance needs, thermal properties, sizing, longevity, and more.
With so much involved, it can be hard to know what you should choose. Fortunately, Zen Windows Milwaukee has put together this quick guide to your most competitive options for windows, including pros and cons — though, as we’ll see, for most applications, there’s a clear winner.
Want to talk to a professional about your options? Call Zen Windows Milwaukee at 414-881-9361 today to learn how you can customize your windows to meet your needs!
There are three window materials most homeowners consider when shopping for windows — four if we separate low-quality and high-quality vinyl due to their significant differences in properties. Aluminum windows are a fifth option, but they have significant flaws while lacking any particular aesthetic advantage.
Pros: When discussing wood windows, it’s all about aesthetics: They can be beautiful, and they are, of course, the most traditional material.
Cons: The benefits of wood windows end at beauty, unfortunately. Their poor thermal properties result in windows that can either stick or sit loose in the frame, are susceptible to rot and pest infiltration, and have a surprisingly high cost.
Summary: Wood should only be your choice if you absolutely must have wood, and no wood-grain pattern or composite can suffice.
Pros: Fiberglass excels in every way that a window might excel: It’s long-lasting, sturdy, has great thermal properties, and can match any aesthetic.
Cons: Fiberglass windows come at a substantial cost.
Summary: Fiberglass windows are excellent — but if you tend to replace windows frequently or your budget is limited, their cost may be a barrier.
Pros: Low-end vinyl is the cheapest material on the market by a significant margin.
Cons: Low-end vinyl is the cheapest material for a reason. It delivers poor energy efficiency, is damaged easily, offers limited aesthetic options, and fades easily.
Summary: Replacing your windows with low-quality vinyl should only be an option you seriously consider if your window is substantially damaged and you have no way to finance a better material. You’ll spend more on it over time than better materials due to wasted energy and early replacement.
Pros: Higher-quality vinyl is most comparable to fiberglass in terms of versatility, longevity, low maintenance requirements, and customizability. The nature of high-end vinyl allows for extremely tight seals. A much more budget-friendly alternative to fiberglass.
Cons: Vinyl windows’ thermal properties aren’t quite as good as fiberglass, and they need to be constructed and sealed properly to maintain peak energy efficiency. Some homeowners might also avoid using vinyl due to associations with cheaper windows.
Summary: A well-designed vinyl window will usually be your best option for meeting budget with quality. When shopping for windows, this should be where you start unless you want to invest in fiberglass or have a specific need for wood windows.
Ultimately, most window replacement projects will be best served by either high-quality vinyl windows or premium fiberglass windows, depending on budget and personal preference.
Fiberglass that runs its full life span without being damaged by accident or incident will offer a comparable ROI if cost over time is the only consideration, but if they get replaced early, vinyl will win out.
Want to know more about buying the right windows for your house? Want to discuss your options with a professional? Call Zen Windows Milwaukee today at 414-881-9361!