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Choosing the Right Window Material

by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for The House Designers

When somebody describes a window as vinyl, fiberglass, or wood, they’re talking about the construction of its frame. Window materials don’t have anything to do with the glass and you can find beautiful options for most homes regardless of the type you choose. So, what’s the difference? These materials vary in cost and each is best suited to specific situations and conditions. Here’s how common window materials compare!

Encompass by Pella Windows

Encompass by Pella® Windows are made with high-quality vinyl frames to offer homeowners ENERGY STAR® rated efficiency and minimal upkeep. They’re also perfect for outfitting a whole house on a budget!

Vinyl Windows

The most popular window material these days, vinyl is favored by builders and consumers alike because it offers great performance at a great price. Vinyl frames are durable, efficient, and don’t require any special care. If you live in a storm zone, you’ll find impact-rated options in this category. Worried about noise or UV rays coming inside? Many vinyl windows also address those needs. Whatever your primary window concern, you can almost always find a solution in vinyl.

The formula and construction of the frame separate cheap vinyl windows from superior ones, so keep that in mind when you compare products. Good vinyl windows should last decades without needing replacement and have a warranty to back them up. Remember, the longer they last, the greater your investment for the future! Even top-of-the-line vinyl windows remain on the more affordable side of the price spectrum, so you can really get the most for your dollar.

Pella Impervia Windows

Made to withstand extreme conditions, Pella® Impervia® Windows get their strength from a proprietary fiberglass tested to weather temperatures from -40°F to 180°F. They won’t rot, corrode, or ever need painting, either!

Fiberglass Windows

An inherently strong material, you’ll find fiberglass used in all sorts of applications. It’s no wonder it became favored for windows in areas that experience the most extreme weather conditions! Fiberglass windows go above and beyond expectations, resisting everything from common dents to damage from thermal expansion and contraction. Commercial buildings require this higher level of performance by code, so fiberglass is definitely a top-tier choice for residential construction.

Homeowners love that fiberglass is virtually maintenance-free and highly energy efficient. Some simply prefer the look of it over vinyl, too; its strength means many windows have thinner frames and broader glass panes to really maximize a window opening. Demand for fiberglass windows has increased over the years, so you can find them in a range of sizes and types to suit all homes. Fiberglass is more expensive than vinyl, but you can expect these windows to perform to higher standards and last even longer.

Pella Architect Series Windows

Looking for the perfect windows to set new construction or a renovation apart? Pella® Reserve™ Windows offer contemporary and historical styling options and have exclusive EnduraGuard® protection to resist challenges like mildew and termites.

Wood Windows

Wood has a long history as a window material—and you can still find some historical buildings with their original wood windows! Wood remains popular because you can really make these windows your own; not only do they allow you to create custom designs, but they also offer more features and finishing options than other materials. For example, you can specify a large number of curved and angled special shapes and customize the frames with your choice of hardware and paint or stain. You might think that wood windows are reserved for traditional homes, but they’re also common in grand contemporary applications, too.

The vast majority of today’s wood windows come with aluminum-clad exteriors, allowing homeowners to enjoy the appeal of wood inside and the benefits of low-maintenance protection outside. They can also come in highly energy-efficient and impact-resistant packages like other types, so don’t feel like you need a man-made material for modern-day performance expectations! Wood is more expensive than vinyl and fiberglass, though, and it’s important to remember that the cost will creep higher if you take advantage of its design flexibility. Despite this, many architects and consumers wouldn’t choose anything else.

As you can see, Pella® windows of any type make a gorgeous addition to a home! This company offers a variety of product lines to address all design and performance needs at different price points, all backed with an impressive limited lifetime warranty. And whether you’re looking for vinyl, fiberglass, or wood, you’ll find products that meet ENERGY STAR® standards in all 50 states! Schedule a free consultation to discuss the possibilities for your home!