|Replacement Fiberglass Windows|
|Fiberglass is a strong and durable window framing material which creates a quality replacement window.|
Fiberglass window frames are a relatively new type of framing materials. Fiberglass frames are manufactured from a fiberglass composite material using a process called "pultrusion" in which continuous glass strands and glass matting are pulled through a tub filled with resin. This process forms the window frames through a chemical reaction which hardens the material.
Fiberglass window frames are increasing in popularity among home renovators due to their durability, energy efficiency and other advantages.
 Energy Efficiency
Fiberglass frames offer an energy efficient replacement window alternative. The window frames of a fiberglass window are hollow. Fiberglass window manufacturers fill these cavities with an insulating material that creates a window that features superior thermal performance. Fiberglass does not conduct heat or cold which contributes to its increased energy efficiency. The expansion and contraction rates of both fiberglass window frames and panes are similar, increasing the life of the fiberglass window frame and seals. In addition the high glass content of a fiberglass window creates a strong window which is also weather resistant. Fiberglass windows do not warp, swell, shrink or degrade due to weather conditions.
The frames of a replacement fiberglass window are strong and durable -- industry advisers estimate that they are approximately three times stronger than aluminum frames and approximately nine times stronger than vinyl frames. They can hold a large expanse of glass and are strong enough to contain a double-pane or triple-pane window.
Fiberglass replacement windows do not require any maintenance after installation but homeowners may paint them using a latex primer and a latex paint.
Installation costs of fiberglass windows are comparable to the installation costs of other window frames. Fiberglass frames do not twist or warp during installation, creating an easier installation procedure.
Fiberglass replacement window frames are a relatively new product which are viewed in the industry as a quality window alternative. While long-term studies are not yet available the short-term reports indicate that homeowners are satisfied with the windows. There are, however, several issues that customers should consider before purchasing fiberglass replacement windows.
 Cost and Availability
Fiberglass windows are a new window option on the market. There are limited numbers of manufacturers who produce fiberglass replacement windows. This can create a difficulty in locating fiberglass window outlets and professionals who are knowledgeable about installing fiberglass windows. In addition, the scarcity of fiberglass windows, coupled with manufacturing costs, has created a more costly window than some other framing alternatives. Fiberglass replacement windows are priced at approximately 10%-30% above lower priced windows such as vinyl or aluminum windows though these prices are expected to drop as fiberglass replacement windows becomes a more common window option.
Most fiberglass windows are finished with a white or brown polyurethane coating. Homeowners can paint fiberglass windows but dark colors can fade. In addition, the customer must clean the frames carefully because harsh or abrasive cleaning agents can discolor, fade or weaken the sash and frame of the window.
 Window Accessories
Accessories for fiberglass windows can be detrimental to the window's performance. Fiberglass window shutters, coverings and other shading devices can cause stress and adversely affect the thermal performance of the window. Some industry consultants advise that this may also happen when specific films, including insulating films or anti-sun films are directly applied to the surface of a fiberglass window.
Fiberglass windows are available as single window installations or as part of a window ensemble such as a bay or bow window. Fiberglass window units may be created by combining operating and non-operating windows, a combination of venting windows or a group of non-venting windows.
 Frame Size
The strength of a replacement fiberglass window enables the fiberglass frame to support a large window of four feet or more in width or length. Fiberglass windows can support heavy double multi-pane windows which are often used to increase the thermal insulation of the window's glazing.
 Window Type
Fiberglass manufacturers build a wide variety of replacement fiberglass venting and non-venting windows. Fiberglass replacement windows are available as casement windows, vertical sliders including double and single-hung windows, picture windows and horizontal sliding windows.
Architectural designs can include a variety of window shapes which are available as standard fiberglass windows or may be custom ordered. Standard fiberglass windows are generally obtainable as rectangles or squares. In addition, special shaped windows including octagons, hexagons, triangles, ecliptic, eyebrow, half-rounds and quarter-round fiberglass windows can be installed singly or above, below or to the side of a standard window. Fiberglass manufacturers have window solutions to fit any design or window opening.
Fiberglass manufacturers include Milgard Windows, Marvin Windows, Fibertec Windows, Pella Windows, Cascadia Windows and AAA Windows.