Though vinyl windows dominate the replacement, remodel, and new construction markets, fiberglass windows have carved out a niche for themselves. Both their durability and their close resemblance to wood make them an attractive higher-end alternative to vinyl and a comparable one to wood windows.
Fiberglass resists rotting, warping, and cracking, and manufacturers say that it provides a maintenance-free product that is more energy efficient than aluminum and stronger than vinyl.
Less than a handful of manufacturers currently offer fiberglass windows, including Milgard Windows, Pella, and Marvin Windows. But, "we're seeing other competitors come out with fiberglass products, because the wood and building industries recognize that fiberglass is a superior material to use for building," says Brian Mildenberger, product specialist for Milgard Windows' Ultra Series fiberglass windows. "It's becoming a pretty solid and available product type."
Milgard's Ultra, Pella's Impervia, and Marvin's Integrity and Infinity fiberglass windows are offered with many of the same glass options as vinyl windows, in many of the same styles. They also offer a variety of finishing touches such as interior wood graining and numerous grille and divided light options. They install the same as other windows and unlike vinyl, fiberglass can be painted.
What's more, fiberglass windows can be used in every type of climate, from cold and harsh to hot and steamy. Fiberglass manufacturers claim the products will maintain their rigidity even in extreme temperature changes, while vinyl can lose its form under extreme heat. "They perform the same whether it's 90 below freezing or 90 degrees," Mildenberger says.
Pella. Made from Duracast, a five-layer fiberglass material, Impervia windows resist extreme heat and cold, corrosion, moisture, scratching, denting, and impact. Available in single-hung, sliding, and fixed styles, the windows come standard with low-E glass in a white powder-coat finish that can be painted. A number of glazing and grille options are available. (888) 847-3552. www.pella.com.
Jeld-Wen. Now available on the Summit window collection, the WEN-Lock is an upgraded lock that features an ergonomic design with an oversized button, which allows those with limited mobility to use it easily. Its automatic locking action can be manually overridden, and an inconspicuous indicator notch, which can only be seen from inside, shows the lock's status. (800) 877-9482. www.jeld-wen.com.
Milgard. Available in custom and standard sizes, the fiberglass Ultra and WoodClad double-hung tilt sash window features top and bottom tilt-in sashes for easy cleaning and comes standard with SunCoat low-E glass. Both models come in five exterior colors and with interior treatments of either prefinished white or clear vertical-grain Douglas fir. (800) 645-4273. www.milgard.com.
PGT. WinGuard Impact-Resistant Windows and Doors are now available with vinyl frames that meet International Building Code Standards for air and water infiltration, as well as structural and large-missile impact tests. The windows and doors feature impact-resistant laminated glass, plus an air space and a third piece of glass for insulation. The doors and windows are available in white or almond. (877) 550-6006. www.winguard.com.
Gorell Windows & Doors. Aluminum-reinforced interlocking meeting rails, ergonomically designed push-button ventilation latches, and 12-point fusion welded sashes and frames provide enhanced security on 5200 Series vinyl windows. Insulfil foam-filled master frame extrusions and PPG's Intercept warm-edge spacer system combine to provide energy efficiency. The series is available in sloped-sill double-hung tilt-sash, two- and three-light lift out slider, and picture window styles. Energy Star qualified laminated Armor Glass is also available. (800) 946-7355. www.gorell.com.
Marvin. Integrity windows are made from Ultrex, a pultruded fiberglass material that is impervious to heat, cold, and pressure, says the maker. Many window styles are available; all feature the Energy Star rating, low-E II coating, and argon gas between the panes. The windows come in pebble gray or white finishes and can be painted. (888) 537-8263. www.integritywindows.com.
Kolbe & Kolbe. The Sterling Double Hung wood window conceals all vinyl parts by completely hiding the jamb liner, block and tackle balances, and hardware grooves. A multifunctional sash lock incorporates a dual-positioning tilt lever and eliminates extra latches on the window sash. The window comes in an all-wood version in a wide variety of wood species, such as oak, maple, mahogany and Douglas fir, and also comes in an aluminum-clad version available in 22 exterior colors. (800) 955-8177. www.kolbe-kolbe.com.
Republic Windows & Doors. Enhancement vinyl windows are available with cherry, light oak, and dark oak interior finishes and come in double-hung, picture, swing-in slider, Easy-Load slider, bow, bay, casement, and garden styles. Five hardware finishes, a variety of decorative grid and V-groove patterns, high-efficiency glass, tempered glass, and the concealed Stealth Lock are other options. (312) 932-8000. www.republicwindows.com.
Superseal. The SuperCell 2000 cellular vinyl window features a wood-grain interior, integrated brick mold exterior, integral J-channel, flush hardware, and a contoured grid system. Options include a 69/16-inch jamb, interior clear-wood finish, and simulated divided lights. The windows come in double-hung and picture styles, as well as a variety of architectural shapes. (888) 639-8469. www.supersealwindows.com.
For more product information, visit ebuild, Hanley Wood's interactive product catalog.