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Window Replacements

How To Choose The Best Replacement Window Material For You (4 Things To Consider)

March 1st, 2022 | 7 min. read

How To Choose The Best Replacement Window Material For You (4 Things To Consider)

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When you first decide you’re ready for a window replacement in your home, where do you start? 

The more research you do on window types, shapes, and contractors, the more overwhelming it can become. Because there are so many options out there, finding the right one for you can seem impossible. 

While you search for the right replacement window for you, there are a few window traits you need to look at: the frame material, frame shape, and glass.

The window material is crucial for how you want your new windows to look and function. So, outlining your goals for your new windows is the first step to finding the right replacement window for you. 

At Southwest Exteriors, we offer a variety of window types, like fiberglass, vinyl, and clad, to fit your window replacement needs. We’ve been a window replacement contractor in San Antonio since 1989. The windows we offer are catered to best match what you are looking for and that will perform best in the harsh Texas climate. 

We know that finding the right window type for you can be difficult, especially if you’re meeting with a contractor for the first time and haven’t done any research. 

Being educated and prepared as best you can before making any decisions for your project is essential. The more you know about replacement windows, the better decisions you can make. 

This article will outline four things to consider when searching for the right window material for your replacement windows. 

After reading, you can outline your specific goals for your replacement windows and find the best option for your project. 

4 things to consider when choosing the best replacement window for you

1. The aesthetics of the replacement window

The first thing you’ll want to consider for your replacement windows is how you want them to look. 

Different frame materials will give your window a different aesthetic. Wood windows have a traditional and historical look, for example. Fiberglass and vinyl windows provide a more sleek and modern aesthetic. 

Clad windows are a great option if you want a wood frame on the interior of your home but a sleek and low-maintenance exterior. Some fiberglass windows can also be manufactured to mimic the look of wood. 

You’ll also want to consider the color or finish of your replacement windows and how that color will work with the frame material. 

Wood windows can be painted, although it may not be the best frame option for a colored window. 

Most manufactured windows come with a factory finish on them. Depending on who they are made by, they can or cannot be painted over. Some vinyl windows, like Anlin, offer a lifetime warranty for painted frames. This means that the frames can be painted over, whereas other frames are not made for the paint to adhere to properly. 

You also want to think about what style of window you want and how you want it to function. 

Depending on the manufacturer of your replacement windows, some window materials may not be made in specific styles, like double-hung, casement, or awning, for example. You want to make sure the contractor you work with offers replacement windows in the material and style you want. 

So, when considering what window material is best for you, you also want to think about how you want the window to operate.

Overall, having an idea of what you want your new replacement windows to look like will help you narrow down your options for material type. Then, you will have a better idea of what window manufacturers and contractors will provide you with windows that will fit the look you want.

2. The durability of the replacement window 

The second thing you will want to consider when searching for the right replacement window material for you is how durable you want the window to be. Durability of a window means how strong the window frame is and how susceptible to damages it is.

Each window frame material has its own level of durability, though some are very similar. 

High-quality fiberglass windows are durable frames that do not warp or become misshaped under varying temperatures. Wood and clad windows also provide a strong frame that is built to last and will not warp. They have similar durability to fiberglass and high-quality vinyl windows. However, wood windows can be susceptible to rotting. 

Vinyl windows have improved since they first appeared on the market. First, vinyl had a reputation for bending and bowing when temperatures shift from hot to cold. But now, newly engineered vinyl is made to withstand changing temperatures and provide a sturdy frame for your home. 

If you’re looking for a window that will hold up against the weather and external forces, then high-quality fiberglass or engineered vinyl may be the right option for you. If you want sturdiness with the classic look of wood, then wood or clad windows may be right for you. 

For San Antonio homeowners, for example, we recommend a high-quality fiberglass or vinyl window to provide the highest durability and to last in your home. However, choosing a high-quality wood or clad window will also provide you with ample durability and longevity. This is where factoring in aesthetics and style will help you determine what window type is right for you.

It’s important to think about how long you want your windows to last and when considering durability. If you choose a high-quality window type, the durability is going to be similar to other high-quality materials. 

Quality and durability have a direct relationship. So, if you are looking for the most durable window that is going to last in your home, whether it be fiberglass or wood, you will want the highest quality you can find. Though this will cost more for your project, it will align with your goals. 

3. The warranty of the window

Just how different window material types have different levels of durability, they also have differing warranties. 

The warranty of the window tells you all about its quality and longevity. A warranty will also tell you what potential damages are covered for a window, differing for each window material type.

For example, rotting is most likely excluded in the warranty of a wood window but is not included in a fiberglass window warranty.  

If a lower-quality vinyl window is not warrantied against bending, cracking, or misshaping, but you are looking for a durable window, then that window type may not be the best option for you. 

Ultimately, what’s included in the warranty of a window will tell you how long the window is made to last, which can be directly related to the material and quality of how the window is made. So, having realistic expectations for the performance of your window will help you to better understand what type of warranty you need.  

4. The cost of the window

When choosing a window material type, the final factor you want to consider is the cost. 

Vinyl windows can start at $300-$900 for a 3 ft. x 5 ft. window, whereas wood windows can cost $2,200 and upwards for a 3 ft. x 5 ft. window. Now, this is a large range for the cost of the same size window

Depending on your goals for your project, the cost may or may not be an important factor for you to consider. 

If you are looking for the easiest and least expensive option, then you must have realistic expectations for the quality of your replacement windows. The highest quality window will never be the least expensive. 

If you are looking for a long-term, high-quality window replacement, it will cost more, no matter what material you choose. High-quality vinyl windows can cost just as much as fiberglass and wood windows. It all depends on your goals and priorities for your project.

How do I choose the right replacement window material type for me? 

Now that you know the five things to look at when choosing a replacement window material, you can outline your goals for your new windows and pick the right window for you. 

Choosing the right window material for your project all depends on how durable you want your windows to be, what you want them to look like, and how long you want them to last. 

Your first is to create a set of goals for your window replacement project. This is essential to finding the right products and the right contractor. It’s important to have realistic expectations regarding the cost, quality, and longevity of your windows. 

If you want a durable, long-lasting window that is nearly maintenance-free, then a high-quality vinyl or fiberglass window may be right for you. 

If you want a classic and traditional look for your new windows and aren’t afraid of dealing with a little maintenance, then a wood or clad window may be what you’re looking for. 

At Southwest Exteriors, we offer a variety of high-quality window types. We want to provide you with the best options on the market and ones we would recommend for San Antonio homeowners.

We want you to be educated on all that is available on the market, whether we offer it or not, so that you have all the information you need to make the right decision for you. 

As you continue your research into different window material types and work to find the best one for you, you also want to consider different window glass types. 

This article will outline six different types of replacement window glass, how each of them function, and how they look. Then, you can fully understand what you can customize with your new windows and choose the right frame and glass.