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vinyl v. fiberglass replacement windows

Tuna1's picture

anyone comment on Milgard fiberglass versus vinyl replacement windows. My installer tells me that currently there's no tax credit for fiberglass versus vinyl. Strange... fiberglass is about twice the $. Will welcome advice. They'll face north side of house in Tucson. In both cases, low E glass,, etc. the only question is fiberglass versus vinyl. Thanks, Tuna

Well, you asked specifically (post #181412, reply #1 of 15)

Well, you asked specifically about Milgard, but the fiberglass/vinyl question is a good one.

First off, vinyl is not as strong as fiberglass, so the frames are often bulkier. And vinyl should not be painted a dark color because the melting temperature is so low that absorbed heat can compromise the joints and seals of vinyl windows. But those are both asthetic preferences and might not matter to you.

Vinyl is PVC, or poly vinyl cholide. You know how toxic chorline is? Extremely. So yes, you can save yourself some dollars by supporting an industry that poisons our home, but sooner or later the bill will come due, maybe not in our lifetime, or our children's or even great grandchildren's lifetimes, but eventually.

About Milgard in particular. They advertise vinyl whole window (glazing and frame) U values below .2, which is getting pretty good. Their fiberglass sash has trouble getting to .3. I've been told they are developing a better fiberglass frame system to meet demand for lower whole unit U values, but they are not available yet, at least here in Western Washington, which has long been a Milgard stronghold since they have a large plant in Tacoma, WA.

Lots of other companies DO make fiberglass windows that advertise U values below .3, which I'm pretty sure is the bench mark for energy credit tax credits. Unless you are committed to using Milgard for some reason, it might be worth looking into other manufacturers.

>>And vinyl should not be (post #181412, reply #6 of 15)

>>And vinyl should not be painted a dark color because the melting temperature is so low that absorbed heat can compromise the joints and seals of vinyl windows.

Are you familiar whether any problems arise if replacement vinyls are insatlled and exterior storm sash left in place (one su-exposed sides of a structure?)

======================================== "Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary." Reinhold Niebuhr: 'The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness' http://rjw-progressive.blogspot.com/ ========================================

I've certainly seen the (post #181412, reply #7 of 15)

I've certainly seen the plastic trim on a door melt, when behind a storm door.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

"Are you familiar whether any (post #181412, reply #8 of 15)

"Are you familiar whether any problems arise if replacement vinyls are insatlled and exterior storm sash left in place (one su-exposed sides of a structure?"

I'm not, Bob, sorry.  We don't use storm windows here as a rule.  Our climate is very gentle.

I HAVE heard some shockingly low melting temperatures for various vinyl windows, though.  Like 130 degrees maybe?  Not hard to imagine south facing windows in a high heat climate getting that hot - or even replacement windows surrounded by dark painted jambs?
 

No matter to me.  I have fundamental issues with pvc in any form.  Don't like it and don't like to support the use of it.  They can sugar coat it all they want, it's bad in my book.  We either pay for other products now or our descendents will pay eventually.  All the nay sayers have to do is look at lead and asbestos issues we are trying to deal with today. 

Okay.  Had my turn on the soapbox.

Thanks I have just never (post #181412, reply #9 of 15)

Thanks

I have just never thought of overheated vinyl windows behind storm sash as an issue to look for before.

I have seen metal doors painted dark and behind storm sash where the internal insulation has apparently melted (based on sounding the door high and low) and I have heard (at best second hand) of people burning themselves on such doors overheated by sunlight.

======================================== "Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary." Reinhold Niebuhr: 'The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness' http://rjw-progressive.blogspot.com/ ========================================

Fiberglass is greener than (post #181412, reply #2 of 15)

Fiberglass is greener than vinyl, I think. As the other poster pointed out ... the PVC industry has been attacked on several occasions for being notoriously (by nature) very environmentally unfriendly from a number of points of view (from manufacture to disposal).

There ain't NO free lunch. Not no how, not no where!

Tax credit (post #181412, reply #3 of 15)

My recollection is that the tax credit is for energy star windows, period. No difference for fiberglass vs. vinyl.

IMO, pvc as a housing (post #181412, reply #4 of 15)

IMO, pvc as a housing material is for those who want to sell a short term project with maximum profit. The only 'PVC anything' in own house is underground pipe and the vinyl seat cover on my backhoe, and the cover on a few stools. As far as PVC for any type window, be glad you were considering it for North facing only, facing south in Tucson they would last a few years at most before looking just as bad as they do new, probably a lot worse. I do have a few vinyl windows on sheds, but those are ones i got free at garage sales, they look it too, and only a few years old!

Heck, JH, dig around in your (post #181412, reply #5 of 15)

Heck, JH, dig around in your sheds a little -- you've probably got just the windows Tuna needs sitting in a corner somewhere.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

In your case I would (post #181412, reply #10 of 15)

In your case I would definitely prefer vinyl. You should install these.

Jim (post #181412, reply #11 of 15)

check the dates on the posts, this one from tuna was from dec. 09.

He's probably made his decision by now.

 

Also, you might include the reasons for choosing vinyl.

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


http://www.quittintime.com/

 


if you are looking for (post #181412, reply #12 of 15)

if you are looking for insulation your choice has to be vinyl windows but if you are looking for strength and durability, use fiberglass, if you have the budget for it.

 

When you plan to begin a remodeling project, it's best to do your research so you will have the best results without going broke.

lynn (post #181412, reply #13 of 15)

if you are looking for insulation your choice has to be vinyl windows but if you are looking for strength and durability, use fiberglass, if you have the budget for it.

 

Why do you say this?

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


http://www.quittintime.com/

 


In any case the vinyl windows (post #181412, reply #14 of 15)

In any case the vinyl windows will the better one choice over fiberglass windows. Fiberglass is also a good material but on the basis of making doors with it. For windows surely the your bogus spam link removed will be the best material.

Hey Peter-don't try to spam this site.

Howdy, Fiberglass is a better (post #181412, reply #15 of 15)

Howdy, Fiberglass is a better insulator. I asume you might want to consider it in your cooling load calcs.