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Some say fiberglass is the wave of the future. That remains to be seen. There are some advantages of fiberglass frames. Fiberglass is strong when going against the grain. Since Fiberglass extrusions are made by a window 11 iso download, which is the binding of small glass fiber together with glue. This is similar to the process used to produce particle board (gluing of wood fibers). The result is that when fiberglass is hit along the grain it cracks like a hot knife through butter. Remember the major damage on Corvettes when they were involved in “minor” fender benders.

Fiberglass has to be screwed together, leading to weak joints in the movable sashes. Fiberglass and composite window frames also cost more than other types of frames. Plus, since they have to be painted or top-coated at the factory, some colors tend to fade.

Since fiberglass windows are relatively new on the scene, only a few companies currently make them. Therefore, their long-term performance is still uncertain. Fiberglass window frames also cost more than other types of frames. Fiberglass extrusions must be painted because the sun/UV rays will degrades the glue, making the extrusion fragile and susceptible to cracking.

There are additional areas of concern regarding fiberglass. One should think long and hard before choosing this option.

All-aluminum frames

If you want energy-efficient windows, all-aluminum frames should be avoided like the plague. Aluminum conducts heat. In the winter, your heater will need to keep running constantly to make up for the heat loss. Then in the summer, you’ll need to keep your air conditioner running full-blast to offset the hot air circulating indoors.

All-vinyl hollow frames

All-vinyl hollow frames offer some advantages. They are available in some options but due to lack of structural support they are limited in size maximums as well as mulled configurations. They are available in architectural shapes, and various colors. They are energy-efficient, easily customized, competitively priced, and they require very little maintenance. The disadvantage of all-vinyl hollow frames is that they do not possess the strength of metal or wood. This problem can easily be solved, however, by stiffening the vinyl with rigid extruded reinforcement rails.

Completely reinforced Vinyl Windows

A select few windows incorporate the ease of maintenance and low conductivity of vinyl that is reinforced completely with a specially extruded stiffener. The result is the best of all worlds and you get a window that is energy efficient and strong! Homeowners who want the best for their home should strongly consider this option.


With the skyrocketing costs of utility bills and a natural concern for the environment, prudent homeowners should definitely consider the energy-efficiency of a replacement window, among other things. There is a combination of factors that contribute to the overall energy-efficiency of a window. The type of frame, the number of glass panes, the type of coating and the number of coats applied to the surface of the panes, the type of filling that goes between the panes, and the type of security locking system all contribute to the energy-efficiency of a window. We’ll consider each of these factors, one at a time.


When looking for an energy-efficient window, the first thing to look for is the Energy Star label. Energy Star is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy, which was formed to help homeowners save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. If a window carries the Energy Star label, it has been approved as energy-efficient and may qualify for up to $1,500.00 in a tax credit for 2010. But be careful. Not all Energy Star labeled windows qualify for a tax credit. Furthermore, not all windows that do qualify for a tax credit are as energy efficient as others. For example, in order to qualify for the tax credit, new windows must have a U-factor and Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) less than or equal to 0.30.

Remember: a window may have the Energy Star label, but it may not meet the.30/.30 requirement. In such a case, it will not qualify for the tax credit. Also, there are many windows on the market that have a much better U-factor than.30, meaning they are much more energy-efficient than those windows that barely meet the minimum standard. Some windows, in fact, have a U-factor as low as.21. Keep in mind, the lower the U-factor, the more energy-efficient the window. U-factors can be checked by visiting the NFRC (National Fenestration Rating Council) website at


One of the contributing factors of a window’s energy-efficiency is how many panes a window has. Some claim that dual paned windows are just as energy-efficient as triple-paned windows. Others maintain that triple-paned windows are more energy-efficient.

Though it is true that a dual-paned window with a soft-coat Low-E coating will usually have better thermal performance numbers than a triple-paned window without a Low-E coating, it is equally true that a triple-paned window with two surfaces coated with a Low-E soft-coating is more energy-efficient than a dual-paned window with a soft-coat Low-E coating.

Here’s what Energy Star says:

“All energy efficient windows have at least two panes, but not all double-paned windows are energy efficient. Twenty years ago, double-paned meant energy efficient; today, advanced technologies have enabled the development of windows that are much more efficient than traditional clear-glass double-paned windows.”

Two of those advanced technologies include multiple soft coating and filling the spaces between the panes with inert gas.


Coatings can be applied to the window panes to make a window more energy-efficient. However, not all coatings are created equal. Double soft coating is superior to single soft coating and vastly superior to pyrolytic hard coating. A window’s overall energy-efficiency can also be improved by applying a double soft coat Low-E to two of the three panes of glass in a triple-paned window.Each coat contains many layers of atomically thin metal oxides.


The spaces between the panes should be filled with inert gas to increase energy-efficiency. Argon is predominately used while some claim they use Krypton. Because Krypton is extremely more expensive than Argon it is unlikely a low price window really uses Krypton. A select few manufacturers have developed mixtures of gas to be filled in between the glass. The result is a more expensive and energy-efficient window than one utilizing straight Argon. The resulting improvement in energy efficiency will typically pay for the increase in cost.


One thing that is often overlooked is the security locking system of a window. Most windows have flimsy latches that make it easy for a burglar to break through. Though we’ve said a lot about energy-efficiency, keeping your valuables and loved ones safe and secure is certainly more important than saving a few pennies on utility bills. A top-of-the-line security system may bring the overall energy-efficiency of a window down a tad. But the minuscule drop in energy-efficiency will be more than compensated by the peace of mind you’ll experience knowing your home is safe and secure.

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