Window Replacement Comparison for Minneapolis Homes

Quick Guide To The Differences Between Wood, Composite, & Vinyl Windows

Choosing the right material for replacement windows in the Minneapolis and St. Paul areas can be tough. The truth is that all window materials have their own unique advantages. The question is, which material has the most and best benefits for Twin Cities homeowners?

Here is a brief look at the differences among the Twin Cities’ most popular window materials: Wood, composite, and vinyl..

Wood Windows

Let’s be honest: Wood windows are gorgeous. The issue, though, is that appearance is about the only advantage wood windows have. Do you want to keep your wood windows looking beautiful? Then be prepared for a whole lot of maintenance; regular painting and scraping are a must.

Another problem with wood windows is that they are prone to rotting, warping, and insect infestation (wood windows are like candy to bugs). Wood windows also have a high rate of expansion and contraction. This means they can swell in the summer (making them harder to open) and shrink in the winter (allowing drafts into your home).

Even with all of these issues, wood windows will still drain your bank account—they are one of the most expensive options for window replacement in Minneapolis, St. Paul, and the surrounding areas.

Bottom Line: Wood windows look spectacular, but they are expensive and require constant maintenance. If you don’t mind the high price tag and regular upkeep, wood windows might be a good choice for you.

Composite Windows

Composite windows (a.k.a. Fibrex from Renewal By Andersen) are a 60% vinyl, 40% wood hybrid. The exterior of a composite window is made of vinyl, while the interior is comprised of wood.

An important thing to note is the wood in composite windows is actually leftover sawdust from the manufacturing of other windows. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. But composite window companies typically market composite windows as having the “strength and stability of wood,” while failing to mention that this “strong and stable” wood is… you know, sawdust.

Homeowners consider the biggest drawback of composite windows to be the hefty price tag. Composite windows are exceptionally expensive—basically on par with ultra-high cost of wood—even though they look and function much the same way as vinyl windows.

Bottom Line: Composite windows are low maintenance just like vinyl, but at a much higher cost. If you’re considering composite windows, determine whether that extra cost is worth paying.

Low-Quality Vinyl Windows

There is a large number of vinyl windows on the market—and they wildly vary in quality. The huge number of choices makes it hard for most homeowners to determine which ones are good and which ones are bad.

An easy way to spot low-quality vinyl windows is that they often have a “plastic look” that lowers curb appeal. In addition, they are not very energy efficient (read more about window energy efficiency in the Twin Cities here) and are also prone to chalking and fading.

Bottom Line: Low-quality vinyl windows are cheaper on the front end, but don’t often look good or perform well. You may save money up front with cheap vinyl windows, but you will end up paying more—much more—in the long run.

High-Quality Vinyl Windows

For homeowners looking for replacement windows in the St. Paul and Minneapolis areas, high-quality vinyl windows provide exceptional performance, looks, maintenance, and value.

High-quality vinyl windows do not have the “boxy, plastic” look low-quality vinyl windows do; they also usually have more glass area. In addition, high-quality vinyl windows are much more energy efficient.

Advantages of high-quality vinyl windows:

  • Durable
  • Resist rot, infestation, or moisture damage
  • Low maintenance—no painting or staining
  • Energy efficient
  • Beautiful, often available wide range of colors
  • Reasonable price

Bottom Line: High-quality vinyl windows offer all the features homeowners want in a window. They look great, operate smoothly, are energy efficient, require little maintenance, and can even come with a Lifetime Warranty.

Fiberglass Windows

Fiberglass windows are for Twin Cities homeowners looking for Class-A curb appeal and THE best durability. Fiberglass windows have exploded in popularity because they combine many of the best features of other window materials. Need proof? See how our own Zen Master Series Fiberglass Windows provide the best of all worlds when it comes to windows.

Have more questions about the right window material for your home? Contact us today. We provide the best vinyl Replacement Windows for Minneapolis, St. Paul, and beyond. We would love to discuss your project with you.