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Impact Window and Door Materials

Aluminum Vinyl Fiberglass Illustration

This information on this page was last updated on July 10, 2024

Impact Window and Door Materials

Florida's vibrant lifestyle comes with a responsibility – safeguarding your home against the elements. Impact windows and doors are a crucial line of defense, offering unmatched protection during hurricanes, storms, and even stray objects. But with various material options available, choosing the right one can feel overwhelming.

Three of the most popular impact window and door materials are aluminum, vinyl, and fiberglass. To help you make an informed decision for your Florida home, here are some pertinent details of all three.

Aluminum: Strength and Style:

At the heart of an impact window or door lies laminated glass. This isn't your ordinary windowpane. It's a multi-layered composite consisting of two or more glass plies bonded together by a strong, transparent interlayer – typically a polyvinyl butyral (PVB) sheet.

  • Durability: Aluminum is a naturally strong and lightweight material, making it ideal for large windows and doors. It can withstand harsh weather conditions, including Florida's salty coastal air.
  • Design Flexibility: Aluminum offers a wide range of design options, allowing for slim profiles and modern aesthetics. It can be painted to match your home's exterior for a seamless look.
  • Drawbacks: Aluminum conducts heat efficiently, which can be a concern in Florida's hot climate. Without thermal breaks (insulating inserts), aluminum windows and doors can transfer heat into your home, increasing cooling costs.

Vinyl: Energy Efficiency at its Finest:

  • Energy Champion: Vinyl is a champion of energy efficiency. It naturally insulates well, helping to keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. This translates to significant savings on your energy bills.
  • Low Maintenance: Vinyl requires minimal maintenance compared to other materials. It's resistant to rust, corrosion, and fading, making it a low-maintenance choice for Florida's humid climate.
  • Style Considerations: While vinyl offers a classic look, it may not be suitable for all architectural styles. The color options for vinyl are typically more limited compared to aluminum.

Fiberglass: The All-Around Performer:

  • Strength Meets Efficiency: Fiberglass offers a unique blend of strength and energy efficiency. It's incredibly strong and can withstand hurricane-force winds, yet it also insulates well, helping to reduce energy costs.
  • Low Maintenance: Similar to vinyl, fiberglass requires minimal maintenance. It's resistant to rot, corrosion, and salt spray, making it ideal for Florida's coastal environments.
  • Aesthetics: Fiberglass can be molded to resemble wood, offering a more traditional look than vinyl or aluminum. However, it may be a more expensive option compared to the other two materials.

Choosing the Right Material for Your Needs:

The best material for your impact windows and doors depends on your priorities and budget. Here's a quick guide:

  • Prioritize Strength and Design: Fiberglass offers a unique blend of strength and energy efficiency. It's incredibly strong and can withstand hurricane-force winds, yet it also insulates well, helping to reduce energy costs.
  • Focus on Energy Efficiency: Opt for vinyl for its superior insulation properties and cost-saving benefits.
  • Desire Strength, Efficiency, and Aesthetics: Consider fiberglass for its well-rounded performance and traditional look.

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