(C) J Wiley, S Bliss Properties of Aluminum & Fiberglass Windows & Skylights & Doors
     

  • DOORS & WINDOWS, ALUMINUM or FIBERGLASS - CONTENTS: Guide to types of aluminum or fiberglass windows and doors
    • Aluminum or fiberglass window materials & construction
    • Solid vinyl, fiberglass, aluminum composite window & door properties
    • Aluminum or fiberglass window certifications
    • Aluminum or fiberglass window Standards
    • Aluminum or fiberglass window efficiency features & energy ratings
    • Aluminum or fiberglass window & door manufacturers list: where to buy windows & doors, flashings, skylights
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about fiberglass windows & skylights or about aluminum windows & skylights
  • REFERENCES

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In this article series we describe the selection and installation of aluminum or fiberglass windows and doors, and we describe standards and efficiency ratings for modern windows.

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Guide to Properties of Fiberglass Windows

(C) J Wiley, S BlissIn this article series we discuss the selection and installation of windows and doors, following best construction and design practices for building lighting and ventilation, with attention to the impact on building heating and cooling costs, indoor air quality, and comfort of occupants.

We review the proper installation details for windows and doors, and we compare the durability of different window and door materials and types. This article includes excerpts or adaptations from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction, by Steven Bliss, courtesy of Wiley & Sons.

Introduced in the early 1990s, a few manufacturers now offer windows built entirely of a tough composite called pultruded fiberglass.

Unlike the layers of fiberglass cloth and resin used in boat and car construction, fiberglass window components are made from continuous glass fibers saturated with a thermoset resin and pulled through a heated die in a process called pultrusion. The result is a thin, strong composite that can be formed into detailed shapes and is used in a variety of high-tech applications.

Pultruded fiberglass is noted for its high strength, durability, and corrosion resistance. It is unaffected by temperatures up to 350°F and has an extremely low rate of thermal expansion—about the same as window glass.

Because the frame and glass move at the same rate, temperature changes place less stress on the window frame and glass edge seals. Manufactures claim that pultruded fiberglass will not crack, peel, or warp and is impervious to moisture, insects, salt-air, and UV exposure (Figure 3-6 at left).

Depending on the manufacturer, fiberglass frame components are either hollow or filled with foam or fiberglass insulation. The insulated frames are the most energy efficient on the market.

Most fiberglass frames are shipped with a high-performance baked-on factory finish, and they can be repainted on-site if desired. Installation is the same as for vinyl and other flange-style windows but without concerns related to sagging or thermal movement.

Manufacturers currently offering fiberglass windows include Milgard Windows and several Canadian manufacturers, including Fibertec and Thermotech Windows.

Guide to Properties of Aluminum Windows

As noted in Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction Chapter 3, BEST PRACTICES GUIDE: WINDOWS & DOORS:

While aluminum is strong, light, and durable, with an anodized or baked-on finish, it has been steadily losing market share since the early 1990s due to its poor energy performance. Fewer than 15% of windows sold today are aluminum, and these are mainly in lower-end housing in cooling-dominated climates.

The poor insulating qualities of aluminum have less of an impact on cooling than they do on heating since the indoor and outdoor temperature difference is generally much smaller in cooling climates. Adding a thermal break can improve the energy performance of an aluminum window, but it still lags considerably behind wood and vinyl components.

Window and Door Resources: where to buy window and door products

As noted in Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction Chapter 3, BEST PRACTICES GUIDE: WINDOWS & DOORS:

Windows and Patio Doors

  • Andersen Windows and Doors www.andersenwindows.com Vinyl-clad windows and patio doors, including storm resistant models
  • Atrium Companies Inc. www.atriumcompanies.com Vinyl and aluminum windows and patio doors
  • Certainteed Corp. www.certainteed.com Vinyl windows and patio doors
  • Crestline Windows and Doors www.crestlinewindows.com Wood, vinyl, and aluminum-clad windows and patio doors
  • Eagle Windows and Doors www.eaglewindow.com Extruded-aluminum-clad windows and sliders with LVL frames and steel entry doors
  • Fibertec Windows and Door Manufacturing www.fibertec.com Pultruded fiberglass windows and doors
  • Hurd Windows and Doors www.hurd.com Wood, vinyl, and aluminum clad windows and patio doors
  • Jeld-Wen Windows and Doors www.jeld-wen.com Wood, vinyl, aluminum-clad, and aluminum windows and patio doors
  • Kolbe Windows and Doors www.kolbe-kolbe.com Wood, vinyl, and aluminum-clad windows and patio doors
  • Marvin Window and Doors www.marvin.com Wood and extruded-aluminum-clad windows and patio doors, including true divided lites and storm-resistant models
  • Milgard Windows and Doors www.milgard.com Wood, aluminum, vinyl, and fiberglass-clad windows and patio doors
  • MW Windows www.mwwindows.com Wood, vinyl, and vinyl-clad windows and patio doors
  • Peachtree Doors and Windows www.peach99.com Vinyl-clad and aluminum-clad windows with optional hardwood interior; aluminum-clad, steel, and fiberglass patio doors with optional hardwood interior
  • Pella Windows and Doors www.pella.com Wood and aluminum-clad windows and patio doors with optional between-the-glass shades and blinds, including storm-resistant models
  • Thermotech Windows Ltd. www.thermotechwindows.com Complete line of fiberglass pultruded windows
  • Weather Shield Windows and Doors www.weathershield.com Wood, vinyl, vinyl-clad, and aluminum-clad windows and patio doors, including historic replacement windows and storm-resistant models
  • WindsorWindows and Doors www.windsorwindows.com Wood and vinyl windows and patio doors, including a line of wood windows with a cellular-PVC exterior

Skylight Manufacturers & Product Sources

  • Andersen Windows and Doors www.andersenwindows.com Skylights and roof windows with exterior sash clad with glass-fiber-reinforced material
  • Milgard Windows and Doors www.milgard.com Skylights with aluminum frames (thermal break optional) with vinyl subframes on operable models; optional motorized controls with rain sensor
  • Pella Windows and Doors www.pella.com Wood interior, aluminum exterior, optional motorized controls, and manual or motorized fabric-pleated shades
  • Roto Frank of America www.roofwindows.com Wood interior, aluminum exterior, optional motorized controls, and manual or motorized fabric-pleated shades; Sweet16 model fits 16 in. o.c. framing
  • Velux America Inc. www.velux.com Skylights and roof windows with wood interior and aluminum-clad exterior. Options include insect screens, blinds, motorized controls and shades with rain sensor, electrochromatic glass, and flashing kits for metal and tile roofs and mulled units
  • Skylight Light Tube Manufacturers & Sources
  • SolaTube www.solatube.com Light tubes from 10 to 21 in. in diameter; options include electrical lighting, daylight dimmer, and integral bath fan
  • Sun-Tek Skylights www.sun-tek.com Light tubes from 10 to 21 in. in diameter; options include electrical lighting and multitube Spyder skylight
  • Velux America Inc. www.velux.com Sun Tunnel light tubes from 14 to 22 in. in diameter with flexible or rigid tubes

Industry Associations for Windows & Doors

  • American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) www.aamanet.org
  • Efficient Windows Collaborative www.efficientwindows.org
  • National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) www.nfrc.org Sustainable by Design www.susdesign.com
  • Shareware calculators for sun angles, solar heat gain, and shading
  • Window and Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) www.wdma.com

-- Adapted and paraphrased, edited, and supplemented, with permission from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction.

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