Properties of Aluminum & Fiberglass Windows & Skylights & Doors
ALUMINUM or FIBERGLAS DOORS & WINDOWS - CONTENTS: Guide to types of aluminum or fiberglass windows and doors. Aluminum or fiberglass window materials & construction. Solid vinyl, fiberglass, aluminum composite. Aluminum or fiberglass 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.
In 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.
Introduced in the early 1990s, a few manufacturers now
offer windows built entirely of a tough composite called
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
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.
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
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
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