Choosing Windows & Doors
Exterior windows and doors must provide security, weather-proofing, and aesthetic appeal to your home or business. So it’s important that they be of high quality and properly installed. Genesis Exteriors offers you more than a decade of award-winning service and expertise installing windows and doors at homes and businesses throughout South Central Wisconsin. And we only recommend and install windows and doors rated “highly recommended” by Consumer Reports.
Aluminum windows used to be the first choice for durability, lightweight strength, and low maintenance but has been largely displaced by vinyl-clad and fiberglass offerings, which offer superior thermal efficiency.
Casement Bow Window
Casement Bay Window
Our experts can show you many types and styles of windows. They will advise you about which kinds are best for your particular needs and application. And our experienced craftsmen will install them at your home or business with the diligence and professionalism for which the Genesis name is known throughout Madison and South Central Wisconsin.
Which is the right kind of Door for you?
Entry and exterior doors have changed significantly over the past few years. There are nowadays hundreds of options, from conventional wood to high-tech fiberglass composites, and steel doors that incorporate a combination of materials. The hybrid that’s best for you depends on your particular needs and application.
In general, wood doors are the most aesthetically pleasing, steel the most economical, and fiberglass the most durable and energy efficient. But similar to windows, modern hybrids can provide more than one of these benefits.
For example, some wood doors have steel interiors; some steel doors have wood exteriors; a fiberglass or steel door might have a wood frame; and nearly any door might have a foam core.
Our experts can show you many types and styles of doors. They will advise you about which are best for your particular needs and application. And our experienced craftsmen will install them at your home or business with the diligence and professionalism for which the Genesis name is known throughout Madison and South Central Wisconsin.
Fiberglass Replacement Windows
Everything being equal, a very good case can be made that “poltruded” fiberglass is your best all-around value. Pultrusion is the process of mixing fiberglass strands with a proprietary resin and then pulling them through a heated die. The result is protruded fiberglass, a material with performance characteristics better than aluminum, vinyl, wood, or steel. What does that mean for you?
Fiberglass replacement windows are strongest.
Protruded fiberglass is stronger than aluminum, wood, or vinyl. It will not rot or warp as might wood. Nor will it shrink, sag, or crack, as might vinyl. That’s a pretty good start. But more subtly, protruded fiberglass expands and contracts at basically the same rate as glass.
This means that there is less gapping between the window glass and frame as weather changes from one extreme to the other—not like that ever happens in the Wisconsin. So there is much less air leakage and much less stress on locking mechanisms.
To put that into perspective, aluminum expands-and-contracts at triple the rate of glass; vinyl at seven times the rate; and wood is even more active than either, depending on the species. So there are a lot more opportunities with wood, vinyl, or aluminum for gaps to develop, leaking your expensively heated or cooled air into the great outdoors.
Fiberglass replacement windows are more thermally efficient.
Protruded fiberglass has air trapped inside of it, which happens as it’s pulled through a die to create it. Thus it is much more thermally and acoustically efficient than vinyl or wood or aluminum. In contrast:
- Aluminum is actually an excellent conductor of heat, cold, and sound. So window frames made of it need to have a “thermal break.” In other words, they are hollow and filled with an insulator, which makes them inherently less sturdy and not as acoustically or thermally efficient as fiberglass.
- Vinyl is not as rigid—let alone as strong as protruded fiberglass. So vinyl window frames necessarily include steel or aluminum stiffeners, either of which is an excellent conductor of heat and cold, thus decreasing the overall thermal efficiency of vinyl relative to fiberglass.
Fiberglass replacement windows are available in more colors—and can be repainted a different color.
Because protruded fiberglass conducts comparatively no heat, fiberglass replacement windows are available in heat-absorbing darker colors that would otherwise warp vinyl or wood. Color is added to the fiberglass during the protrusion process, so it runs throughout the material rather than just lying on top. That makes it more fade-resistant. If you scratch the surface the color is still there. And protruded fiberglass can be painted a different color if you wish to do so down the road.
Fiberglass replacement windows are eco-friendly
Fiberglass is essentially made from glass, which is essentially made from sand: definitely a renewable resource. It takes much less energy to make fiberglass than other comparable window framing materials. This is called “embodied energy,” and fiberglass contains approximately 80 percent less embodied energy than steel and 39 percent less than vinyl.
Best Seller: Marvin Integrity
Vinyl-clad Replacement Windows
Vinyl replacement windows are the most common sort of replacement window and have so far proven to be an excellent product. They are so-named because their frames are fabricated primarily from polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Other materials are used for hardware and reinforcement, of course. But the primary exposed material is vinyl, which makes them virtually maintenance-free relative to wood: no painting, scraping, or puttying…and there is no such thing as a PVC-eating termite.
Strength and durability of higher-quality vinyl replacement windows
The best vinyl replacement windows have a “chambered” design, making them quite sturdy. Newer to the market are Cellular PVC windows in which all the vinyl components are solid. As mentioned above, vinyl replacement windows have a good track record but haven’t been around long enough to make definitive statements about the expected lifespan. So the guarantee you’re offered is an important consideration.
Esthetics of Vinyl Replacement Windows
Vinyl replacement windows can be had with a stamped grain that makes them look like wood from a distance. As with fiberglass replacement windows, the color goes through-and-through, so any scratches are virtually invisible. However, your choice of colors is much more limited than with fiberglass replacement windows. This is because PVC can warp in extreme heat, so heat-absorbing darker colors are necessarily avoided by manufacturers. Vinyl replacement windows cannot be repainted—so make sure the color you choose today is the one you’ll want 20 years down the road.
Quality differences among various brands of vinyl replacement windows
There is a wide range of quality when it comes to vinyl replacement windows. Good ones tend to be very good and bad ones very bad. To protect the Genesis brand, maintain our reputation, and earn repeat business, we only offer higher- and highest-quality vinyl replacement windows. Beware of any Madison replacement window contractor who “competes on price” by offering low-end brands of vinyl replacement windows. They tend to warp, then leak, or otherwise fail in just a few years. It happens—and it happens a lot.