When you ask many homeowners about windows, the only ones that they can usually tell you about are vinyl windows. The manufacturers of vinyl windows were very good at getting the word out about their less expensive replacement window option and many homeowners did indeed replace their old windows with the new vinyl.
Now that vinyl has been on the market for a while though, homeowners are finding out that vinyl may not be everything that they were promised.
What are Vinyl Windows Made Out Of?
Vinyl windows are made from a process that takes oil (or natural gas) and combines it with water and salt. The material that it creates is resistant to weather, mold, mildew, rust, and doesn’t have to be repainted.
However, it is not resistant to temperature changes. It is affected by heat and cold, and gets soft when it is exposed to the heat of the sun. When the material gets soft it warps; which can directly damage the window and affect its energy efficiency.
Fibrex Windows: An Alternative to Vinyl
Many homeowners have never heard of Fibrex because it is not something that is available everywhere. Fibrex is a material that was created by Andersen after over 90 years of research into alternative ways to create the best windows possible for our clients.
Fibrex is made from a combination of recycled wood fibers and thermoplastic polymer. Just like vinyl, it is also resistant to weather, mold, mildew, rust, and doesn’t have to be repainted. Fibrex is not affected by the heat or cold like vinyl is.
How Both Vinyl Windows and Fibrex Windows Affect the Environment
- “…manufacturing vinyl it may cause the following: Cancer, Endometriosis, Neurological damage, Immune System damage, Respiratory problems, Liver and Kidney failure and birth defects.” (University of California, Davis)
- “When PVC burns it lets off toxic gases such as hydrogen chloride long before it ignites. Then as it burns it continues to leave behind toxic dioxin waste.” (University of California, Davis)
- “They’re recyclable. Vinyl, like other thermoplastics, can easily be melted and remolded into new products without losing its chemical characteristics. According to the American Architectural Manufacturing Association, vinyl production is more than 99% efficient, and, in 1997, more than a half-million tons of the plastic were recovered and recycled into other useful products.” (National Association of Certified Home Inspectors)
- The insulating properties of Fibrex allow less energy to be used to keep the interior of a home to a comfortable temperature. With less energy being needed to regulate the temperature inside a home, fewer of our natural resources are being used to create energy for that home.
- A Fibrex frame does not use any wood preservatives, so Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions are reduced. At a high enough concentration, these emissions are harmful to both humans and plants.
- Fibrex is made from recycled material. Fibrex is a blend of 40% wood fiber and 60% thermoplastic polymer. The wood fiber is reclaimed material from the Andersen manufacturing process and even part of the thermoplastic polymer is reclaimed. In addition to other materials being recycled to make Fibrex, even pre-consumer Fibrex is recycled to make new Fibrex.