Windows Calgary

Old West Windows & Doors is one of Calgary's leading window installation and replacement companies. Serving Calgary, Airdrie, Okotoks and surrounding areas for 20 years.

How to Choose What Type of Window Frames to Buy

Understanding the Difference Between Vinyl, Fiberglass, and Metal-clad Wood Windows

So you have identified that the time has come to replace your windows. It is not hard to tell in weather like this when a window is faulty. Drafts throughout the house, fog and condensation on the inside of the panes … no thank you. I want to be warm for the remainder of winter.So now that you have started researching products available, the question becomes, what type of windows should I buy?

We offer a variety of products from vinyl to fiberglass to metal-clad wood. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. 

Vinyl Windows Calgary

Vinyl Windows

Vinyl products are generally the most economical and maintenance-free. Vinyl won’t rot, chip, peel or blister. They are versatile, and durable, able to withstand any kind of weather. They are highly energy efficient.

Vinyl products also have an extremely low hail damage effect due to the material’s durable nature.

Many accessories are available for vinyl products, which makes them ideal for renovation projects and new home builds.

Many Calgarians choose vinyl for its durability, easy installation and variety of shapes, colours and styles available. Products can be custom made for your specifications for no additional cost.

For top quality vinyl, look for window frames with heat-fused joints. They are stronger than mechanically joined frames, providing more durability in climates with variable weather patterns, like Calgary. Additionally, look for interior chambers, which strengthens the frame and improves energy efficiency.

To summarize, vinyl is:

  • The most economical
  • Maintenance free
  • Durable with extremely low hail damage effect
  • A good choice for renovations or new home builds
  • Available in a variety of shapes, colours and styles


Fiberglass Windows Calgary

Fiberglass Windows

Fiberglass products are exceptionally strong, stable and maintenance-free.

This material is better quality than vinyl, and provides a look of traditional painted wood windows, yet with much greater strength.

Fiberglass is an innovative product, relatively newer to the market. Due to its strong durable nature it is able to hold very large panes of glass, and is highly energy efficient.

The material is also able to withstand Calgary’s variable climate, and with an even lower hail damage effect than vinyl.

The reason for this is because fiberglass is made of tiny glass fibers set in resin so the material expands and contracts very little and at the same rate as glass, which places less stress on the seals increasing the useful life. Fiberglass frames won’t crack from dryness, swelling peeling or warping because of the compositional nature of the material.

In addition, fiberglass frames can be painted, but they do not need to be treated, as a wood frame would, with preservatives to prevent rot or decay. Also, the material will not deteriorate if the paint is scratched.

Fiberglass windows can be custom made to match exact colour and size requirements for your home. This makes the products suitable for window replacement, renovation or custom home build.

Wood interior trim is available in an assortment of options, such as pine, Douglas fir or primed wood. With many of the fiberglass products available the interior wood finish is sleek, with no nail holes or staples making it perfect for staining, sealing and painting. To summarize fiberglass is (has):

  • A better quality material
  • Higher in cost than vinyl
  • A stronger frame
  • Better hardware
  • Even less hail damage
  • Highly energy efficient
  • Able to have a wood interior finish
Metal Clad Wood Windows Calgary

Metal-Clad Wood Windows

Metal-clad wood windows offer the very best quality available. They are a modern design update from traditional wood windows.

Meal-clad wood windows are called such because they are comprised of an exterior metal cladding, and an interior wood finish.

The strong exterior metal cladding eliminates any need for exterior finishing or maintenance. Protective metal cladding has a baked-on finish that doesn’t need to be repainted over time.

The metal exterior is profoundly durable, with heavy, impact resistant aluminum components. High sash thickness provides strength and aesthetics. Mortise-and-tenon joints provide durability.

Integral nailing fin and corner gaskets eliminate risk of water and air infiltration.

Interior wood can be chosen from a variety of wood types, finished or unfinished, paired with an equally extensive option for metal clad colours to match or compliment your home. To summarize metal-clad wood is (has):

  • Very best quality; strength durability and energy efficiency
  • Wood on the inside and a metal clad exterior
  • An elegant appearance
  • A higher price point

The graph below compares vinyl, fiberglass and metal-clad wood, what they call composite (which can be a variety of product combinations). They also included wood and aluminum. None-the-less the chart provides additional insight into the qualities of the different materials.

Window Frame Material Comparison Chart

Ultimately, if you have any questions about which material to select, consult your Calgary window replacement expert. We are always happy to assist our clients in selecting the product most appropriate for their unique needs and requirements.


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Old West Windows & Doors is one of Calgary's top rated windows and doors installation companies. Our industry leading 12-year installation guarantee will ensure you will enjoy your beautiful new windows and doors for years.


All our installations come with the manufacturer’s product warranty and our own 12-year installation warranty. Old West windows and doors stand the test of time.


Old West Windows & Doors is owned and managed by Rick Whatley and son Cory Whatley. Serving Calgary, Airdrie, Okotoks and surrounding areas for 20 years.


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