Renewal by Andersen® replacement windows feature frames made with our exclusive Fibrex® material, which counts long-term performance among its advantages. In this blog, Renewal by Andersen of Eastern NY takes a look at how Fibrex was tested for long-term performance.
A 20-Year Study
The true test of replacement window’s long-term performance is in seeing how it does in real-world conditions. Building material manufacturers run their products through various industry-approved standard tests, which include extended exposure to simulated conditions, including exposure to UV rays and temperature extremes.
At Renewal by Andersen, we thought we’d take these endurance tests to another level by installing replacement windows on actual homeowners’ homes and see how they fare in real-world conditions. In a recently concluded 20-year durability study, we installed replacement windows in 10 homes in Minnesota, a state known for its brutal winters and muggy summers. Window installation was conducted by our trained installers. The participating homeowners were then instructed to simply use these windows as they normally would. Follow-ups were then made to check on the windows’ condition.
20 years later, we came back and had the windows removed and taken back to our facilities for analysis. The findings were astounding; the windows were found to be in almost the same condition as they were when installed. No warping, moisture damage, or even hardware issues. This is why we have utter confidence in offering a 20-year limited warranty on our Fibrex frames and sashes.
Finding a Better Frame Material
We often get asked what sets Fibrex apart from other frame materials. Our parent company Andersen Corporation realized early on—as far back as 1958, in fact—that they needed a frame material that’s better than what’s available. This makes them the first window company to develop their own exclusive material for replacement windows. It is meant to replace the replacement window material choices of the time:
- Aluminum — was ruled out early on because of its inherent conductivity, which is not a good characteristic for energy-efficient windows. While aluminum is still in use today, it’s rarely ever used by itself, but rather cladded with other materials like wood.
- Wood — Wood remains a strong and durable replacement window frame and sash material, and can even be on par with energy saving windows in terms of energy performance. However, wood vulnerable to moisture intrusion and warping from exposure to temperature extremes, as well as moisture intrusion. Without frequent maintenance, wood frames can be vulnerable to rot.
- Fiberglass — Fiberglass and other similar composites are durable, but are far too rigid for use on custom window shapes. While Fibrex is similar to fiberglass, as in they are both composites, fiberglass is basically plastic reinforced with glass fibers. This makes it difficult to create extruded profiles, limiting window styles to “standard” window styles.
- Vinyl — Vinyl requires minimal maintenance and can be molded into custom shapes and sizes. However, the color selection can be lackluster depending on manufacturer. It also doesn’t hold up well under extreme temperatures, which may cause problems especially with vertically-oriented window styles like casement windows.
After years of research, Fibrex has surpassed all expectations when it comes to all window frame requirements. It has since become the standard frame material for Renewal by Andersen replacement windows.
Advantages Over Other Window Materials
Wood and vinyl remain two of the most popular window replacement options. Wood, because it can be sourced from sustainable sources. It’s durable, but needs a lot of care and maintenance. On the other hand, vinyl may not be as durable as wood, but, as mentioned earlier, requires minimal maintenance.
Fibrex combines both benefits, without cladding or sheathing one material over the other. The material itself is both durable and low-maintenance. These features let us build slimmer frames that can support large glass areas without compromising its integrity or performance. Also, the factory-applied finishes are warranted not to crack, blister, or peel during its lifetime.
How Fibrex Is Made
As a company that builds custom windows, Andersen Corporation knew they needed a material that has all the pros and none of the cons. Research for Fibrex may have begun in 1958, but it wasn’t until 1991 when it was patented and introduced to consumers.
Fibrex is a composite made of wood fibers and polymer. The wood fibers are responsibly sourced from Andersen Corporation’s woodworking facilities in Minnesota, where Frenchwood® patio doors are built. Trimmings that can’t be used for other wood parts are collected for manufacturing Fibrex, which significantly helps reduce waste material in our facilities. These wood pieces are then pulped, dehydrated, and bonded with polymer on a molecular level.
The resulting material, Fibrex, proved to be better than the sum of its parts. The wood fibers gave it the strength and durability of natural wood frames but without the warping that natural cellulose fibers are vulnerable to. The polymer gave it low maintenance qualities and stability as well as inherent insulation. The combination of the two substances also resulted in superior strength. Customers can have a large bay window with slim frames (which means more glass areas) without compromising long-term performance.
As the aforementioned 20-year study proved, Fibrex performs better than most replacement window options in the market today, making Renewal by Andersen replacement windows more than just a home improvement: it’s a real investment.
Renewal by Andersen of Eastern NY is the replacement window contractor to turn to for all your window and patio door needs. Give us a call at (866) 479-1700 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.