Replacing old windows will freshen up your home’s appearance while curbing energy use and enhancing home value. After all, the first thing that people see when they see your home (outside of your Pittsburgh parking chair) is your home’s exterior. Composite replacement windows have been gaining traction in recent years, so how do they compare to energy-efficient vinyl windows in Pittsburgh?

What are Composite Windows?

Composite windows are newer than vinyl windows, which have been around for decades. These windows are made from a blend of materials similar to what your car’s bumper is made of. including resin and fiberglass. And the window frame, much like a car bumper and the Steelers’ defense is flexible yet strong.

While you can usually tell a vinyl window by its appearance, composite windows look more like wood windows. This may be beneficial if you have a historic home that would look strange with modern windows. But don’t start submitting your home to any of the Carnegie Museums yet, because even modern homes can enjoy the rustic look of composite windows. While they mimic the look of wood, they do not come with the maintenance of a wood window, which means no more scraping or painting to keep windows looking sharp.

Composite replacement window prices in Pittsburgh vary by the features selected, including window color and type of glass. In general, the prices for these windows fall between wood and vinyl. This often makes them a happy medium for Pennsylvanian homeowners who want wood windows, but cannot afford them or do not want to maintain them.

Features of Vinyl vs. Composite Windows

With vinyl vs composite windows, because unlike Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, there are more similarities than differences.


Both types of windows are low maintenance. Even in the high weather variances in the City of Champions, they need no painting, staining, or scraping and they are impervious to rot. Both may require periodic lubrication and cleaning to operate smoothly and look their best.


Vinyl and composite windows come in an array of colors, which means that most homeowners will be able to find the black and yellow scheme that matches their home’s style and color palette. And of course any other colors you might want to have.

Energy Efficiency

Composite windows offer a high degree of energy efficiency, as do vinyl windows. With both types of windows, homeowners have options to enhance energy efficiency. Taking a page right out of the Carnegie Science Center’s book, the low-e coating blocks solar heat gain to keep the home temperature steady with lower energy consumption. Triple-pane glass provides superior comfort over old single-pane windows.

You can recycle composite windows towards the end of their life span like the leftover fries you put on a Pittsburgh salad, a benefit that may appeal to eco-conscious homeowners.

Vinyl vs Composite Windows Cost

Vinyl windows cost less than composite windows and offer a high amount of energy efficiency, thanks to the naturally insulating properties of the PVC, the type of plastic used to create vinyl windows. Vinyl windows can be created in nearly any shape or size you like, which means they are a good choice for most applications.

Vinyl vs Composite Windows Durability

While you shouldn’t plan for extensive maintenance for either composite or vinyl windows, both could become dinged by hail. Vinyl windows can sometimes warp when exposed to high heat, which means that composite may be a better choice for hot climates. For temperate climates with occasional heat waves, you can safely choose vinyl or composite. So with the hot summers and cold winters, you can take your pick of the window you prefer in the Steel City.

While they may have a lower price point than other windows, vinyl windows are hardly low-quality. They typically last 30 years before they need to be replaced, and they won’t rust the way aluminum or Pittsburgh steel windows will.

There are plenty of styles of both composite and vinyl windows for “yinz” to choose from. But instead of walking down to the Strip District like you’re used to for most other things, start your search for replacement windows by browsing top styles from bay to double-hung to casement. Reach out to get a free quote for window replacement in Pittsburgh from the pros at Window Nation.