Sunrooms – Glass Windows vs. Acrylic Windows for Florida Homes

By Published On: December 21, 20165.4 min read

Benefits of Glass Windows vs Acrylic Windows for Florida Sunrooms?

The addition of a new sunroom is an excellent choice when looking to add more living space to your Florida home. In our previous article we helped Florida home-owners learn more about the different types of sunrooms available to them as well as why sunrooms are a good investment. In this article we are going to discuss the benefits of Glass Windows vs Acrylic Windows for a new Florida sunroom.

When looking to build a new sunroom, you will learn quickly that there are a variety of different options available to you. Making the right decision is critical for the overall performance of your new sunroom addition when you are considering Glass Windows vs Acrylic Windows. One of the most important decisions you will have to make, is the type of windows to install in your sunroom. When deciding on the type of window it’s important to keep in mind Florida is typically warm all year-round. You should also consider the direction that your new sunroom will face, the time of year it will be used, and most importantly how it will be used. At this point you may be asking yourself “should I choose Glass Windows or Acrylic Windows for my new sunroom?” There is no need to feel overwhelmed, at Lifestyle Remodeling we offer a free design consultation to help you choose the sunroom windows that will be a perfect match for you and your home.

Glass Windows vs Acrylic Windows for Florida SunroomsWhen deciding on the type of windows to install in your new sunroom you should consider, the cost, strength, durability, clarity, and insulation. Cost is something we all deal with especially when it comes to choosing windows for a new sunroom. Acrylic windows are more affordable and cost less than glass windows. The cost of an acrylic window in most cases is lower in comparison to an equivalent size glass window. One reason acrylic windows are less expensive is because glass is thicker and weighs more. With acrylic sunroom window density ranging from 1150 to 1190 kg/m3, they are almost half the density of glass sunroom windows which range from 2400 to 2800 kg/m3. Since acrylic windows are less dense it also means they weigh less than glass windows. The density of the acrylic window makes them cheaper to manufacture, transport, and takes less time and manpower to install. The savings are generally passed on to the consumer, making acrylic sunroom windows the more affordable alternative to glass sunroom windows.

A general rule to remember when purchasing sunroom windows is “you get what you pay for”. With that said, the upside to choosing acrylic sunroom windows is they are more affordable than glass windows. The downside is that they lack the strength, durability, clarity, and insulation that comes with installing glass sunroom windows. When it comes to window strength glass windows are much stronger than acrylic windows. A very common problem many Florida homeowners are faced with, is the tendency for acrylic windows to permanently bow in hot weather while introducing cooler temperature on the inside and air conditioning the space. Climate control will invalidate the acrylic window warranty in most cases. Therefore, we usually recommend installing glass windows to all our customers who are looking to build a new sunroom addition.

Glass windows are much better option when it comes to both durability and clarity. As far as durability is concerned, at the end of the day acrylic is just a type of plastic. Even if you take as many precautions as possible the chances of scratching an acrylic window are far greater than that of a glass sunroom window. Glass windows can scratch as well, however it has a resistance to scratching many times greater than that of acrylic windows. All it takes is one mishap of someone or something scraping against the acrylic window. Depending on the severity of the scratch, you may be faced with having to replace the entire section of acrylic window.

Another inherent flaw of acrylic is its inability to stand up to the suns strong UV (ultra violet) rays, and can possibly turn yellow over time. There are many plastic materials out there that claim to be “UV Resistant”. That is exactly what it is, resistant not UV proof. No acrylic is UV proof. Over the long run there is no additive that can make plastic/acrylic stand up to UV light as long as glass. Eventually the elements will get to it. If you are looking for a sunroom that offers the best clarity, then we definitely recommend glass windows.

The last important factor in choosing the right window is the amount of insulation your new sunroom will need. The level of insulation will ultimately determine how energy efficient your new sunroom will be.

  • Tempered Glass: Tempered glass will not shatter and is the type typically used for doors and safety areas. This significantly reduces injury and minimizes storm damage. Although more expensive, it is far stronger than other types and is well worth the cost.
  • Single Pane Glass: This is usually the least expensive glass that is typically used in a sunroom. Although single pane panels are easy to install and like acrylic you may be tempted to use them based on cost. Keep in mind that they do not block as much UV rays, and aren’t very energy efficient.
  • Double Pane Glass: Double pane windows are a good option, especially if you are looking to use your sunroom all year round. Double panes have inert gases between panes for energy efficiency and can also help protect your furniture from harmful UV rays.
  • Low-E Glass: Low emission glass windows are coated to prevent harmful UV rays from entering your sunroom and for keeping the heat in. Radiant heat from inside the sunroom in winter is reflected back inside and conversely, heat from the outside is reflected away.
  • Glass Coatings: Naturally clean glass. It harnesses the sun’s UV rays to loosen dirt so water can rinse it away, leaving windows virtually spotless. Your windows will stay cleaner longer and will clean easier. The titanium dioxide layer of Neat glass reacts chemically with the sun’s UV rays and causes organic materials that are on the glass to decompose. It works even on cloudy days, as 80% of UV radiation gets through cloud cover. Thus when it rains, the decomposed dirt no longer clings to the glass, easily rinsing away.
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