Sunroom Windows: Choosing Between Acrylic, Glass & Vinyl

Sunroom Windows:  Choosing Between Acrylic, Glass & Vinyl

When you start thinking about building a sunroom, you probably consider a number of different options, such as the design of the framing or the type of screening you’ll install. One facet that you may overlook, however, is the material used in the windows of your sunroom. When homeowners are considering windows for a sunroom, many people assume that glass windows are their only option.  Sunroom windows come in three different types.  Glass windows seem to be the standard for a sunroom window, but acrylic and vinyl panels are attractive alternatives to traditional glass.

Sunroom Window Ideas

Acrylic Panels Are Inexpensive and Light

Compared to traditional glass windows, acrylic windows can be an attractive budget material for sunroom windows. Acrylic is a type of rigid clear plastic, and each acrylic window panel is typically much lighter than a comparable glass panel. Acrylic windows are less expensive to manufacture than glass windows, and their light weight makes them inexpensive to ship, store and install. Acrylic is also resistant to sharp blows, and if an acrylic panel does crack, it’s less dangerous than a shattered glass window.

However, acrylic windows do offer some drawbacks when compared to glass. Acrylic is sensitive to both temperature and humidity differences; over time, all but the thickest of acrylic panels will begin to bow out of place. It’s also much easier to scratch an acrylic panel, and they require special cleaning materials to avoid putting unsightly cleaning whorls into the panel. Finally, acrylic panels are sensitive to UV radiation and will eventually yellow.

Sunroom Glass is Traditional and Durable

Glass windows are more expensive than acrylic, but they are also a more durable long-term material when purchasing windows for a Florida sunroom. Most glass windows are naturally resistant to UV radiation and will prevent some UV rays from entering your sunroom. Glass is tough enough to resist all but the most stubborn scratches. Glass is also an excellent insulator, especially if you upgrade to double-paned or triple-paned sunroom windows.  You can still have a screen with your glass porch enclosure to let the fresh breeze in the sunroom during the cooler months.

However, glass is a heavy material, and the weight of this material will force some limitations to your sunroom designs. The window panels themselves are more expensive to purchase, and working with glass is more expensive along all stages of the installation process. Glass is also prone to shattering, and shattered glass can give painful lacerations.

Clear Vinyl Window Panels Are an Attractive Alternative

Clear vinyl window panels offer a compelling alternative to both acrylic and glass panels and are not to be confused with vinyl window frames. These panels are constructed from a flexible, thick and durable clear vinyl material. The lightweight panels are an excellent choice for sunroom sliding windows.  Our favorite type of vinyl window panel is the vertical four-track window.  They can easily give you up to 75 percent ventilation in your sunroom. Proper screening behind the panels allows you to enjoy the benefits of outside weather without sharing your space with bugs. The panel material deforms when pressure is applied and returns to its original shape within minutes, preventing damage to your panels. Even if a panel is damaged, you won’t have to deal with dangerous glass shards.

Additional Reading: Building a Florida Sunroom

Lastly, any of these windows can be used as sunroom replacement windows. Dulando Screen & Awning wants to be your sunroom builder regardless of your preferred window material.  Let us help you build the sunroom of your dreams. At Dulando, we’ve been building custom sunrooms in Florida for over 50 years. Contact us online for a free estimate, or call us at 407-862-6060 to find out how we can help you start enjoying your own sunroom.

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