When we talk about window frames, we need to see beyond aesthetics and cost. There’s no doubt that the price tag is almost always the number one determinant of our final choice. But to start off on the right foot, forget about that for a minute. Focus on what you need and what your priorities are.
Well, if going through the trouble of taking a close look at all window frames just to confirm that you cannot afford the best ones then why bother, you wonder! Because you need to know what’s on the market before you select.
And then, it depends on whether you are looking for one replacement window or multiple. Or, if you can replace windows one by one, and get the good frames. It’s a hassle. I know. But it’s totally worth it – that’s if you are interested in having energy efficient windows and really resistant frames.
You see, frames play as much role as the glazing in the security and energy efficiency of the home. And so, if you consider the value for money, you are a winner. You are spending more today but less in the long run, by cutting down on energy costs and better protecting your home.
We should be happy. We live in an age where we can find anything we want on the market. Also, technology allows for the combination of materials, great qualities, products that can last for many years and offer you everything all-in-one: beauty, good thermal and noise insulation, high-security, convenience.
The basic players in the window framing industry? Wood was the king for decades. Still is. Then aluminum took over. Later, materials started mixing up – not always with the best aesthetic results but with an eye on better performance. So, let’s take a look at the pros and the cons of the main window frames.
Wood window frames
If you are planning window installation, do consider wood frames. Unless you dislike wood altogether, it’s the material that will certainly do two things: increase the value of your home and significantly improve its elegance. Wood is also a natural insulator and thus, along with energy efficient glazing, it will make a difference. With all that said, let’s focus on the disadvantages. As a natural material, wood contracts and expands. This means more work for you in the long run – something like sanding, sealing, and painting. Yes, the good thing is that wood can be painted – any color you like. But you will have to do some maintenance over the years. Plus, you need to know that wood may warp, crack, bend, or peel – not a good choice for humid areas. Also, they are very expensive.
Aluminum window frames
Aluminum windows dominate the market for decades basically due to their high resistant to all weather conditions. The material is durable and won’t mind heavy rainfall and high humidity, but won’t insulate at all. It’s also resistant to cracking and peeling, and it won’t warp or bend – all great elements that will add to the window frames longevity. But they fall short of energy efficiency and that’s a big downside while, at the same time, their price is not attractive either. But if you live in a humid area and want resistant window frames, aluminum is a choice to strongly consider.
Vinyl window frames
Vinyl window replacement options are great if you care for some average frames, which will not disappoint but won’t impress either. They do provide sufficient energy efficiency and are quite strong but lack the beauty of real wood or when compared with the modern looks of aluminum. To their defense, they do the job and do it for years. Also, they are some of the most affordable options. But since vinyl is actually PVC, it may eventually warp should the climate is quite hot.
Fiberglass window frames
Fiberglass is one of the best choices when it comes to the material picked for window and patio installation projects. It’s very strong and resistant – hence, long lasting. It’s also lightweight and gives some of the best insulation values. Although they are not the best choice in terms of appearance, fiberglass window frames are found in many colors and so, you won’t lose in this sector either. Their main disadvantage? They are expensive.
Composite window frames
Composite frames may not share the natural charm of real wood but don’t share the downsides of timber either. Composite is made of plastic and various wood byproducts. So, it looks like wood but doesn’t have the same qualities. The performance of composite frames is excellent if you consider that this is a very low maintenance material with good insulation values and resistant to the elements. But their cost is found at the upper end of the pricing spectrum – not a good thing but the material’s excellent qualities make it worth considering.