Pros and Cons of Different Types of Window Frames
When shopping for new or replacement windows, one very important factor to consider is the window frame material. The frame is a structural backbone of a window, choosing the proper frame material for your project will ensure the windows will function for decades rather than years.
When picking out new windows, first focus on the frame itself, then worry about the glass panels. Before making the final purchase, it's very important to know what size and type of frame you need. Below we are going to be looking at the pros and cons of four different frame material options:
Vinyl Window Frames
Vinyl window frames are made from PVC (polyvinyl chloride) which is the same material they use to make plumbing pipes and fittings. These windows are known to be good insulators and are very affordable. Since vinyl is a very versatile material, you can get it for almost any window style, making it a great choice for custom designs or non-standard shaped windows.
Vinyl windows don’t look as aesthetically pleasing as wooden or aluminum windows and aren’t the most durable option. Even when made out of high-quality vinyl, they still lack the strength of fiberglass, wood, or aluminum window frames.
Aluminum Window Frames
Aluminum windows are very durable and last a long time. They have a very modern look and work great with a modern style of architecture. Aluminum windows require almost no maintenance. They allow more sunlight into the building when compared to other frame types due to their thinner frame profile. The reason for their thinner frames is because aluminum is a very strong material.
Aluminum doesn’t mold or rot which is a common problem that affects vinyl, wood, and fiberglass windows and they don’t fade from the sun. You can also get aluminum windows powder coated or anodized for added protection and durability.
Aluminum is a good thermal conductor which means it isn’t as energy efficient, even though the manufacturers try to boost this drawback with other innovations. Aluminum windows aren’t good for colder climates since they fall short in terms of efficiency compared to other material types. Aluminum windows are also more expensive than vinyl or fiberglass, yet they are a little bit cheaper than wooden windows.
Fiberglass Window Frames
Fiberglass windows are fairly new and therefore less common. They are very easy to maintain and are constructed from extruded sections similar to vinyl frames. Fiberglass windows are better than any other window material in resisting weather and temperature changes. Fiberglass itself is a good insulator which makes the window frames very good at keeping the heat in a building.
When compared to aluminum or wood, fiberglass is somewhat dull in appearance. Of course, you can try and enhance their look by painting them a different color. Fiberglass windows are also very expensive and may cost more than aluminum or even wooden windows. Since fiberglass windows are similar to vinyl frames yet cost much more, many people choose vinyl windows for their homes.
Wooden Window Frames
When properly maintained, wooden framed windows can last just as long and are as durable as other window frame options. Wooden windows have been used for hundreds of years and still offer the same aesthetic appeal and strength that they always have.
Wood windows are fairly expensive when compared to vinyl or aluminum windows. They also require the most maintenance when compared to other options. When failing to repaint them, they may suffer from expansion and contraction from the moisture. In certain climates, they are also more prone to weathering and rotting.
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