Window Frame Materials
Choose from several types of materials for your new window frames.
One of the most important features of your home, windows not only offer ventilation and increase your curb appeal, but they are a key factor in your home's energy efficiency. With today's technology and innovation, there are lots of window styles and materials to choose from. The window frames are the structural base which holds everything together. The frames play a prominent role in how your windows function.
Your choice of material will determine the insulation, security, energy efficiency, and home value. So, while it may be tempting to choose the frame material that seems most visually suited to your tastes, there are a few important factors you should consider in terms of window durability and lifespan.
We at Mum City Windows are here to help walk you through different options and help you make an educated decision for your home. So let’s explore some of the different framing material options together, their pros and cons, and why you may decide to go with one over the others.
Types of Window Frame Materials
The traditional wooden windows are a go-to choice for you if you would like a sophisticated or a classic aesthetic appeal in your property.
- Wooden frames are durable, strong, and naturally good insulator and sound barrier.
- Good for customization, as wood can be easily cut and painted.
- Does not allow for condensation buildup as much as other materials.
- Wood frames are more expensive versus vinyl or fiberglass
- They need more maintenance as they are prone to moisture, weather damage and insects. Being a natural material, wood is also more susceptible to rotting. So, wood frames will require re-painting and caulking.
Vinyl window frames are one of the most popular choices these days and for good reasons. Made of PVC (polyvinyl chloride), a material commonly used in many household and plumbing products, vinyl frames are strong and easy to clean and maintain. Vinyl will not become dull or fade over the years, and it is a more economical choice.
- Extremely energy-efficient material, enhancing the function of Energy Star rated windows. The hollow space inside the frame can be filled with insulation.
- Airtight, ensuring no air enters or escapes your home to help regulate temperatures.
- Resistant to moisture, UV rays, corrosion and rotting.
- Very low maintenance, don’t require painting, and are easy to clean.
- Available in various designs and you can choose one to go with your architectural layout
- Extremely long lifespan of 15-20 years.
- Very affordable compared to other materials.
- Vinyl is less durable and strong when compared to wood, fiberglass, or aluminum
- Vinyl frames don’t offer the same aesthetic charm like wood or aluminum.
- Vinyl cannot be painted, so it is less customizable.
- Vinyl cannot be recycled at the end of its life.
Very sleek looking in appearance, aluminum frames don’t require much upkeep and are a very popular choice. Aluminum is both very lightweight yet durable. It’s strength can hold larger panes of glass so that more daylight can come into your home. However, one thing to be aware of is that aluminum performs the poorest for energy efficiency and insulation because aluminum metal is a conductor.
- Durable, strong yet light in weight.
- Easy to install.
- Look modern and sleek, perfect for contemporary-style homes.
- Allows for more customization and the creation of unique shapes since aluminum is easy to manipulate.
- Frames can be fairly narrow compared to other materials allowing a larger glass area and an expanded view which lets in more natural lighting
- Very easy to maintain -- resistant against rot, mold, insects, UV and weather-related wear and tear.
- Aluminum is not a good insulator, making it the least energy-efficient material choice because they easily absorb and conduct heat. However, you can combine them with other materials to increase their efficiency.
- Aluminum windows also fall under the expensive category of window frames
- It is common for moisture to become trapped inside aluminum window frames.
- Aluminum is prone to oxidation if your home is near the sea.
Fiberglass window frames are made from fine sand which is a natural and sustainable material. The core can be filled with foam, producing a durable end result and making them even more energy-efficient. Pleasing to the eye and similar in appearance to wood window frames, they are a very durable choice and can last many years. Fiberglass may appear a bit dull compared to aluminum or wood, but you can paint the frames in any color you choose.
- Fiberglass windows are durable and very easy to maintain and is resistant to flaking, peeling, insects, mold, rotting and corrosion.
- Able to withstand extreme temperature changes without warping or expanding, fiberglass window frames offer fantastic weather- and temperature-resistance
- Fiberglass is an excellent insulator and are extremely energy-efficient especially when the core is filled with foam.
- It is an eco-friendly and recyclable material if the core is not filled with foam.
- Fewer customization options are available for fiberglass in terms of hardware.
- Installation may take a little longer.
- Fiberglass window frames have a higher cost compared to other materials.
Wood-clad frames are made by a solid wood frame covered by an exterior of fiberglass or aluminum. The two materials combined allows for frames that look as if they are wooden without the maintenance that fully wood frames require.
- With care and maintenance, these windows are durable and will last a long time.
- Wood-clad frames need much less maintenance than fully wood-framed windows.
- They are visually appealing and offer a wide range of color and customization options.
- Wood-clad window frames could be more expensive than other options.
- The cladding may become weak and actually separate after a long period of time.
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