When looking for replacement window frames, five types are worth investing: wood, vinyl, aluminum, fiberglass, and composite.
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The quality of your window frames will determine how long your windows’ structure will be able to withstand the wear and tear of time. Some will last for decades, whereas some will start to fall apart in just a few years.
With most window frames claiming durability, low maintenance, and energy efficiency, factors such as climate change and overall appearance must also be considered. Let’s take a look at the most common types of window frame materials.
Wooden window frames have been used for more than a hundred years and until now, their aesthetic appeal still has not lost its touch. Known for their durability and easy to maintain, repair, and replacement features.
Wood is an excellent insulator, which is one reason these kinds of frames have been favored by homeowners. With the proper moisture treatments and finishes, wood will not expand and contract. It can last a decade before it will need sanding and a fresh coat of paint to make it look brand new again.
When choosing the right kind of wood for your windows, you have several options. There’s pine, redwood, Accoya, idigbo, oak, and Sapele wood choices. They can be purchased pre-primed, which will save you a lot of time during installation. Wooden window frames can be a quite expensive.
Vinyl window frames are made from a polyvinyl chloride material, also known as PVC. These types of frames are not only affordable, but also highly durable. Vinyl frames are mostly known for their durability and affordability compared to wooden and aluminum frames.
Vinyl window frames will not bend, peel, crack or warp and can withstand direct sunlight. Vinyl is also popular due to its versatility. It can mimic any style you are looking for and even create designs unique to your preference.
Because of their hollow pockets, vinyl frames can provide additional needed insulation, which can even lower your energy costs.
Requiring less maintenance than wood, aluminum windows are easy to maintain. Aluminum frames will not rust, do not shrink, and are weather-proof (with the exception of sea air).
They are less expensive than wooden frames but are more costly than vinyl. They are not ideal for colder regions and are not efficient if intended for insulation purposes. Aluminum doesn’t hold in heat as well as other materials.
But if aluminum frames are a must for your home, consider adding thermal breaks to your aluminum windows. These are resins and insulators inserted inside the aluminum frames’ hollow parts where heat would generally travel through.
Between the wood, vinyl, and aluminum window frames, fiberglass is the most durable. Its durability comes from the glass fibers inserted to ensure maximum strength, enabling it to support more oversized windows.
Unlike the other materials available for window frames, they are not easily scratched or damaged and resist denting. However they can fade in sunlight.
Their excellent ability to tolerate the extremities of cold and heat conditions allows them to be highly energy efficient. These types of frames have excellent sound-resistant capabilities.
Fiberglass window frames are more expensive than wood and vinyl. They may have fewer options in the color department than wood as well.
Composite window frames are also referred to as clad wood frames. They are a combination of two materials; wood, aluminum, vinyl, or fiberglass. These combinations make them great options for those looking for a more affordable option.
They are mostly considered by homeowners that want to maintain the look of wood on their window frames while incorporating vinyl, fiberglass, or aluminum materials for added durability.
Composite frames are more resistant to humidity and condensation buildup caused by moisture. They can tolerate extreme weather conditions, especially in homes facing the coasts.
The wood and aluminum combination or aluminum-clad wood frames are lighter in weight than the other window frames. The only downside is that aluminum is also known as a conductor of heat. Without proper ventilation in your home, you will encounter window glass condensation with aluminum frames.
Vinyl clad wood frames are also energy efficient like the wood and aluminum combination frames. They are, however, not as strong and may experience contraction and expansion. Most factories will offer vinyl that resists fading, peeling, and warping. You can also paint the vinyl, but it is advisable to ask your contractors if that might affect its warranty.
These frames offer more superiority, longevity, and longer-term stability over the others. With strong resistance to expansion and contraction, they allow the windows to be tightly secured, allowing less air to seep out or come in.
When replacing window frames, the most crucial factor is the actual installation. If an installation is done wrong or by unqualified experts, it can lessen the window frames’ effectiveness and efficiency regardless of the material used.
Make sure that the entire process of replacement from start to finish is done correctly. If not, you may end up spending more money on re-installations than a simple replacement.
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