Replacing Windows--Which Frame Material is Right for You?
When you are replacing windows in your home, you need to decide which material is best for your window frames. There are different advantages with each type of frame material.
- Vinyl Windows. Vinyl window frames are extremely popular for replacement windows because they are relatively cheap, lightweight, durable, require little maintenance, and provide a high level of insulation. They are manufactured in a range of colors but not all manufacturers produce colored vinyl windows.
- Wood Windows. Many people prefer wood when they are replacing windows because of the traditional look of wood. Wood window frames can be made of solid wood or wood cladding over vinyl or aluminium. Using wood cladding when replacing windows has the advantage of looking just as good as solid wood but it limits the maintenance issues of wood windows. They need to be painted and weatherproofed and will eventually degrade and rot. Wood window frames can be installed clad with a more durable material on the outside so that you get the look of wood inside and the properties of vinyl or fibreglass, for example, on the outside.
- Fiberglass Windows. Fiberglass window frames are constructed in a similar way to modern boat construction. They are lightweight, strong, and durable like vinyl, but unlike vinyl they can be painted so you can change the color as you can with wood.
- Aluminum Windows. Aluminum is rarely used for replacement windows in residential properties any more, largely because it is not a good insulator and easily transfers the outside temperature to the inside.
Whatever kind of window frame material you choose when replacing your windows, make sure you use a reputable contractor. Look for the ENERGY STAR rating appropriate for your area to make sure you aren't wasting energy through your windows.
Karin has worked as a freelancer for over ten years, writing informatively about a wide range of subjects. She has a PhD and a background in education and research.