Articles

What you need to know about residential window frames

1805563_orig

If you’re in the market for new or replacement windows, chances are you’re looking at different frame materials and trying to decide which is best for your home and budget. Not only does the frame affect the look and cost of the window, but the material also contributes to its overall durability and energy efficiency

While vinyl, wood, fiberglass, wood/plastic composite, and aluminum are all common frame materials, each has its advantages and disadvantages. Below are some pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.

Vinyl Frames

Pros:

  • Offer high value at a low cost
  • Provide resistance to heat transfer and good insulating properties
  • Resist fading, dirt, stains, mold, scratches, and dents
  • Will last a long time and are virtually maintenance-free

Cons:

  • Are not as durable or stable as other options, and are susceptible to seal failure
  • Are not as aesthetically appealing as other options
  • Offer a limited color selection and cannot be painted
  • Can warp or flex in extreme heat
Wood Frames

Pros:

  • Provide excellent insulation from weather and sound
  • Complement any design scheme and architectural style
  • Can be stained, painted, or left in its natural color
  • Will last a lifetime or more with regular maintenance

Cons:

  • Require more maintenance than other options, such as resealing and refinishing
  • Expand and contract in response to weather conditions
  • Can warp, buckle, and rot, and are susceptible to termites and deterioration
  • Cost more than vinyl, but add value to a home
Fiberglass Frames

Pros:

  • Can provide a look that’s similar to wood
  • Provide strength and durability to hold large expanses of glass
  • Won’t leak, warp, expand, contract, or rot
  • Won’t fade but can be painted if design schemes change

Cons:

  • More expensive than other options
  • Options are somewhat limited
  • Relatively new framing material, so long-term performance is unknown
  •  Not as maintenance-free as vinyl or aluminum
Composite Frames

Pros:

  •  Are made from two or more frame materials—typically wood fiber and an epoxy resin—offering the benefits of each
  •  Offer thermal and structural properties that are similar to wood, but better moisture and decay resistance
  •  Interior can be painted
  • Require little exterior maintenance

Cons:

  • Cost more than vinyl, but less than wood
  • Relatively new framing material, so long-term performance is unknown
  • Limited number of manufacturers
  • Although they can be made from recycled materials, they cannot be recycled themselves
Aluminum or Metal Frames

Pros:

  • Offer strength and durability with slim frames to help maximize views
  • Long-lasting and reliable
  • Require little maintenance
  • Can be painted

Cons:

  • Not common for residential windows
  • Not as energy efficient as other materials and poor insulating properties will make the frame get hot when it’s hot out and vice versa
  • Not as visually appealing as other materials
  • Known for allowing condensation to build up between window panes

The good news is that no matter the type of framing you prefer, Suntuitive glass can be used in any of them! Questions? Let us know in the comments.

Related Articles