The five most common types of window frames are wood, aluminum, vinyl, fiberglass, and steel. Whether you are building your dream house or remodeling the one you currently have, you’ll be sure to find a type of frame that meets your requirements perfectly.
Each type of window frame has its own advantages and disadvantages. So, you should familiarize yourself with the various types of frames available if you want to install the best one for your property.
Wooden window frames are customizable and visually pleasing. Many homeowners choose wood because it never goes out of style. And if your home has a wood exterior it will fit in with the overall look of the house because it can be stained to match your home’s exterior color or to provide an interesting contrast.
This type of window frame has lost its popularity in recent years because wood doesn’t compare favorably with the durability of other materials. Especially in damp climates, wood can rot easily. It is also susceptible to decay as insects and pests like woodworm feed on it. Moreover, wood can easily become faded, chipped and discolored, and the original finish may wear away over time.
However, if wood is your fame of choice, just be sure to maintain it properly. Inspect the frame at least once a year looking for peeling and cracks. Painting and refinishing the wood can help make the window frame look like new, the downside being that doing so will cost money. Read Tips for Maintaining Your Home Window for more information.
Another option is using a wood frame that is clad, or covered, with vinyl or aluminum. This adds durability to the frame while still allowing color matches.
Be aware that wood frames often cost more than any of the other types discussed below.
As a material for a window frame, aluminum is more durable than wood. It is also lightweight and maintenance free. However, the problem with this material is that it is not as energy efficient as wood. Aluminum frames conduct heat and cold.
Still, many homeowners prefer the clean and contemporary look of aluminum frames. And the fact that it’s less expensive than wood easily adds to its popularity.
Vinyl window frames are energy efficient and usually less expensive that other frames. Many manufacturers of this type of frame for home windows even offer a lifetime warranty against the usual window problems such as cracking or peeling.
Vinyl window frames are often paired with insulated glass for added efficiency. Vinyl windows are also available in triple pane varieties that are frequently seen in high traffic areas like airports to make them more durable.
However, vinyl window frames are often not as aesthetically pleasing as wooden window frames. This window frame usually comes in white or almond colors. The limited color options available make vinyl window frames a not-so-popular choice for homeowners who want to spice up the look of their homes. It does not help that vinyl does cannot be painted over.
Also, vinyl windows tend to be less sturdy than wood or aluminum because they can bend more easily.
Fiberglass is similar to vinyl windows but fiberglass is usually more durable. It provides sturdiness because it is resistant to warping and twisting. This strength and durability can be very important if your home is in a harsh climate.
Fiberglass window frames can come in various exterior colors, in addition to the typical white. Aside from this, fiberglass paints well. Fiberglass clad wood windows are also available that will give you the look of wood and the benefits of fiberglass.
The only downside to having a fiberglass window frame is that it is usually more costly than other window choices. The cost may well be worth it if you need a strong window with a long life expectancy.
Steel is architecturally unique and customizable. The window frames made from steel or bronze can come in various colors which mean you can greatly enhance the look of a house. It is also strong and durable and thus can last for many, many years. Its strength also allows you to use more glass in the window.
Homeowners also prefer steel because it is versatile. Steel frames can be found in contemporary homes as well as gothic-themed properties. Aside from residential homes, steel window frames are used in modern day structures like commercial offices, schools, bus stations, hospitals, airports, and retail stores.
Steel windows, however, are often heavier than other types of windows which can add to their installation costs. And they are typically in the same expense range as fiberglass windows.
These are five of the most commonly used materials for frames of home windows. To summarize, wood may provide a classic look but requires ongoing maintenance. Aluminum window frames are lightweight and durable but also conduct cold and heat. Vinyl is less expensive and energy efficient but is lacking in aesthetic appeal. Fiberglass windows are durable, but more expensive. Steel is durable and customizable but like fiberglass, it can be very costly.