Windows and doors are two of the most important features of your home. Windows not only offer ventilation and increase your curb appeal, but they can also enhance security and energy efficiency. With the improvement in technology and innovation, there are so many window types and styles available to go with your property’s architectural style and meet your specifications. Now, when you are investing in replacing your old windows or getting new ones, another notable factor to consider is the types of window frames. Since they act as the structural base, they play a prominent role in the long-term functioning of your windows. Always start with the frame and then focus on the glass panes. Now, to help you make an informed decision, we have described the major types of window frames below, each with its individual pros and cons.
Vinyl window frames
Vinyl window frames are manufactured from PVC (polyvinyl chloride), which is first carved into a straight shape and then made into a frame.
- These types of window frames are quite affordable
- They don’t require painting and are moisture-resistant
- The hollow spaces in such frames can be filled with insulation material, making them excellent insulators
- Vinyl frames are available in various designs and you can choose one to go with your architectural layout
- Vinyl is not much durable and less strong when compared to wood, fiberglass, or aluminum
- Vinyl frames don’t offer the same aesthetic charm like wood or aluminum
Aluminum window frames
Aluminum is one of the most common and popular frame materials since it is light and durable.
- Aluminum frames are lightweight, robust, and long-lasting
- These types of window frames are available in sleek and modern designs, making them perfect for contemporary homes
- Aluminum structures allow ample daylight, are sunlight-proof and are quite easy to maintain
- They are resistant against rot, mold, and weather-related wear and tear
- Aluminum windows are not energy-efficient 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
Fiberglass window frames
Fiberglass is manufactured from fine sand, is a sustainable material, and can be painted to mimic wood. Although they are not so common, they are a durable and affordable option.
- Fiberglass windows are long-lasting and quite easy to maintain
- These types of window frames offer good weather- and temperature-resistance
- This material is an excellent insulator and ensures good energy efficiency
- Fiberglass may appear a bit dull when compared to wood and aluminum. You can address this drawback by painting it in a color of your choice
- This material is quite expensive in comparison to all other frame types
Wooden window frames
The all-time classic wooden windows are a go-to choice for homeowners who want a vintage, sophisticated look in their properties.
- Wooden frames are durable, strong, and naturally good insulators
- They offer a wonderful aesthetic appeal to your home
- These types of window frames are quite expensive when compared to vinyl or fiberglass
- They demand frequent upkeep and maintenance as they are prone to moisture and weather damage
Composite window frames
Composite frames mimic wood and are made by combining several wood products such as strand lumber, particleboard, and wood fiber. This inner material layer is then covered with vinyl or aluminum to protect the wood within.
- Composite frames offer good moisture and damage resistance
- They possess the same structural strength and thermal properties as real wood
- They are expensive than the other types of window frames
Additional points to consider when selecting window frames
Before choosing your window frame material, ensure that you measure the exact size of your opening. Get this job done by a professional expert. This step is important; otherwise, you will end up buying frames that are too big or too small. Bigger sizes mean you shall have to cut away some of the extra material, leading to wastage and increased labor costs. Smaller sizes shall lead to an improper fitting, thereby, causing drafts and moisture to seep into your interiors.
Replacing vs repairing
Why go for replacing frames, when you can easily repair them? Check the condition of your window frame and glass before taking a decision. Especially wooden frames, if not excessively damaged, can be easily revamped with commercial kits available in the market. Old frames do not have much value in the resale market anyways. So, maybe, you can consider repair instead of replacement in such cases.
Full frame vs divided windows
There are two types of window frames, the full and the divided category. Now, if you want an unobstructed view of your outdoors, you can go for the full option, with undivided and huge glass panes. Divided window frames, which feature sections with small pieces of glass between each, lend that classic look of glass panes.
Read more: 2019 Window And Door Trends
Several attributes come together to create energy-efficient, durable, functional, and aesthetic windows — the frames being one important aspect. Other factors that you should consider are the glazing or glass features, gas fills and spacers, and the window type and its operation. Also, consider the warranty. Read the label carefully and understand the period plus conditions covered under the offered warranty. That’s it. Once you are clear about your requirements, you are all set to embark on that window shopping journey!