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Once you’ve decided that you want to replace or install new windows, you’ll need to choose a window frame material. There are different types of window frames and it’s crucial that you settle for a material that meets your needs and expectations. Start by asking yourself what you’re looking for in a window. Here are the types of window frame materials to consider.

Different Types of Window Frames

Vinyl

Vinyl window frames are made up of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), the same material widely used in pipes and plumbings. This is also a popular window frame material because it’s durable and affordable. Vinyl is also preferred over aluminum in areas with extreme temperatures because it does not conduct heat to its own frame like aluminum does, thus causing aluminum framed windows to have glass seal failure more often than any other window frame on the market.

Pros:

  • Low Maintenance
  • Low on Energy Cost
  • Versatility
  • Inexpensive
  • Lifetime Warranties
  • Weather Proof

Cons:

  • Difficult to PaintDifferent Types of Window Frames

Wood

Wooden window frames are not only aesthetically pleasing but also effective insulators. They resist the cold and keep the heat inside. Wood frames are mainly popular in the Midwest and East Coast – where it’s old and cold! The drawbacks of wood are the high maintenance costs and susceptibility to wear. Wood will also contract and expand depending on the weather so you need to spend time and money to sand, paint and seal it. Nonetheless, wooden frames are the most popular ones used in most houses as they’re durable if well maintained. They’re also easy to own, fix and replace.

Aluminum

Aluminum windows have been used in both modern and classic architecture, mainly because of their longevity and durability.

Pros:

  • Weather-proof
  • Easily blends in with modern and classic architecture.
  • Low Maintenance: it doesn’t split, shrink, rust or fade.
  • Outperforms vinyl and wood in noise abatement.

Cons:

  • Aluminum conducts in heat and cold, which makes it non-ideal for areas with extremely hot summers, or even cold and snowy winter seasons.
  • It’s cheaper than wooden frames but more expensive than fiberglass or vinyl.

Fiberglass

Although fiberglass window frames are not common, they’re still known to be low maintenance and extremely durable. This type of frame is made from extruded fiberglass sections that are then formed into a frame. The resulting appearance is like PVC window frames.

Pros:

  • Fiberglass frames may resemble PVC, but they’re more durable and can be repainted.
  • Weatherproof
  • Low maintenance
  • Sound resistant
  • Best insulator frame 

Cons:

  • Though fiberglass is more efficient and durable, it still resembles PVC, so it’s not surprising that some homeowners prefer PVC because fiberglass is more expensive, if not the same price as the wooden frame.

Composite

Composite window frames are composed of a mixture of plastic and wood by-products. They come close to wooden frames, are structurally sound, low maintenance and effective insulators. When compared to wood, they have a better thermal resistance. Although composite frames are made of wooden byproducts, they handle moisture quite well.

Bottom Line

If you are choosing windows, it is important to know the different types of window frames. Window frames are the structural backbone of your windows. Investing in a quality frame, therefore, will keep your window structurally sound for decades to come. When buying new or replacement windows, it’s crucial that you know the type and size frame before making a purchase. For more information, our professionals here at Affordable Windows Exteriors are ready to answer any questions you may have.

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