Window Frame Materials


There are so many options out there when choosing windows that the decision making process can be quite overwhelming! From glass, frame material, to what type of sill you prefer, choosing the right windows for your home should not be a task that is taken lightly. This post will focus on the types of frames choices you have for your new replacement windows.

Windows frames come in a plethora of different materials. They are typically composed of one material, but are also available in a combination of materials, like wood windows clad with vinyl or aluminum, or aluminum frames with vinyl reinforcement. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of a few popular types of window frame materials available today:

Aluminum Frames: These frames conduct heat, and therefore lose it faster. Because of this, they can be prone to condensation. Be sure to choose aluminum that has been anodized or coated, because without it, you could find your metal deteriorating and critical joints in your structure can fail as a result of two different metals interacting. Choose windows that feature insulation with plastic strips between the interior and exterior of the frames, as this will greatly improve the thermal resistance of your aluminum frames.

Wood Frames: Wood is a good insulator, which reduces the flow of energy from your home. It is critical that the wood frames on the outside of your home are protected to prevent them from swelling, which can lead to rotting, warping and sticking. This can be accomplished by painting or staining, although both will wear away, so plan on doing this every few years. Alternately, some contractors will wrap the outside of your window with a decorative metal in a color of your choice. This is the easiest way to ensure your wood windows are protected.

Vinyl Frames: Vinyl is a good insulator, will not absorb moisture and can withstand a variety of weather conditions. Easily customizable, you can find vinyl window frames in a variety of styles and shapes.  Although vinyl frames don’t have the strength of metal or wood, many high-quality vinyl windows that have been strengthened with aluminum, steel, or fiberglass reinforcing bars are available.

Fiberglass Frames: Fiberglass windows are a relatively new. Some fiberglass frames are hollow, while others are insulated.  They have good insulating capabilities and will not warp, shrink, rot or corrode. The catch is that unprotected fiberglass does not fare well in the weather and therefore must be painted to maintain their strength. Because of this, it is extremely important to verify the warranty and maintenance requirements before you invest.