We’ve all seen TV commercials where a salesperson is attempting to sell their brand of new or replacement windows as the best type available. Discounts and buy-one-get-one offers abound, making you want to call their toll free number immediately and order a set for the entire house. Before rushing in to accept a deal on new windows, you would do well to learn about the different types of windows, including window frames, and all the specifics that distinguish one window type from the next. Not all windows are created equal, and what is good for one home might not be for the next.
Homeowners today are concerned about energy efficiency as well as style and function. They also want to know that the product they buy will last and bring a good return on their investment. In terms of energy efficiency, window frames that are resistant to temperature changes are the most energy efficient. Here we discuss the most popular window frame types.
• Composite window frames – These window frames are made from a blend of materials that include wood products such as particleboard, resin, and fiberglass. Composite frames resemble wood frames, but they require much less maintenance – no scraping, painting, or staining – and resist decay and moisture, unlike traditional wood windows. Additionally, they come in a variety of colors that match just about any home style. These windows offer high energy efficiency and can be recycled once their life span is up.
• Vinyl window frames – Vinyl windows are similar to composite windows in terms of being low maintenance, highly durable, and never requiring painting or scraping. As vinyl windows are made of PVC, they provide a high degree of energy efficiency and can also be made in just about any shape or size a homeowner desires. One downside is that in high heat, vinyl windows might warp. However, vinyl remains a good frame choice in temperate climates that typically have occasional heat waves, though not necessarily in a hot climate. Vinyl windows generally cost less than composite windows; given that vinyl windows are good quality and have a 30year life span, they remain a popular choice for homeowners.
• Wood window frames – Wood’s insulating qualities are good, as real wood keeps homes warm in winter and cool in summer. Additionally, wood is a better barrier to outdoor noise than other frame types. Real wood window frames are naturally eco-friendly, and they add warmth and beauty to any home. Wood frames can do double duty, when they are vinyl or aluminum clad on the outside. That way, exterior wood is protected from the elements, but interior wood remains exposed and can be either stained or painted. The downside to wood window frames is that they require regular maintenance and treatment against insects if they are to retain their original look and quality.
• Metal/Aluminum window frames – These window frames are lightweight, yet strong and durable. However, without any type of insulation, they do not resist temperature change well,
which means they are not energy efficient. Aluminum windows require little maintenance and are long-lasting and affordable. In general, metal window frames can be smaller (thinner), which means the glass opening is larger and more natural light flows through. These types of windows are often used in more contemporary style homes and architecture.
The U.S. Department of Energy provides excellent information about window types, specifically, about frame choices that are energy efficient and glass and glazing for better temperature control and for reducing energy bills. You can read their information here: https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/window-types-and-technologies.
If you would like to learn more about windows, window frames, and new versus replacement windows, contact Steve Rush at Sovereign Construction Services. Steve is an expert in all window types, including installation, and will share his knowledge to answer all your questions. Call Sovereign Construction Services today at 610-639-2986 for a free consultation.