Window Frame TypesIn the previous article we talked about what makes a window energy efficient. Now we are going to move on to frame types for replacement windows and cover the pros and cons for all.

When it comes to choosing replacement windows, most people are going to want to stay true to the home’s original architecture.

For example, if your home has original vinyl frames or original wood frames, the replacement windows that you choose are likely going to be made out of the same material.

While many homeowners choose to stay consistent with the home’s current architecture, this is not absolutely necessary.

In fact, there are many pros and cons of each different type of window frame material that is available. Here is a list of current window frame materials to choose from and the pros and cons of each.

Vinyl Replacement WindowsVinyl Windows

One common material choice s is vinyl. Vinyl replacement windows offer a fairly sturdy material at a reasonable price. This has become a very popular choice in recent years because vinyl is readily available and more and more colors are becoming an option.

Pros of Vinyl Replacement Windows

Cost: the cost of vinyl replacement windows is much cheaper than wood and other types of replacement windows. When it comes to cost, vinyl beats every other type of window.

Non-Conductive: during the winter months vinyl windows help slow down the cold air from the outside transferring in to your nice and cozy warm home. During the summer months the vinyl window frames will help decrease the amount of heat from the outside into your cool home.

No Painting: there are a few different colors of vinyl window frames available and you will never have to paint them as long as you own them. Painting window frames can be extremely difficult; it is not an issue when you choose vinyl.

Longevity: vinyl windows last a long time. There is no deterioration of vinyl and you can expect the window frames to last for at least as long as you are in the home.

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Cons of Vinyl Windows

While there are many positive reasons to choose vinyl windows, but there are some disadvantages of this type of window frame as well including:

Cannot Paint: not needing to paint vinyl window frames is a positive for many people, but it can also be a con. There are limited colors of vinyl frames available and if you decide that you want another color to match your new decor you are out of luck.

Look: vinyl looks just like plastic. Even though the salesman will tell you how versatile and great vinyl is, the fact is it is still plastic.

Resale Value: when replacing window frames in your home you are embarking on a large home improvement project. Vinyl replacement windows are not going to increase the resale value of your home as much as wood or another material will. If you are looking to get the most for your money, you may want to consider a different material.

Wood Replacement WindowsWood Windows

Another material option for your project are wood replacement windows. Wood was the most popular type of window frame because of its durability. Wood has been used in homes longer than any other type of material, but is not really a very popular window replacement option.

Wood Window Pros

Look: there have been many great improvements in window replacements and wood still remains to be one of the most pleasing aesthetically.

Value: choosing wood window frames will increase the value of your home to potential buyers and most buyers find the natural look of wood to be the most pleasing when compared to other window replacement materials.

Color: When it comes to wood, many people choose the all-natural look of the wood. However, if the homeowner wants a new look for the house they can simply paint the wooden window frame to match their current décor and taste. Staining the wood is another option that will provide the window frame with a new, vibrant look.

Efficient: Wood frames are efficient as they provide an insulator that cannot be matched by aluminum or vinyl. Even during the middle of winter you can place your hand on a wooden frame and find it to be warm.

Wood Window Cons

While wood replacement windows have many great qualities there are some negative aspects of choosing this type of frame as well.

Maintenance: one of the negative aspects of wood replacement windows is that they require a lot more maintenance than both vinyl and aluminum. However, if you properly take care of wooden window frames they will last a long time. Maintenance of wood windows requires resealing and repainting and dealing with potential problems quickly before extensive damage is done.

Price: another downfall of choosing wooden window frames is that they are going to cost a bit more than the vinyl or aluminum counterparts. However, wooden frames add overall value to the home so they are often worth the up-front costs.

Natural Factors: the general nature of wood is another issue that you will face when choosing this type of window frame. Termites, rot, and cracking are just a couple of factors that you may face when choosing wooden window frames. Repairing the frames can cost a lot and once again proper maintenance is necessary to help avoid this.

Fiberglass Windows

Fiberglass is perhaps the best product available in the door and window industry. Fiberglass replacement windows are stable, durable, strong, and paintable. Choosing this material for your window frames ensures that your home has a low maintenance window that will last a long time.

Fiberglass Replacement WindowsFiberglass Window Pros

Durable: made out of small glass strands, fiberglass is durable to both age and weather.

Insulation: provides insulation from the weather by trapping the air between the glass fibers.

Low Maintenance: fiberglass windows keep their shape, style, and color longer than other materials that are available.

Looks: Fiberglass can give you the same look as wood, with less maintenance. They also provide a better aesthetic than vinyl.

Fiberglass Window Cons

While fiberglass replacement windows offer a great many benefits there are some cons as well.

Expensive: the durability of the product makes it one of the most expensive types of replacement windows on the market.

Limited features: the features and sizes of fiberglass windows are still somewhat limited when compared to other types of window materials that are available.

Aluminum Replacement WindowsAluminum Windows

Technological advances have developed aluminum replacement windows greatly over the years. While the material is perceived as the coldest window material, it is now capable of keeping your home warmer during the colder months.

Aluminum Window Pros

Minimal maintenance: little maintenance is required to care for this type of window

Durability: aluminum is quite durable

Flexible and light: easy to install and flexible so they can fit into any type of window style and size.

Long life: virtually rust free and tends to offer a longer life than wood or vinyl.

Can be painted

Material is recyclable

Aluminum Window Cons

While there are some great qualities of aluminum windows, there are some negative aspects of this type of replacement windows as well.

Energy Efficiency: aluminum windows are not as energy efficient as other types of windows

Cold air transfer: cold air can transfer to the aluminum window frame inside your home during the winter months.

Aesthetics: not considered as aesthetically pleasing as other types of window frames.

Condensation: this type of frame is known for allowing condensation to build up between the window panes.

Choosing the Right Material

When it comes to choosing the right material for your new window frame, there are many things to consider. You want to make sure that you choose a material that offers the best value for the money. Often, fiberglass and wood are going to be the most aesthetically pleasing and energy efficient, but this comes with a price. Vinyl is a good option for those that are looking for a lower cost window.

Got a Question?

While we try very hard to cover everything in our post sometimes we miss stuff :). That doesn’t mean we can’t still help you out. Just send us a question via the Ask the Advisor page or post it right on our Facebook page and the Q&A can help everyone.

Now that you got window frames covered, in the next article we go into choosing the right window style and design for your home.

by Brian Kiernan

Educating homeowners on replacement windows and providing simple information to get them a great product at a great price done quickly by a reputable window pro.

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