Window frames can be made from various materials including wood, vinyl, aluminum, and fiberglass. Each type of material has its advantages and disadvantages. But the important question, however, is what type of window frame will work best for your needs.
This article will compare the unique features of each window frame material as well as outline their advantages and disadvantages.
1.) Aluminum frames: aluminum frames are popular in buildings that incorporate a lot of glass with minimal frame lines. Retail storefronts with glass windows often use aluminum frames because they are large and don’t corrode quickly.
Advantages of aluminum frames
- It offers a ‘crisp’ design to buildings.
- Its fire-resistance rating is up to 90 minutes
- It is less expensive than other window frame materials
- It is strong, durable, and requires little maintenance.
Disadvantages of aluminum frames
- They conduct heat more than any other material and this is bad for the windows.
- They are also a poor choice for energy efficiency
2.) Wood frames: wood frames are a popular choice for many homeowners mainly because of their aesthetics and the unique design they give to a building. But real solid wood is known to have more disadvantages than benefits. Modern-day alternatives for solid wood are ‘clad wood’ frames made also of aluminum or vinyl.
Advantages of wood frames
- Wood frames have the best insulation compared to other materials
- Wood Offers an elegant and warm look
Disadvantages of wood frames
- Wood needs regular maintenance by either painting or staining to prevent decay and rot
- Wood can be expensive
- Wood is susceptible to insect damage
- Wood swells and twists over time causing damage to the frame.
3.) Vinyl Frames: vinyl frames are now a more popular alternative to wood. This is because it’s similar in look and structure to wood but without the disadvantages. Vinyl, however, differs in quality, and a high-quality material is important for durability.
Advantages of vinyl frames
- It is energy-efficient
- It is affordable
- Requires little maintenance
- No painting needed
Disadvantages of vinyl frames
- Low-quality vinyl does not last long and has a low resistance to sunlight and extreme temperatures.
- Vinyl cannot be customized to your desired design.
4.) Fiberglass frames: Fiberglass frames are made of glass fibers and resin. Until recently, it was impossible to make frames from fiberglass but with recent innovations in technology, Fiberglass frames are now more common.
Advantages of Fiberglass frames
- Fiberglass window frames are strong especially when new.
- It controls heat efficiently and can be insulated for higher energy performance.
- Fiberglass expands and contracts less than vinyl, which reduces leakage
- It looks more natural than vinyl.
Disadvantages of Fiberglass frames
- The only disadvantage of fiberglass frames are their price.
In general, when it comes to performance, fiberglass framed windows perform best followed by vinyl, wood, and finally aluminum.