One of the most common questions consumers have about replacement windows is trying to determine which frame material is best. The answer to that question is dependent upon the reason for window replacement in the first place, how much money you have budgeted for your project and personal preference. If you’re looking for more tips, things-to-look-when-selecting-replacement-windows has it for you. In this article, we’ll look at the pro’s and con’s of the four most common types of windows: Aluminum, Wood, Fiberglass and Vinyl.
Aluminum windows have a good strength to weight ratio, allowing these windows to offer narrower frames, and more glass viewing area. On the negative side, they conduct heat and cold very quickly, making them possibly the least energy efficient of the four types. They typically rate fairly low in the minds of consumers when it comes to aesthetics.
Wood windows are arguably the most pleasing to the eye, are strong, and offer better energy efficiency than aluminum and vinyl windows without insulated mainframes. However, as so many homeowners have learned over the past few years, wood windows must constantly be maintained, and eventually will rot. They are often amongst the most expensive replacement windows you can buy.
The fiberglass replacement window represents the newest technology in windows. They offer strength and thermal efficiency, consistently achieving higher frame R values than their aluminum or wood counterparts. The downsides to a fiberglass replacement window are significant, however. They typically have the bulkiest mainframes of all replacement windows, leading to a large loss of glass viewing area. The corners can’t be heat welded so, often, the corners of the frames and the sashes have to be mechanically fastened together. This can lead to air leakage issues. Several of the fiberglass window manufacturers try to mitigate this with some sort of glue-like substance to close the corners. There is some concern that in some climates these substances can be adversely affected by humidity. Because of the relative infancy of the technology, fiberglass could be your most expensive window replacement option.
Vinyl replacement windows are totally maintenance free, and offer the best overall frame R values, as long as you choose a product with insulated mainframes. Vinyl windows are engineered to allow the most energy efficient glass packages to be included. The fusion welding process not only makes the overall window stronger, but makes a vinyl window the most airtight of all replacement windows. You do have to live with the color you start with. There are some vinyl windows that offer a painted option, but it just takes one look at the manufacturers limited paint warranties to let you know this technology is also in its infancy stage. There are so many choices, there are over 1000 vinyl window manufacturers in North America alone, that homeowners can be confused.
So, what is the best frame for my replacement window? Hopefully, this article has helped a little further educate you. When it comes to consumer choice, vinyl replacement windows have sold more than all other types combined. According to industry sources, this trend will continue into the foreseeable future.