Choosing for the right window frame material might sound confusing and unclear for most people. After all, the market is flooded with different types of construction materials such as wood, vinyl, steel, fiberglass, vinyl-clad wood, aluminum-clad wood and other composite materials. Each of these materials has its own pros and cons to consider. It is always best to know what kind of window material will be ideal for our project before pushing it through as this will save both time and resources in the installation. Here are some of the most common window materials used today in the industry:
The most common window material that has been extensively used all throughout the centuries is wood. This material is so common that it has been synonymous when talking about premium-quality windows. Wood can be extracted from different trees such as Pine, Redwood, Cedar or Cypress. Wood material coming from these resources are ideal window material especially if they are clear and does not contain knots that are known to weaken the integrity of the material and are more difficult to stain or paint.
As compared to steel, wood has better insulating properties. This means that temperature coming from air-conditioning or heaters will not easily escape in wooden windows as compared to steel-based windows. Condensation will also be minimized in contrast to metal which is very prone to water condensation that can lead to rust and corrosion if not properly protected.
Wood-based windows can also be easily stained or painted to match your interior and exterior designs. Painting and staining the windows will not only add aesthetic value to your home, it will also protect them from the elements and would last for a long time.
Combining different building materials to offset the cons and maximize the pros has been gaining popularity among professional builders today. One such example is this is aluminum-clad wood material for windows. This material is basically wood that is sandwiched with thin sheets of aluminum. The aluminum sheet and wood are independently secured in order for the wooden material to properly “breath” inside the cladding. This combination is very robust, requires minimal maintenance and does not need staining or repainting for protection.
This type of window material is similar to aluminum-clad wood in how it is constructed, but using vinyl as the exterior material. Although not as robust as its similar counterpart, it is the cheaper alternative of the two. Vinyl-clad windows also come in a more wide variety of colors as compared to aluminum-clad which is quite limited.
For a cheaper and stronger alternative to wood frames, opting for aluminum windows is one of the best choices. Low-quality aluminum windows have poor insulation properties that will easily loose air-conditioning or heating in the environment. New higher-quality aluminum window frames has thermal breaks that is designed to effectively contain heat or cold inside the room.
Older aluminum windows were treated using the process of electrolysis, which provides the material with a thin protective coating. This coating easily corrodes especially in seaside environment where salt air is ever present. Look for aluminum frames that are baked with enamel paint for a more robust protection against the elements.
Although steel-framed windows have been used extensively in older homes because of its durability, the maintenance is quite considerable as compared to other materials. It needs regular painting with several layers of coating to prevent rust from forming and corroding the material.
This composite material is similar to lightweight bumpers used in many cars today. The polyester resin-based window frame is not only strong and durable but it is also virtually maintenance free. It is also a good insulating material that can easily replace wood-framed windows albeit a more expensive option. Like wood, these types of window frames can easily be painted with any desired color.
For a more modular-type of window framing that can easily be customized depending on your needs, the best choice would be vinyl. Repairs and modifications can easily be done on vinyl window frames without replacing the entire unit; only the worn-out parts. Like wood, vinyl window material has air space in between its frames that provides adequate insulation. This material is also cheaper than wood and can easily be fitted in any opening. Although color choices are limited, painting and staining are not required as it will not corrode and generally weather-proof.