Regardless of the architectural style or the size of a home, an inclusion is necessary; effective and beautiful windows. It goes without saying that a thorough consultation with a glazing specialist should be an integral part of your design process and it is easier than ever to find a local company for you.
Before trying to decide what kind of windows you would like to have in your home, let's look at some of the most pertinent considerations that will help you make a decision regarding the frames for your windows. There is much more to think than just aesthetics, so let us give you an expert guide.
Price comparisons of window frames are essential, since what you might think will be the most profitable option for your home could be a false saving. Window glazing styles, as well as frame materials, will be the main components that will affect the prices. As an example, a single-glazed aluminum window will be much cheaper than a triple-glazed wooden creation, but will it look good with the broader design of your home? Will the increase in heating costs be a price that you are willing to pay? Below, we offer you a guide to general window frames, in terms of costs:
Wood is very expensive, as it is durable and must be used and maintained continuously.
Fiberglass window frames are very expensive for a vinyl-like finish. Vinyl frames are very affordable and often available with a payment plan. Aluminum is also quite expensive, when considered in terms of performance. The compound is a slightly more expensive material than vinyl, due to construction methods, but it is often offered with a payment plan.
Durability of window frame materials
It makes no sense to choose windows that are affordable in the short term, but that do not offer any kind of longevity or guarantee of continuous performance.
The durability of your window frames will depend entirely on the material you choose, with certain options that require little or no ongoing maintenance to always work at an optimal level.
The windows of vinyl and composite material are particularly durable, as their construction style allows for weather resistant installations. At the other end of the scale is the wood, which will need regular care, treatment and waterproofing to resist the onset of rot. Never forget that, whatever window frame you select, you will face the front elements for the entirety of your installation.
There are a number of glazed coatings that you can add to your windows to reduce your heat loss by up to 50%, but the material your frames are made of also plays a vital role.
Aluminum is considered the least efficient option, with vinyl and wood topping the list of heat collectors. Vinyl frames, in particular, will suffer very little shrinkage and expansion, which will lead to a consistently perfect seal at all times. The savings in heating costs alone will make it worthwhile to look for the most efficient option.
Pros and cons of different materials
Each potential window frame material has a series of positive and negative points to take into account, the most important being the following:
Wooden window frames
Pros: it is durable, elegant and easily customized to fit any style of home. A proven window frame material that will never go out of style and can be changed simply with new paint finishes or stains.
Cons: Generally it is a very expensive material and needs extensive maintenance, due to the tendency to be affected by inclement weather.
Aluminum window frames
Pros: it is a durable material, it is not affected by constant exposure to sunlight and ideal to create an elegant and contemporary aesthetic. Putrefaction and mold are nothing to worry about either.
Cons: In general, they are only cheaper than wood, aluminum frames are expensive and are thought to be not very efficient, which means that there will be a large additional cost after installation, in the form of heating receipts.
Vinyl window frames
Pros: made of PVC, which is exceptionally versatile, vinyl windows are cost-effective, easy to maintain and are available in a wide variety of custom styles, which makes them easy to integrate into many architectural designs.
Cons: Not the strongest or most visually pleasing window frame option, some consumers find it difficult to reconcile traditional properties and modern windows in a cohesive package.
Fiberglass window frames
Pros: easy to maintain, extremely weather-resistant and fantastic in terms of insulation, fiberglass windows have many of the same positive properties as vinyl varieties, but are less common and expand at the same rate as the panels of glazing.
Cons: a bit expensive and can be boring or uninspiring in finishing. Because there are more options for lower cost, consumers are more likely to opt for vinyl frames over fiberglass because they are easier to get.
Considering the insulation, cost and durability, it is time to direct your attention to more aesthetic elements, such as your preferred functionality. You will undoubtedly have an idea of how you want the windows to work and look, which will have a natural impact on the materials that could potentially be right for you. For example, it is unlikely that you choose vinyl when you want traditional, fully functioning guillotine windows, since wood is a much better and more natural option. Finally, when you know how much you can reasonably spend, what levels of insulation you need, and what level of maintenance you can commit to, you can refine the shapes and sizes your windows should be. This will allow you to make a final decision about which frame materials are a different possibility. When you have a good understanding of what you want, you can take your wish list to a glazing professional and launch the ball.