Window frames come in a number of materials, but do you know which one to choose? Whether you’re looking for new or replacement windows, check out this list of common window materials along with their pros and cons to find out which one is best for you.
Wood or Wood/Clad
With a warm and classic look, all- wood windows used to be a common choice for homes. They come with a number of color choices, and they can also be stained or painted to provide more flexibility. Wood windows are strong and easy to work with and provide insulating properties. Most wood windows today are clad (covered) with a weatherproof material like vinyl, aluminum or fiberglass, on the exterior. Although they come with many benefits, wood windows can be more expensive than other materials.
Vinyl windows are a cost-efficient option for a low-maintenance window frame. Vinyl provides some thermal protection and won’t rust or warp. Although most vinyl windows are white or neutral, they can be found with a woodgrain finish for a more classic look. While they are lower in cost, vinyl windows are not as strong as other materials such as fiberglass or wood. They also expand and contract from changes in temperature which can affect its ability to seal.
Composite material windows are a smart alternative to vinyl. These windows combine different strengths and hold up well in extreme temperatures. They are also available in a variety of color options to coordinate with your home. Composite windows are cost-efficient and at the same are some of the most “Green” products available.
Aluminum windows provide a virtually maintenance-free option with a contemporary look. They are light, yet strong, and are available in several color options. They are often less expensive than other material choices. Aluminum windows are great for a wide variety of applications, but are not the most energy-efficient option, and work best in warmer climates.
Fiberglass is a tough and weather-resistant material, making it ideal to hold up to outdoor elements. Fiberglass windows resist rotting, swelling, and warping and do not require much upkeep. However, they can be painted if you prefer to change their color. Fiberglass windows are typically more expensive than vinyl or composite windows.