When you hear the term “window materials,” what do you think of? Your gut reaction is probably “glass,” right? What you might not realize is that window materials usually refer to the window frame, not the pane itself.
That makes it a little less clear what kind of material is being referred to. Window frames can be made of many different materials. Each one has its own benefits and drawbacks.
If you’re looking to replace a window, you’ll need to know which types of window materials are right for you.
This handy guide will help you decide!
Wood as a Window Material
There are four common window materials: wood, vinyl, fiberglass, and composite. The most traditional material for a window frame is wood.
One of the biggest advantages of wood is that it can be painted to match the room it’s in.
Wood frames are also a great way to enhance the natural beauty of a space. They come in a wide variety of designs, too, so it’s easy to find a style that matches your home.
On the other hand, wood is a bit more expensive than some other window materials. It can also rot or warp over time. Insects (such as termites) can cause issues as well.
One other downside to wood frames: they require more upkeep than other options. Paint, caulking, and stain must be maintained for the wood to keep looking and performing its best.
One way to counter this is with a wood-clad frame. These frames cover a wooden base with aluminum or vinyl. This gives you many of the benefits of wood but with less maintenance.
Other Types of Window Materials
Speaking of fiberglass and vinyl, these are both popular window materials in their own right.
Fiberglass windows are just as durable as wood frames. They’re an even better insulator, too! They are a great, environmentally friendly alternative to wood frames.
There are also a few disadvantages to fiberglass. Installation may take a bit longer than other materials, and the price may be a little higher.
Vinyl is the most common window frame material today. If you search for “replacement windows near me,” most stores will probably offer a vinyl option.
There are several reasons for this. The most obvious is that vinyl frames are very affordable.
Vinyl frames are also easy to maintain. They are easy to clean and aren’t at risk for rotting or warping. They are extremely energy-efficient, and they are great at blocking noise, too.
These frames aren’t as customizable as other styles; you can’t paint them. They’re also difficult to recycle.
The Best of Both Worlds
Can’t decide which frame suits you best? What if you didn’t have to choose?
Composite frames incorporate the best elements of various window materials while eliminating a lot of the drawbacks. Fibrex is a great example of a composite window material.
Fibrex is as customizable and durable as wood, but without the risk of rot or warping. At the same time, it’s as energy efficient as vinyl and as eco-friendly as fiberglass.
The Right Frame of Reference
Understanding the pros and cons of different types of window materials will help you make the right decisions for your home. Next time you need replacement windows, you’ll be prepared!
What kind of windows do you have? Are you interested in replacing them? Let us know in the comments, and check out our other posts!