Choosing the right window replacements for your home can be a confusing experience, especially with a wide variety of window types, styles and materials to choose from. In addition to choosing the type of energy-efficient glass you want, you'll also have to pick a material for your window frames, in most cases. The following provides a look at the most common window frame materials available.
Solid in construction with an appearance that naturally complements just about any home, wood is the traditional go-to for window frames. It's also highly versatile in terms of customization, with numerous decorative hardware options to create or complete a unique look.
There are a few drawbacks, however. Wood naturally expands and contracts in response to weather-related changes in moisture levels, plus it's also vulnerable to wood rot. Proper painting and sealing is essential for wood windows, especially if you want them to last for a very long time.
Keep in mind that there are also "wood clad" window frames that use thin strips of wood veneer layered over an alternative material, such as fiberglass or composite.
Vinyl windows offer better durability and longevity than comparable wood windows. They're also a cost-effective solution for those remodeling on a budget. According to Lee Wallender, vinyl windows are 25 percent cheaper than their wood counterparts.
Unfortunately, vinyl windows often lack the visual warmth that wood windows offer. Since vinyl windows don't require painting or sealing, you'll have to be careful as to how you match your window frame color. Nevertheless, vinyl windows offer a compelling and more affordable alternative to wood and other, more expensive materials.
Fiberglass has a lot of things going for it. For starters, it's nearly impervious to weather-induced expansion and contraction, making it more solid than its wood counterpart. The stronger material also accommodates narrower frames and sashes, allowing more light to come through.
Like vinyl windows, fiberglass windows can also be clad with a wood veneer for a warmer, more authentic appearance. Fiberglass windows are a bit more expensive than vinyl, but they make up for it by adding to your home's resale value.
So what if you want the look and feel of natural wood, but enjoy the durability and longevity of vinyl? Then composite windows are your best choice of frame material for your replacement windows. Made from a mix of wood fibers and copolymer material, composite windows offer the best of both worlds.
Not only does it offer a look that closely resembles natural wood, but it also resists deterioration that can affect wood windows over time. The only downside to composite is that it tends to be a bit more expensive than other window frame options.
For more information, contact a company like L. M. Martin Inc.