Do you see the waves in the glass of your old windows? Or do you have a minor heart attack when you see your energy bill? Buying new windows might not be the most exciting thing you purchase as a Homeowner however, they can pay for themselves in energy efficiency and resale value. Figuring out what to buy and what all those terms mean can be confusing and might even cause you to push off purchasing this valuable upgrade.
So before you go shopping, educate yourself on the crucial details that can help you choose the ideal windows for you and your home.
Types of Window Frames
Important features to keep in mind while looking into window frames are aesthetics, durability, energy efficiency, maintenance, and cost. Windows are a heavy investment, and you’ll want to be sure you’re making the right choice.
Vinyl Window Frames
These windows grew in popularity due to their affordability and energy efficiency compared to the windows found in most older homes. Vinyl windows are also low-maintenance and won’t require you to scrape and repaint them over the years since the color won’t chip or fade. Unfortunately, the color options of vinyl windows aren’t as expansive as wood. Compared to other options such as fiberglass, they are not as durable and don’t suit as many architecture designs. Additionally, the seams of fusion-welded vinyl windows tend to be messier and unattractive compared to the high-quality welding of fiberglass or the classic look of wood frames.
Fiberglass Window Frames
Fiberglass windows can often be more expensive than vinyl or wood, but wood and fiberglass are close competitors with some brands. However, the maintenance-free aspect of fiberglass makes it easier to care for than wood, and unlike vinyl, they can be repainted if you change the color pallet of the exterior of your home. They won’t warp, crack, mold, or rot, and they are much more durable than vinyl window frames. The seam details on a fiberglass frame are much more attractive than vinyl, and they come in a much more comprehensive range of colors than vinyl. If you’re going for a more classic look, fiberglass might be too contemporary.
Wood Window Frames
You might think of the old, warped, and rotting wooden windows from your grandma’s house, but modern wood windows are modified with technology that can make them a wise choice. This aluminum addition allows them to be longer-lasting than their predecessors. They are also an ideal option for thermal performance. They are often the most expensive window frame choice, but you might find some comparable to fiberglass. Of course, because they are wood, they are more susceptible to elements like rot, mold, and insects. Nonetheless, when looking for a beautiful wooden window that can easily match older homes’ details, wooden frames can not be beaten.
Aluminum Window Frames
Aluminum window frames can be hard to find for residential applications and they are primarily used for commercial purposes, but we’ve added them to this list to be thorough. Aluminum is a strong material that can be made thinner, meaning the frame can be smaller, allowing for thicker glass. Aluminum also has a wide range of long-lasting color options. However, aluminum expands and contracts quickly, which puts stress on the seams, and it’s not a good insulator. It holds up well against rot, mold, and insects, but salty air can corrode the aluminum. This option might be ideal for companies and commercial uses; it’s not a great choice for most homes.
Common Window Terms
Besides the type of window frame you choose, there are a few other factors that affect the performance of windows. When shopping for windows, you might hear some of these terms, and it’s important to know what they mean so you can select the best windows for you.
Single, Double, and Triple-Pane Glass
Single-pane windows aren’t used much anymore. They are terrible insulators and they break more easily than double or triple.
Double-pane windows have many different levels of insulation and also help reduce noise. This can be helpful if you live on a busy street or you’re looking to lower your energy bill.
Triple-pane windows are the best at insulation and noise reduction. However, they are easily the most expensive option of the three.