If you have an older home or you have noticed that your existing windows aren’t opening and closing with ease, or are chipping and rotting around the edges due to years of wear and tear, you probably should consider getting replacement windows installed. Older windows lack proper insulation. And if your window frames have eroded over the years, chances are you are losing a sizable amount of hot and cold air through gaps in the window frames.
Save yourself the cold hard cash by ensuring that your windows are well insulated and installed properly. When deciding exactly what windows to buy, you should start by focusing on the window frame. Quality window frames can help your home stay properly insulated and last you for decades, rather than years.
When buying new windows or getting your windows replaced, choosing quality window frames is important. There are a wide variety of window frames and materials to choose from. Factors such as durability, size, design, and the material that the frame is made of can all prove to be important considerations for a long-term investment.
One factor that you’ll want to pay close attention to is the thermal resistance of the window frame. This contributes to the window’s U-factor and overall energy efficiency. The U-factor, otherwise known as the U-value, indicates the rate of heat loss through the window. The lower the U-factor, the better the window is at regulating heat flow and insulating your home.
Another factor to consider is solar gain, or SHGC. This gauges just how much a window will heat a room in the daylight hours.
- Looking for a higher solar gain number is especially helpful for those that live in colder climates.
- But that isn’t recommended for homeowners living in hotter climates, since it raises air-conditioning costs during the summer months.
Most Popular Window Frames & Materials
There are pros and cons to different types of window frames. However, vinyl, wood, and fiberglass window frames tend to offer better thermal resistance as opposed to metal window frames. We’ve compiled a list of the most common window frame materials, along with their advantages and disadvantages.
- Wood Window Frames – There is no question that wood windows provide a timeless appeal and have been used on homes for hundreds of years due to their aesthetic appeal. They are durable and provide excellent, natural insulating properties. The only downside is that they cost more and require substantial upkeep. While the wooden window frames of today have been treated to withstand the elements a little better than their older counterparts, they still are susceptible to rot and weathering because they are made from organic materials.
- Vinyl Windows – Vinyl window frames are made of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC. This makes them super affordable and wildly popular with homeowners on a budget. They also provide adequate insulation and are rather easy to install. When opting for vinyl window installation, quality is everything. It isn’t uncommon for lower-quality vinyl frames to be outfitted with plastic parts that can easily chip and break when cleaning them and the weatherstripping may be subpar. Another drawback is that the vinyl frames tend to expand and contract in fluctuating temperatures, especially in direct sunlight, which can impair its ability to seal as the years go on. The best bet is to spend a little more on vinyl windows to ensure you get the most out of your investment.
- Fiberglass Windows – Fiberglass window frames are a pretty solid investment for window replacements and don’t have many drawbacks, if any. They require less maintenance and offer far greater thermal performance compared to their wood or uninsulated vinyl counterparts. They are stronger than vinyl windows as well and can last in extreme heat and frigid temperatures. They are also aesthetically gorgeous and come in a wide variety of sizes and styles. Fiberglass frames are structurally sound, energy-efficient, and super durable. While the price tag may be a little higher than that of vinyl window frames, you’ll be making a purchase that will last you for decades to come.
- Aluminum Windows – Aluminum or metal window frames are lightweight, durable, and essentially maintenance-free. They help provide a more modern design over traditional window frames like wood and aren’t susceptible to rot or weathering. One thing to watch out for is that they are actually heat conductors. To avoid this and cut down on heat flow, try installing a thermal break and insulating plastic strip between the inside and outside of the window frame.
- Composite Windows – Composite frames, also known as clad windows, are basically a combination of plastics and wood byproducts. They resemble wooden windows but don’t succumb to the same weathering and can handle moisture much better. These structurally sound window frames are a great choice for those that want the traditional style of wood without the maintenance hassles and inflated costs.
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Window World of Boston has an A+ BBB Rating and offers industry-leading window installation and window replacement services. At Window World of Boston, we are providing safe at-home, virtual consultations to protect our customers. Our experts are available to answer your questions and provide estimates while meeting all CDC guidelines when we install windows, roofing, or siding. Learn more about our products, financing options, and warranty or schedule an appointment by calling 781-262-3925 today.