Just as homes are finished with various exterior surfaces, including wood, stucco and brick, window frames are manufactured using different materials: vinyl, wood, aluminum, fiberglass and wood-clad. Your choice will be influenced by the architectural style and color of your home, window functions, durability, your budget, and other factors.
Classic wooden frames have a rich look that complements many traditional home styles. They have excellent insulation properties, and you can choose from a broad array of wood stains and paint colors. Periodic maintenance is required to keep them looking good and performing properly.
A clad frame is made of wood but has a covering of vinyl, fiberglass or aluminum on its exterior face. Wood-clad frames offer the visual appeal of wood, visible from the interior of the home, with the advantages of reduced maintenance and superior insulating and moisture resistance properties of the cladding material.
Fiberglass frames adapt well for replacement of wooden frames, with key advantages. Fiberglass, by far the strongest, most stable window frame material, retain its shape because it’s nearly impervious to warping. Fiberglass frames also have excellent insulation properties, and factory-applied paint can last throughout the lifetime of the product. Fiberglass is the frame of choice of many environmentally conscious consumers.
Because 100 percent vinyl window frames are insect resistant and cannot corrode, rust or peel, they come with long manufacturers’ warranties. Our a-TaylorMade Window craftsmen have the higher level of expertise required to properly install vinyl windows to attain maximum performance. The color choices are not as varied as those of fiberglass frames, but some vinyl frames are designed to be painted to your preference.
With excellent insulation values and frame profiles similar to those of wood frames, composite frames incorporating wood particle material with fiberglass elements offer attractive choices. Although they can be costly, they are energy efficient and durable, making them a good value over time.
The type of glass and various coatings can greatly affect the amount of light, heat and ultraviolet (UV) rays that windows transfer into your home. Ordinary untreated window glass rejects no more than 30 percent of the sun’s harmful UV radiation; the rest passes through into your home. Clear double-pane windows suppress UV transmission by about 45 percent. But glass that meets 262, 270 and 272 LOWE ratings reduce ultraviolet transmission by about 85 percent, and 366/LOWE glass astonishingly screens out 95 percent of UV radiation.