The material from which a window frame is constructed can greatly affect overall installation cost and energy efficiency…
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The material from which a window frame is constructed can greatly affect overall installation cost and energy efficiency. This article discusses the three most common materials used for window frames and their properties.
While the shape, size and operation of a window is aesthetically significant, the material from which a frame is constructed is crucial when considering cost and energy efficiency. While the panes themselves are typically constructed of glass, there are four common types of window frame materials.
According to DIY Windows and Doors, www.diywondowsanddoors.com, aluminum is generally the least expensive material from which window frames are constructed. While aluminum frames are both strong and lightweight, they are the least energy efficient. Because aluminum is a very good thermal conductor, energy is lost even when used in conjunction with insulated glass. However, aluminum frames require little maintenance.
Like vinyl, fiberglass combines the strength and durability of aluminum with the insulating properties of wood. Because this type of frame is new on the window market, home builders do not have a wealth of options when it comes to choosing fiberglass frames.
Vinyl is a more energy efficient alternative to aluminum. Though vinyl usually costs up to 25 percent more than aluminum windows, it is typically up to 30 percent more energy efficient. Vinyl frames, like aluminum frames, usually require very little maintenance.
Wood is the traditional window frame material. These frames are both beautiful and energy efficient, particularly when using dual glass. Despite these advantages, wood frames can cost up to 2 or 3 times more than vinyl windows and require more maintenance. Many homeowners combat this by cladding the frames with aluminum, vinyl, or fiberglass, which allows one to have the decorative benefits of wood, but a more durable exterior.
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