What Are The Different Types Of Frames For Windows

May 20, 2024

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Different Window Frame Options

Different window frames come in different materials that all have advantages and disadvantages including their price point, lifespan, durability, energy efficiency, moisture resistance, and more. With all of these types of windows making the decision can be a bit tricky, but by narrowing down your personal window needs and what each frame can offer you can make an informed decision. 

Some of the more common household window options are Wood Windows, Composite Windows, Vinyl Windows, Metal Windows, and Fiberglass Windows. 

Wood Window Frames

Wood windows have long been a popular option for home windows, and were once considered the standard type of frame to install. A wood window results in a gorgeous, classic-style frame that adds an elegant touch to a home. Because of advancements in other window types the wood window frame is becoming less popular. Now wood window frames are considered a luxury item and are rarely seen in new construction. A wood window is more expensive when compared to synthetic materials, and oftentimes the wood window will require more frequent maintenance and will decay faster. A decaying window can lead to air leakage, inefficiency, and additional maintenance fees. The main tradeoff to having a wood window is the higher price point and potentially costly long-term repairs. 

Composite Windows

In a similar price point to wood windows, the composite window generally is considered to be a superior window in every way except visually. A composite window is made up of different materials that are mixed with a synthetic polymer to hold everything together. These window material mixtures are made up of strand lumber, particleboard, and polymer plastic. Because these composite windows are more solid than a natural wood window frame, the composite windows tend to maintain their integrity much longer and are even known to be more energy efficient in homes. While one of the downsides to composite windows is they lack the classic aesthetic of a wood window, some composite windows are made to imitate the style of wood windows.

Vinyl Window Frames

Vinyl frames are often considered the best budget-friendly window type because they can outperform many other window frame types at a much lower price point. Unlike composite frames, vinyl frames are made entirely of synthetic materials. Because they are entirely synthetic they come in different color options and never need to be painted. One of the downsides to installing vinyl windows in your home is that the color may change over several years, and there is a chance they may warp from distress from the summer heat. Vinyl frames look synthetic and don’t have the same appeal as other natural materials like wood. With their low price point, energy efficiency, moisture resistance, and longer lifespan, vinyl windows are often the top choice for new construction and modern home remodels. 

Aluminum Frames & Other Metal Materials

Aluminum windows are the cheapest window option by a significant amount, and they tend to be very durable in most conditions. Aluminum windows are made of a strong material that holds up against extreme weather, which can benefit homeowners who live in regions of the country that often get inclement weather. A major downside to this type of window frame is they metal doesn’t insulate very well against temperature changes. With these frame types, insulation is one of the main downfalls and residents may want to explore different types of window frame options before committing to aluminum frames. Sometimes the aluminum frames can be insulated in order to increase their energy efficiency. The lifespan of the aluminum frame isn’t exceptional, but for the price point that is to be expected. With poor resistance to erosion and moisture aluminum generally isn’t seen as the best option for homeowners in the state of Ohio. 

Fiberglass Frames

Fiberglass window frames aren’t as popular as an option for home windows because they have fewer design options when compared to other options, especially wood. The fiberglass materials are very sturdy and are not susceptible to rotting, warping, or natural decay. These frames can be filled with an insulator to increase thermal performance over other frames. Another bonus is that paint adheres to fiberglass than other synthetic window frame materials and the windows will hold up against extreme weather and are considered to be a very long-lasting material. A fiberglass window will cost homeowners more with their initial investment but can be a good option for someone looking for windows that won’t struggle in extreme weather conditions. 

Types of Glass: How Window Panes Make a Difference 

Depending on the needs of your home there are different types of windows that have different types of glass. Single-pane, double-pane, and even triple-pane glass windows all have different benefits. If you’re in need of more insulated windows choosing a window that has additional layers of glass or has been coated for insulation are excellent ways to save energy. 

Insulated Window Glass

An insulated window is a window that has more than one glass pane. These window panes are separated into a space that provides insulation. These two window panes are sealed to create an airtight gap between them. Double-paned insulated windows reduce the heat loss that can occur with windows and increase energy efficiency. Insulated windows often have the added benefit of reducing noise pollution creating a quieter environment inside your home.

Low Emission Window Coatings 

Low-E window coatings are a coating designed to reduce the amount of heat that comes through a window from the sun. Low-E coatings reduce the infrared and ultraviolet lights that move through the glass window pane. These coatings allow visible light to move through and don’t reduce the daylight that shines into your home to light up the space. Low-E window coatings are a great energy saver for homes that receive a significant amount of direct light.

Spectrally Selective Window Coatings

Spectrally selective coatings are a more powerful window coating that can filter up to 70% of heat out. This allows the sunlight to penetrate through the window without causing a dramatic temperature shift in your home. Most of these coatings have a visible tint to them that is typically green or blue. 

Gas Fill

Gas fill is a non-toxic gas that is filled in the empty space between two window panes. This specialized gas acts as an insulator to increase the thermal performance. This is an odorless gas that is completely clear and will never be noticed. Gas fill is only able to be used on insulated windows with more than one window pane. Gas fill adds insulation to the double-paned windows which reduces heat transfer and noise pollution. 

Window Glass Spacers

Window spacers are designed to act as support for windows that have more than one window pane. Window spacers are important when using windows with multiple panes and gas fill as they keep the panes an appropriate distance apart. 

Sash Windows

The most common type of window in a home is a Sash Window. Sash windows typically have two window panels and open vertically by sliding one window panel up. Sash windows are very classic and traditional. They are extremely practical and if well maintained have a long lifespan. The ventilation of sash windows isn’t as strong as other designs, however, they are considered to be more secure and have more stable locking mechanisms than casement windows. Sash windows come in many types of materials including wood, composite, vinyl, aluminum, and fiberglass. 

Casement Windows

Unlike the more common Sash Window, Casement Windows are attached via hinges that are connected to the house. A casement window opens and closes by swinging and allowing airflow through the home. A casement window will allow for stronger ventilation since the window comes completely open. With a sash window, the panes slide open leaving half of the window blocked. A casement window can be made with metal, wood, and vinyl materials. A brand-new casement window has fewer moving parts, which means fewer places to get worn down over time. A casement window can be sealed shut by pressure; because of this casement windows are more energy efficient. There are a few downsides to these windows. Because the entire weight of the window is put on hinges they may need additional maintenance. They are also more expensive than sash windows.

Wood-Clad Frames

A unique type of window is the Wood-Clad Window which utilizes multiple materials to create a more durable type of wood window. A wood-clad frame provides the classic visual appeal that a wood window would, with the enhanced durability of a stronger window material on the exterior of the home. A protective layer of aluminum or vinyl will go over the frame of the window to create a protective layer. On the inside the window will have an elegant style, while having a durable shell on the exterior to protect it from harsh weather and decay. This increases the durability of the frame and reduces maintenance of the softer, natural materials. One of the downsides to having a wood-clad window installed is the higher cost. These types of window frames are one of the more expensive windows one can install in their home and can be considered a luxury window type. 

Providing Local Window Services

McCloud Windows offers window installations, repairs, and maintenance to customers throughout Central Ohio. A professional window installer McCloud Windows can provide information and feedback to help you narrow down your options until you find the right window for you. 

Contact McCloud Windows Today

If you believe that the windows in your home may need replacing we can schedule a window inspection in order to better assess the situation and provide window solutions. Don’t hesitate to reach out to learn more about our services; a professional window installation can provide many benefits and peace of mind knowing your home is safe.