Frame Materials Part Two
Fiberglass frames can be advantageous because they offer one of the most durable and maintenance free options of all frame materials. Fiberglass can also be easily painted like wood both inside and out to match any color scheme desired and because of its very low upkeep, does not require repainting unless a design change is desired. This material is mostly made of resin and glass fibers, which is perfect for staying stable during the weather changes by only slightly expanding and contracting. This makes the frame resistant to degradation, such as rotting or warping from weather.
Fiberglass frames should be a more popular option, but does have some limitations. Fiberglass often has limited availability because there are currently only three primary manufacturers producing fiberglass windows. In addition, the cost is quickly approaching that of a premium aluminum clad wood product. Likewise, there is the issue with arch and round top windows, sometimes referred to as architectural shapes. Fiberglass frames cannot be bent or shaped into anything other than a rectangular form. So architectural shapes must be built out of an aluminum clad wood product to match as closely as possible to the other fiberglass windows on the job or other composite like products. This also adds to the ever-increasing cost of the product.
For jobs well-suited to the fiberglass manufacturing limitations and capabilities, this frame material is a great option.
Vinyl is probably the most common replacement and new-construction frame material on the market today. Vinyl is very durable, energy efficient, and practically maintenance free. Vinyl windows are traditionally available in three colors: white, beige (plus other off-white variations), and clay. These color options are neutral and blend with the home nicely and look great for years. Vinyl windows are very energy efficient and offer tremendous value for the homeowner. Many customers who upgrade from older steel and aluminum windows comment on how their house is quieter and energy bills have decreased.
WindowCraft offers vinyl windows with a painted exterior color. Many colors that were not available on vinyl windows in the past are now available with laminate and baked-on paint finishes. Colors like black, bronze, brick red and gray are available, among others. The interior of painted vinyl windows will still be white, beige or clay. Painted vinyl exteriors typically have a 10-year finish warranty.
Finally, aluminum is another material used to make high quality window frames. The material is attractive and slim, low maintenance, and extremely durable. Aluminum windows are typically the same color inside and out. Common colors are painted bronze, dark bronze anodized, clear anodized (silver), white, and sandstone. Custom colors are available with an upcharge.
Aluminum frames are an ideal combination of a lightweight and strong material that can meet many architectural styles. It should be noted that aluminum by itself is not an efficient material. Homeowners with older aluminum windows complain of hot and cold spots throughout the house as well as noise from outside carrying in to the house.
Due to the light weight and structure of aluminum, large multi-panel door systems with thin frames and large glass have become a common feature in commercial and residential installations. Typically used on an entertainment patio, these door systems combine the best of outdoor living and indoor comfort.
Aluminum windows can be made to appear traditional, contemporary, commercial, or even to simulate the look of steel. WindowCraft is pleased to offer many different aluminum window options to meet the design intent. Contact a WindowCraft team member today to discuss your desired finished look and installation details.
To read part one of frame materials, click here.