If you’ve never shopped for windows, you might be surprised to learn what goes into designing and manufacturing them. Window companies are being held to increasingly higher standards on everything from energy efficiency and soundproofing to heat management and durability. A window frame’s material plays an important role in determining whether a product meets these exacting standards and also impacts style and price.
To get the most value in shopping for windows you have a lot of factors to weigh, not least because you’ll be living with that decision for many years to come. The sash, which holds the window directly and the frame are made from one of four materials: wood, PVC (or vinyl), fiberglass and steel.
Wood is generally considered the way of old when it comes to window frames, its greatest strength being visual appeal. As with wooden doors, wooden window frames need more attention than other materials: rotting, warping or other weather-induced problems can damage the frame itself or lead to drafts. Kept in good condition, though, wood frames can provide a good degree of comfort through their natural insulation properties.
PVC frames can offer the best value; but, because of their popularity, not all products are created equally. A well-made PVC frame provides protection against moisture and condensation and requires no maintenance because of its durability. These frames can be composed of webs of internal, hollow chambers, which give them their high energy-efficiency. As the least expensive and (potentially) most efficient material, PVC is an attractive option.
Frames made of aluminum alone don’t score high marks for energy efficiency, but with an added thermal break that acts as insulation they improve dramatically. While easy to install because of their lightweight, aluminum frames can be relatively expensive.
Fiberglass frames are new on the scene and offer many benefits including energy efficiency, style and resistance to condensation.
Canada Windows & Doors manufactures PVC windows that meet the highest energy-efficiency and durability standards. Visit www.canwindoors.com to learn about frame technology and custom colour options.