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How to Select Window Frames for Your New House

For window frames, there’s more than meets the eye.  Frames exist not just for aesthetics, but for the window’s structural support.  The window frame sandwiches the window with its anatomy divided like so: the head side (the top), the sill side (the bottom), and the jambs (its sides).

window frames getting installed by a professional installer

Beyond Looks: Window Frame Functionality

Don’t underestimate how much a window frame can impact your energy efficiency.  All parts of a window are essential in your home’s energy conservation because after all, a window is nothing more than an opening and a potential spot of vulnerability.

When a window’s poorly constructed or cheap, air or water will leak in.  Air leakage means energy inefficiency and higher monthly bills. Water, however, can wreak unspeakable damage, calling need for costly repairs.

So, when it’s that time to upgrade your window frames for your new house, know that you’ll be cutting down on energy loss and enhancing your window’s structural support.  All of this contributes to the curb appeal and resale value.  An all-around win-win.

Window Material

Window frames can be comprised of multiple different materials, but the five main ones are: aluminum, composite, vinyl, fiberglass, and wood.  Selecting new window frames for your home are all about deciding which material you want to go with.  Not only will it determine the look of your house, but the cost and energy efficiency, too.

Each material type possesses its own unique pros and cons:

Aluminum Frames

Any sort of metal window frame is lightweight, strong, and requires very little upkeep in terms of maintenance.  These frames are affordable, but there’s a catch.  They’re not very good at insulating because the metal conducts heat rapidly.

For energy efficiency, aluminum frames aren’t the best option.  While you can purchase metal frames with thermal strips that run along the frame and sash, it’s better to select a material that costs a little more but provides more efficient insulation—you’ll save in the long-run.

Composite Frames

What is composite, exactly?  This material is a mixture of wood particles and plastic.  Wood alone isn’t as durable as composite, but the plastic additive is what makes this material more durable and less fussy.

Wood frames demand regular maintenance, but with composite, you get the natural look of wood without all the upkeep, plus it has energy efficiency equal to vinyl.  The downside with composite is that to get the look of wood’s beauty without tending to it, you do pay the price.

Vinyl Frames

Perhaps the most popular material for window frames, vinyl offers a suitable balance between affordability, longevity, and efficiency.  Vinyl is composed of UV-resistant PVC, so you’re already starting off on the right foot for your window components.

There’s no need to paint or sand them, as you would with other materials, and they hardly need fixing. Vinyl window frames are much better at handling temperature shifts. On top of that, more window companies are including superb vinyl colors that are appealing to the eye. Lastly, these frames are easy to re-caulk so you can maintain a good seal and prevent potential drafts.

Wood Frames

You can’t beat the appearance of wood frames.  Classic, traditional, and able to match any architectural style, wood frames are unparalleled in their beauty, and you don’t have to sacrifice energy efficiency, either.  However, they are demanding in their upkeep with problems like wood rot and surface splintering and are also quite expensive when you’re replacing or installing new.

Fiberglass Frames

Fiberglass window frames offer top-tier quality in terms of durability, insulation, and thermal performance, all while being low-maintenance.  These frames are expensive, no doubt, but with fiberglass, you’ll see its positive effects in no time.

Your New Window Frame Checklist

When selecting window frames for your new house, it’s all about material.  While there is aesthetics to consider (aluminum looks vastly different than wood, after all), you’ll want to instead switch your focus to these characteristics:

Durability

How long will this material last?  It’s a new home, so you’ll want to make your window frames an investment that will have as long of a lifetime as your home.

Resale Value

home resale value with vinyl windows

It’s hard to think about resale value after you’ve just moved in, but if this isn’t your “forever home” you’ll definitely want to make these big investment choices that will appeal to the next home buyer.

Performance

Do you live in a consistently sunny climate or in the Midwest, known for dramatic temperature swings?  Climate is an important element in deciding your window frame material.  Vinyl is better at handling extreme temperature changes, whereas wood and composite are more sensitive.

Maintenance

Ask yourself how often you want to take up the chore of having to paint, sand, or stain your window frames?  If the beauty of wood means a little extra TLC is worth the work to you, then wood frames it is, but if you’d rather just buy frames you’ll never have to touch again, then try fiberglass or vinyl.

What many homeowners don’t realize with window frames is that there’s much more to them than just how they appear.  That’s why it’s essential to know your options for materials, how they perform, and how long they’ll last.  Windows are a big investment, just like a home, so taking the time to understand frame functionality really means getting more bang for your buck.

Find a Reputable Company

It’s important to go with a company that’s reputable and trustworthy. This is especially true when you’re window shopping. At Feldco, we have decades of experience serving many homeowners in the Midwest with great quality vinyl frame windows.

That’s why over 400,000 homeowners chose Feldco for their home improvement needs since 1976. We have great local services and 8 showroom locations across Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin within a large service area. Lastly, Feldco is home to a wonderful staff and professional installers that are ready to replace your windows. Speak to a product specialist and get a free quote online today.

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