If you’re in the market for replacement windows in Kansas City, you no doubt have a lot of questions. One of those is probably, “Which kind of window frame is best – wood, aluminum, vinyl, composite, or fiberglass?” At All-Weather Window, Doors & Siding, we’re used to getting these kinds of questions. There is no simple answer because it changes for each homeowner. We dove a little deeper into the differences between our Andersen replacement window frames and summarized it below. Hopefully, this will help you make the right decision for your home and your budget.
6 Types of Window Frames Compare
1. Solid Wood: It’s been at the core of Andersen products for over 100 years. Wood provides strength and rigidity in both frames and sashes. Wood is mostly chosen for its beauty because it can be stained to match existing interior woodwork. Many homeowners prefer the natural look of wood and its overall thermal performance is hard to beat.
Pros & Cons – Great insulator against heat and cold, but it’s costly, requires maintenance, and is subject to swelling and contracting.
2. Aluminum: Aluminum provides a virtually maintenance-free exterior that resists the elements.It is strong, affordable, and low-maintenance, but conducts heat and cold, so it isn’t the most energy-efficient frame. It is also not the most aesthetically pleasing material for frames.
Pros & Cons – Strong, affordable, low-maintenance, but not as energy efficient or attractive as others.
3. Vinyl: Vinyl on its own provides an excellent low-maintenance exterior for any window and is available in a wide variety of colors. Where Andersen has innovated with vinyl is by using it as a protective cladding for its wood core windows. See below.
Pros & Cons – Affordable and low-maintenance, but color may fade over time.
4. Clad: The most expensive type, with wood frames inside and aluminum or vinyl shell on the outside; wood frame helps minimize the transfer of heat and cold, while the exterior shell makes the window low-maintenance.
Pros & Cons – Expensive, but very low maintenance and energy efficient.
5. Fiberglass – Fiberglass is a tough, weather-resistant material. They are maintenance free and can be combined with beautiful wood interior frames.
Pros & Cons – durable, maintenance free, lightweight, energy efficient.
6. Composites: Composites are new materials created to combine the best attributes of several materials. Composite windows are stronger and more durable than wood and vinyl, and can be painted to match a home’s decor.The price falls between wood and vinyl. Andersen’s Fibrex® composite window frames are two times as strong as vinyl, perform better when exposed to extreme temperatures and deliver exteriors that won’t fade, flake, blister or peel.
Pros & Cons – moderate price, extremely strong and durable, low maintenance, energy efficient, can be painted