Window Materials Comparison Guide
Replacement windows today can be made of a wide variety of materials. Each offers its own advantages and disadvantages. The choice you make for your home will depend on personal preference, budget considerations, and the level of performance you expect when installing new windows in Virginia Beach VA. Here is a brief guide to window frame materials prepared by the Virginia Beach windows experts at Beach Windows & Siding.
Vinyl windows are the most popular choice for replacement windows in Virginia Beach and across the country. Vinyl frames are relatively inexpensive, durable and low maintenance, while delivering excellent thermal performance. Modern vinyl windows are molded to look and feel like real wood grain but without the high cost and maintenance requirements. Chambers within the vinyl frame create air spaces that increase the R-value of the unit. These chambers can even be insulated, further increasing the R-value and reducing noise infiltration. Vinyl windows are available in a variety of colors and finishes, including hybrid models with wood interior framing.
Fiberglass is a durable and long lasting window material. Fiberglass is one of the strongest window materials, offering a rigid frame. Fiberglass frames use less mass in manufacturing, leading to lower conductivity and higher energy efficiency. Fiberglass does not conduct heat or cold.
Quality fiberglass frames are composed of at least 60% glass. This means the expansion and contraction rates of both the window panes and the frames are similar, increasing the life of the window unit’s seals and materials.
Fiberglass frames will not twist or warp during installation. This ensures the frames stay square. The greatest drawback is likely to be the premium pricing which is around 10-30% above a mid-grade vinyl product. Fiberglass windows are practically maintenance-free. They can be painted if desired, come in a large selection of colors, do not warp, crack, rot, or corrode over time.
Wood frames are the most traditional window materials, and are a good choice for homeowners who want a natural frame. Wood is a low-conductivity material and the core of a wood window frame is solid, rather than hollow. Wood framed windows can provide U-values around .30 for low-e glass and around .50 for clear glass.
Wood window frames can be painted or stained. However, this means that they also require scraping and painting every few years. The frequency of maintenance and upkeep is related to the quality of the materials. For instance, a better finish will last longer. Higher quality wood will have a longer life and be more resistant to rot and decay.
Composite frames combine the best qualities of vinyl and wood. Composite windows may be suitable if maintaining the look of wood is desired, but without the required maintenance issues. Composite windows require virtually no maintenance. Their resistance to warping, rotting and their strength against cold and heat make them a great choice for busy homeowners. While the thermal properties of composite frames are similar to those of wood, composites offer better resistance to moisture and decay.
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Why pay more for a limited selection and less than stellar service on your replacement windows in Virginia Beach VA and Hampton Roads when you can get the best choice and exceptional attention at Beach Windows & Siding? Visit our showroom in Virginia Beach. Or call us today at (757) 632-4300 to schedule a FREE in-home consultation, measurement and estimate. Or simply complete our convenient on-line quote request form.