There are many materials available today for window construction. You have several options with regards to energy efficiency and design. Your personal tastes, the climate in your area and the style of your home all factor into choosing the best material for you.
Window Construction Materials
Wood has been in wide use for hundreds of years for window construction. Wood is a very easy material to work with. It is often used in custom work and intricately detailed designs. There are many finishing options available, such as painting or staining. Wood is also very good in terms of energy efficiency.
However, when choosing wood, you are accepting the fact that it will require ongoing maintenance. It will require you to periodically reapply paint or stain. Peeling paint not only looks terrible, but will open up the wood to the risk of rot, if left exposed to the elements. But with regular maintenance, wood windows last a long time.
Steel can be found in older homes and basement windows. It is not often used in newer homes because of its low efficiency. The heat from inside can easily escape through a steel frame. As with wood, regular maintenance is required as steel must have a protective coating of paint, or it can rust. The main advantage of steel is that it is very strong and durable.
Aluminium rivals steel in durability, but also shares the downside of being low in energy efficiency, allowing significant heat loss. The benefit of aluminum over steel. Is that it does not require the same frequent maintenance. The aluminum has the colour baked on, making it extremely durable, making repainting unnecessary.
Vinyl / Polyurethane
Vinyl and polyurethane are inexpensive and very durable materials for windows. Not only are they quite energy efficient but vinyl/polyurethane windows are virtually maintenance free. They do not require you to paint them. The colour is the same throughout the material, so an unfortunate scratch or chip will only be visible under very close examination. Vinyl and polyurethane comes in a variety of colours to match your home.
Products made with vinyl and polyurethane have improved greatly over the years, and can now rival the look and feel of wood. There are a number of great options to accent your home like shutters, door surrounds, window and door trim from companies such as Fypon and Stromberg whose products we can supply.
Fibreglass is a fairly new material for window construction. It is very durable and energy efficient. It is one of the best in terms of energy efficiency. Well insulated fibreglass windows boasts low heat loss. This efficiency comes at a cost as these windows can be more expensive.
Considerations When Choosing Windows
The climate in the area you live is a major consideration when deciding what material to choose for your home. In the colder climates like we experience in Canada, you want to keep the cold out and heat in. Heat loss around windows and doors can be a major problem and you’ll want to prevent this through both the frame and the glass. You’ll want well insulated windows built with energy efficient materials.
You will also want insulated glass, double or triple pane, which increases the energy efficiency of the window. These products have either two or three layers of glass with argon gas between each layer. We’ll be discussing this in a future article.