There are three main materials that double glazed window frames are made from today – Aluminium, wood and UPVC. Each material has its pros and cons and these need to be considered before making a decision about which one to choose.
The good points with regards to aluminium frames include the following:
- They are strong but lightweight. Their strength means that they can often hold heavy, cumbersome pieces of glass which in turn means that large windows don’t have to be split into several separate window panes.
- They are virtually maintenance free.
- They can be painted with special paints to give the colour that you want.
Aluminium frames do have a few bad points as well though.
- Aluminium, like any metal, conducts heat and so without an insulating material between the front and back of the frame, they will be inefficient. Most frames today have an insulating strip in the cavity to reduce heat loss while superior frames also have a layer of foam insulation.
- These frames have been known to corrode and so they aren’t suitable for areas of high pollution or in towns and cities close to the sea.
Wooden frames have the following good points:
- They are very good insulators and so keep heat in the house.
- They have a traditional look that fits in with most homes, especially older houses that still have original features.
- Wood can be painted virtually any colour you want and the colour can be changed as often as you want.
Again, these frames also have their negative points:
- Wood requires quite a lot of maintenance, especially on the exterior side. If they aren’t properly protected from the weather they can retain moisture and either crack, warp or decay over time. An alternative is to have vinyl or aluminium clad wood which is protected on the outside but still looks natural on the inside.
- Wooden frames tend to be heavier and thicker than some others and this can give small windows a gloomy look. They can also decrease the amount of natural light that reaches the interior of the house.
UPVC frames are normally manufactured from polyvinyl chloride with added UV stabilisers. Their good points include:
- They are very good insulators as the cavity between the front and the back of the frame is normally filled with an insulating material.
- They are very versatile with regards to shape, size and colour. The UPVC material can be moulded into a variety of shapes and sizes which means they are suitable for most window shapes. Plus they can be manufactured in a range of colours, including wood effect.
- UPVC doesn’t require painting and the frames are virtually maintenance free.
The bad points of UPVC include the following:
- The flexibility of the material means that there is a limit to their size and the weight of the glass they can safely hold.
- Some of the colour options tend to fade in the sunlight over a period of time and this can leave them looking patchy.
- They can be affected by extreme weather conditions such as excessive heat or cold however this is rare.
Hopefully the lists above will give you an insight into the main pros and cons of each material so you at least know where to start in your research.