Four Pillars of a Great Replacement Window Experience: Window Frame (Part II)
There are four main pillars that make up a great replacement window experience. Like a chair with a broken leg, missing just one of these will adversely affect your happiness with your new windows. In this multi-part series, we will discuss the first of these pillars: the window frame material.
In our last post, we discussed some of the pros and cons of window frame materials, including wood, steel and aluminum. In this post, we will discuss the features and benefits of some of the newest and most popular window frame materials available today, namely vinyl and composite window frames.
Perhaps one of the most popular replacement window framing materials in recent years, vinyl has a number of advantages over other framing materials like wood, steel and aluminum, but also has a number of drawbacks inherent in the material.
Vinyl’s Positive Properties
Vinyl is far less conductive than steel or aluminum, and does not corrode or rot like steel or wood. Vinyl, particularly in its most common color, white, has color throughout, so scratches and scuffs are not as visible. Vinyl window frames are most commonly available in white although other colors and painted extrusions are available as well. Painted vinyl will expose the white underbelly should it receive a scratch or other wear.
One of vinyl’s biggest weaknesses, and one that is not often mentioned by vinyl replacement window sales personnel, is its tendency to expand in warm weather and shrink in cold. This is a well-known property of vinyl and the reason vinyl siding is never nailed tightly to the side of a house, but “hung” on partially sunk roofing nails. Because vinyl moves so much, it often requires re-caulking and sealing as the movement exceeds the flexibility of the caulk and allows wind and moisture to enter the window cavity. This movement also tends to break the seal of the glass to the frame, exposing the glass to moisture which will deteriorate its seals and allow drafts to enter the home.
Often called the best of all worlds, composite window frames combine the strength of wood with the energy efficiency and low maintenance of vinyl. Renewal by Andersen’s composite window frames are made with its patented Fibrex material. Fibrex contains up to 40 percent wood fibers, giving it the strength of wood and the durability, rot resistance and low maintenance of vinyl. Further, the addition of the wood makes Fibrex more than twice as stable as vinyl, eliminating the concerns of seal failure so common with vinyl window frames.
Key benefits of Fibrex material
- No need to scrape or paint again and warranted not to rot, flake, blister, peel, crack, pit or corrode.
- Excellent insulator: prevents heat or cold transfer into or out of your home.
- Strength of Fibrex material makes narrower frames, allowing for more glass area
- Available in 22 standard color combinations
- Stainable wood interiors available, including oak, maple and engineered pine.
- Fibrex material contains over 40% reclaimed wood fiber, reducing impact on the environment
- Resistant to changes in temperature – doesn’t expand and contract like some materials
As the first pillar in the Replacement Window satisfaction, your choice of window frame material will have one of the largest impacts on your long-term happiness with your new windows. Be sure to consider all the features and benefits of your replacement window frame material choices before making your final selection.
For more information, contact us at 1-888-826-2451 for a free design consultation.