We take a look at the pros and cons of metal, wood and uPVC frames.
Metal window frames
Opt for steel and your window frames will be slimmer, allowing better views and enabling more light to enter your home. This is because steel is so strong that less of it is needed to support your window panes.
In terms of insulation, steel frames tend to be made without a thermal break, so when they cool down they draw the cold into the house, creating condensation. Steel is also much pricier than aluminium and requires regular maintenance in order to prevent corrosion.
If slim window frames appeal but your budget won’t stretch to steel, why not consider aluminium? It may be light but it’s also strong, making it ideal for securing larger windows and doors. Sliding doors with slim aluminium frames will fill your whole wall with glass, creating a beautifully clear view of your garden.
Once aluminium frames have been powder coated and finished with your chosen colour, the only maintenance they’ll require is the occasional quick clean. They’ll also come fitted with thermal break technology, which offers better insulation than steel.
Wooden window frames
Timeless, traditional and stylish, timber frames are perfect for both period and contemporary properties. If you’re keen to improve the thermal efficiency of your home, you’ll be glad to know that wood is also naturally insulating. It will, however, require regular repainting or staining.
If you don’t have a huge budget, softwood frames are a good option. While cheaply made softwoods can require a fair amount of maintenance, modern glue laminating techniques and better factory finishes have improved the situation. Douglas Fir is an excellent option, as it’s the strongest of our home grown softwoods.
Because hardwoods like oak feature a tighter grain than softwoods, they’re more stable and durable. However, this is reflected in the price of hardwood window frames, as they can cost four times as much as softwood ones.
Originally designed for use in harsher climates, composite window frames work well with modern homes. Made from timber capped with a protective aluminium cover, composite combines the traditional look of timber with the durability of aluminium. Although it’s a good insulator, it can be expensive and windows ordered from abroad are unlikely to be made to standard UK sizes.
uPVC window frames
Unplasticized Polyvinyl Chloride is cheap, durable, weatherproof and low maintenance, so it’s no surprise that window frames made from uPVC have dominated the new build and replacement window market since the 1990s.
The traditional chunky white frames don’t suit every home though, and if you live in a period property you’d be wise to avoid them, as they could reduce its value.
However, things are changing, as uPVC frames are now available in a choice of colours and finishes, including a wood grain finish. Opt for coloured frames and you’ll also remove any risk of discolouration, which is usually caused by pollution.
While Upvc frames contain a steel core which makes them very secure and hard to damage, they can’t be easily replaced and doors can be a weak point.
We hope our quick guide helps you to pick the perfect frames for your home.
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