We’re often asked ‘what type of window is best for my home?’ The honest answer is: ‘it depends.’ The best choice of material for your replacement windows depends on your budget, on the climate where you live, on the style of window that best suits your home and finally on how you plan on using and maintaining your windows. Lots of possibilities...
The window material is the biggest factor in determining the cost of your windows. Wood windows tend to be more expensive because of the cost of the raw materials and the complexity of the process that goes into making the window. Wooden windows typically take more time to custom build and the wood used is more expensive as a raw material. Vinyl windows tend to be made from materials that are manufactured in large quantities and then efficiently cut down and custom assembled into the final windows that are installed in your home. This PVC manufacturing process results in a very cost effective window. Fibreglass and aluminum are other window frame materials chosen for specific or custom-build projects. These tend to be more expensive because they the materials are not created in large quantities like PVC and mPVC windows.
Climate plays a large factor in the choice between wooden and PVC windows. The extremes of summer heat and freezing winter cold in our northern climate don’t suit wooden windows as well as PVC windows because wooden windows have to be regularly treated to minimize the affects of the these temperature extremes. Vinyl windows are virtually maintenance free and do not suffer as much from temperature extremes. mPVC windows (solid PVC) fare the best in Northern Climates because the solid core is much more resistant to changes in temperature.
There is no denying the natural beauty of a solid wood finish. While style preferences vary from person to person there are many interesting colour and texture options available with vinyl wood either in the form of the original extruded PVC material, painted PVC or with laminates applied to the PVC frame. You can even get a simulated wood grain finish in some PVC windows. Aluminum windows are also quite common in some high-end, modern-style homes because of the thin frames and clean simple lines.
Where and how you use your windows will also determine which material is the best choice for your windows. Due to the weight and size of some window configurations, wood may not be a feasible option. Windows in buildings with more than 3 stories may have to be fire-rated resulting in only specific materials like aluminum being suitable as frames. In warmer southern climates where thermal insulation isn’t an issue, simple, cheaper aluminum frames are quite common. There are still a number of small manufacturers who build custom fibreglass window frames that are specifically designed to match a unique architectural style. It’s best to ask your window consultant which window material is best suited for your needs.