If your home's windows were made before you were born, then it is likely time to change them out for some that are more energy efficient. However, before you can shop for new windows, first you need to decide what material you want their frames to be made out of.

There are four different materials used in residential window frames:

  1. vinyl
  2. fiberglass
  3. aluminum
  4. wood

The frame material you select should be based on the climate where you live and the design style of your home. To this end, below is some information about each type of window frame material to help you decide what option is right for your home's new replacement windows:

Vinyl Window Frames

Vinyl window frames became popular in the 1990s and have remained a best seller because they are:

  • durable
  • inexpensive
  • low-maintenance

However, vinyl windows are nearly impossible to paint and will eventually discolor when exposed to direct sunlight in hot climates. 

Vinyl windows are ideal for homes located in areas without oppressively hot summers and since they are made in different colors will match the overall design of most homes.

Fiberglass Window Frames

For a bit higher-end window frame than vinyl, there are frames made of fiberglass. Fiberglass window frames look very similar to vinyl, come in a wide variety of different colors, and will look great on any home a vinyl frame looks appropriate.

For the small increase in price, fiberglass frames are:

  • more energy efficient than vinyl
  • more durable than vinyl 
  • impervious to scratching

Additionally, fiberglass frames never need to be painted.

Aluminum Window Frames

If your home has a modern or industrial design, then aluminum window frames will look the best. Aluminum windows come in a wide variety of price points from inexpensive thinner aluminum frames up to very expensive thick frames. While older aluminum frames weren't energy efficient, as long as you purchase windows that have thermal breaks installed inside of them, then they will be as efficient as a vinyl or fiberglass frame.

Wood Window Frames

The fourth frame material option for your home's new window are those made of wood. As you can imagine, wood frames are labor-intensive to manufacture, so wood frame windows are some of the most expensive on the market. Additionally, wood window frames will rot and degrade in the weather if they are not consistently maintained.

Some vintage homes will never look "right" without the added elegance of window sashes and frames made of solid wood. For example, if you live in a craftsman style or colonial home, then wood frame windows are necessary to keep with the design style of the home.

However, other styles of homes will look fine with less expensive options made with other frame materials that don't require as much maintenance and are less expensive. For more information, contact your local custom windows installation company.