The material that you choose to frame your double glazed windows will affect the cost of your project, how long it lasts and how your windows look in the end, so it's important to know all you can about the options you have. Basically, these windows can be made from aluminium, uPVC or timber. All the above options have up and downsides depending on your unique needs.
Obviously, many people start by looking into the purchase price. In this regard, it's important to choose best value for money, rather than just the cheapest option. Remember that fitting or replacing doors and windows for an entire house takes a worthy sum, and so you should make it worthwhile. This article highlights the upsides and downsides of the three most commonly-used material options.
Upsides – timber is great if you're going for that natural look and feel, because it is natural. You can also stain or paint it in virtually all colours depending on your décor plan. Softwoods are cheaper if you're on a tight budget, but hardwoods will give greater quality and longevity. Wood has great insulation capabilities, which makes it great as a framing material for doors and windows.
Downsides – on the flip side, wood is a relatively high-maintenance material. It can deteriorate and fail rather quickly if not cared for. Wood must be treated to prevent rot. Also, the stain or paintwork must be kept in good condition by cleaning to protect the wood underneath. Timber absorbs water and 'swells' a little when wet and then shrinks back in dry seasons. The constant change can cause paintwork to crack and eventually peel. This can also create gaps in the frame through which water can penetrate. Gapping also degrades wood's insulation capability.
Upsides – uPVC is a popular option for residential homes because it's the least expensive of the above options. It is lightweight and can be shaded in different shades and colours. It is relatively long-lasting and requires little maintenance.
Downsides – just like aluminium, sub-standardly manufactured frames are prone to warping and discolouration within a short time. Depending on your design, you can end up with chunky, unsightly frames. Welded frames must be reinforced, or else they can become distorted or ill-fitting over time.
Upsides – aluminium is a long-lasting framing material, and you can get it in virtually all colours and shades. Modern versions have been modified to provide better energy efficiency. Also, aluminium is lightweight for easy transportation. It's a great option to give your windows a slimline, contemporary feel.
Downsides – substandard manufacture can cause your framing to easily discolour and corrode. Some people may think it lacks character, unlike grainy wood, for instance. It is costlier than wood because it is a less popular option for residential buildings. You must buy energy-optimized models, because aluminium is an excellent conductor f both cold and heat. Therefore, it must have the thermal breaks installed to give proper insulation.Share