Energy efficient windows are typically recognized by their treated glass, but don’t neglect the importance of framing materials when shopping for San Diego replacement windows. Window frames contribute up to 30% of the window’s total weather resistance and energy efficiency. Inserting a highly energy-efficient window pane into a frame that allows a terrible amount of heat transfer is self-defeating.
That being said, energy efficiency isn’t the only factor to consider when choosing a window frame material. There are pros and cons to the various materials. Here’s a short guide to the different types of window framing materials available in San Diego to help you decide which type of replacement window is best for your home based on your priorities:
Aluminum frames are the cheapest in terms of costs and were the window frame of choice in San Diego for many years for their durability and maintenance-free performance. Unfortunately, aluminum window frames are a poor choice for energy efficiency, as they conduct and transfer heat at a comparatively high level.
It is rare to find aluminum windows being installed in San Diego homes today, since there are much more energy efficient options. However, you may still find new aluminum windows in more modern styled homes, as aluminum frames can be made thinner than other materials due to the strength of aluminum. So, San Diego homeowners who want a streamlined look to their home may still consider installing aluminum windows, despite their downsides.
Windows with vinyl frames are by far the most common type found in new homes and sold by San Diego window replacement companies. Vinyl frames are hollow units that are typically welded together to create a continuous material. They can be extremely energy efficient, especially when filled with insulating materials. Vinyl frames are also able to be treated with UV protection to extend their functional life and prevent degradation. Best of all, vinyl windows come at an affordable cost and are virtually maintenance free.
Fiberglass window frames have been gaining in popularity in recent years. They have the strength of steel, with excellent thermal properties. Fiberglass frames are made from combining reinforced glass fibers and a resin. The material is used extensively in the boat manufacturing industry because of its thermally stable properties. Fiberglass window frames for San Diego are comparable in price to windows with wood frames, making them one of the more expensive options on the market, but they don’t require much maintenance and are very durable.
Wood window frames are the cream of the crop if aesthetics are most important. Nothing has the feel and richness of well-crafted wood window frames, which also perform admirably in blocking heat. Unfortunately, windows with wood frames are pricey, and require upkeep as they age. They are susceptible to damage from insects, mold, and weathering, so regular maintenance is a must. If you like the look of wood, but not the upkeep, you can purchase windows with wood on the interior, but that have aluminum or vinyl cladding on the exterior to protect from the elements.
As with almost any product on the market, there are high-quality options and lower-quality ones. Don’t assume that all window products made with the same materials are equal. Talk to a respected San Diego replacement window company and ask lots of questions about their products to make sure you are getting the best windows based on your needs and your budget.