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Raleigh Windows: Article About Choosing A Window Frame

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Whether you are looking for replacement windows or having a new home built, one of the biggest decisions you have to make is what material do want used in the structure that holds the windows in place.

A window frame is so much more than what is visible from the top. There may be at least two layers of material beneath the window ledge. Frames for Raleigh windows come in different materials, including wood, aluminum, PVC (vinyl), fiberglass, and steel. Frame materials may be evaluated on the basis of several factors: durability, thermal resistance, maintenance, proportion of recycled material, and cost. Another important factor, of course, is how the frame looks with the house.

Steel windows are the most durable. At the other end of the spectrum is wood, while vinyl and aluminum are good, and fiberglass slightly better.

Thermal resistance is the measure of a material's ability to block heat flow. In simple terms, you want high thermal resistance to keep out the cold in the winter time and keep the cool air in during the summer. For this parameter, wood, fiberglass and vinyl all score four out of five stars.

A windows installer from Otto's Exteriors of Raleigh NC would be happy to answer any question you have about replacement windows or gutters.

Wood has a drawback in that it expands and contracts with changes in ambient humidity, which can make your windows difficult to open and close.

If you don't mind sanding and painting, choose wood. Wooden windows may be preferred in older houses where you want to preserve the character of the original structure. High maintenance need not necessarily be a deal-breaker if you like wooden window frames. For those who don't, steel, fiberglass and aluminum are all very low-maintenance materials.

Aluminum and steel contain between 95% and 98% recycled materials, so these may be considered the "greenest" options, while wood is less so and vinyl the very least so. Fiberglass rates somewhere in between.

Evaluating window frames based on cost is a little tricky because you have to weigh in all of the other factors, especially durability. Wooden frames are expensive and high-maintenance, although they have good thermal resistivity. Steel and fiberglass are also costly, but they are very low-maintenance and durable, and steel is very green.

If you really don't want to spend a lot of money, then vinyl or aluminum would be good choices. Both are low in cost and low-maintenance. Aluminum is typically a poor insulator, although this can be mitigated with the use of a polyamide break, which boosts the thermal resistivity while preserving structural strength.

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