The Right Stuff: Choosing the Perfect Windows
February 13, 2008
Perhaps home and garden shows have inspired you to install new windows in your house. But before you shell out big bucks for new windows, educate yourself about the many styles of window sashes and window frames.
Although wood, vinyl, and aluminum sashes and frames are all popular options for new windows, each type of material may feature both surprising benefits and unexpected drawbacks. Remember, your house windows' sashes and frames are highly visible to your neighbors and guests, so you should choose wisely.
There are good reasons why so many houses have wooden windows. Wood can easily be painted and shaped. Also, wood makes a great insulator, which will be a plus for energy-conscious homeowners. Wooden house windows require regular maintenance, however, because wood can be prone to chipping, peeling, and even rotting.
Aluminum windows are rust-free and sturdy, so they require little upkeep. However, aluminum windows aren't very energy efficient. If aluminum windows interest you, look for a higher quality brand that comes outfitted with protective thermal breaks. Also, consider that the U.S. Housing and Urban Development guide suggests that aluminum window frames should be at least 1.57mm thick.
Vinyl windows are strong and extremely cheap. Although you can't paint them, you can buy them in all colors of the rainbow. Another upside of vinyl windows is their energy efficiency. The deal breaker for some homeowners could be vinyl windows' appearance. Vinyl windows often look clunky when compared to aluminum and wooden windows. If their facade doesn't bug you, vinyl windows can be a durable, low-cost option.
If you still can't decide on the right windows for your house, visit home and garden shows for inspiration. Sometimes it is easier to visualize new windows on your home when you see them on someone else's house first.
"Material and Construction Options for Windows," BobVila.com