Whether you are looking for new windows for a custom build or searching for replacement windows to freshen up the appearance of an old house, a composite window is a great choice. It can enhance the curbside appeal of your home, boost property value, and promote energy efficiency.
Windows matter because you see a lot of these when you look at your home’s exterior. Similarly, clear windows give you unobstructed views of your home’s interior and help you enjoy the outside world. Today, the composite window variant has been gaining a lot of traction. Let’s find out more about it so you can choose among the different window frame types when sprucing up your house.
Learn More About The Modern Composite Frame Option
Today, you have many framing material options, including wood, vinyl, fiberglass, and composite frames. The first three have been around for decades, while composite windows are a lot newer. However, even though it is a new material, composite window frames have become more popular. Unlike the other frames that can be hard to maintain, composite windows require little to no maintenance.
Furthermore, windows made from composite materials offer durability and longevity. They mimic the beauty and strength of wood while providing the low-maintenance features and thermal performance of vinyl frames. The unique blend of composite materials does not warp like wood when exposed to water and frequent temperature changes. Moreover, they do not have the cheap plastic appearance of vinyl. You can usually tell right away when it is a vinyl window but not for composite because they look like wood windows.
Thus, if you have a traditional home, it will look better with the older hardwood grain design than a modern vinyl frame. With the composite window, you can enjoy the appearance of wood without stressing over its delicate qualities. This means you do not need to continually spend money, time, and effort to scrape and re-paint. Unlike wood, composite materials ensure your windows look sharp and fresh as it ages.
Notably, composite frames also look good on contemporary homes because you can readily stain the surface to look any color. Thus, it is not surprising that a lot of homeowners pick this modern frame option because it offers true value for the money.
The Material Components of a Composite Window
Composite windows are made from a blend of materials. It can possess a genuine wood interior that is protected by a super durable and strong composite exterior. You can compare them to the material your car bumper is made from, which includes a combination of resin and fiberglass.
As you can imagine, if your car bumper can sustain harsh crashes and impact, the composite window frame is flexible and strong. It is indeed a terrific material that protects your house while adding to its beauty at the same time.
Scientists began experimenting with composite materials in the 60s and 70s. But the composite technology was perfect around the 90s with the patented Fibrex material (fiberglass plus resin equal Fibrex). This material is strong, durable, and usable for various purposes. In addition, with its low thermal expansion rate (unlike wood that contracts and expands with temperature changes), composite material is more adaptable. As a result, it is:
- Resistant to rotting and decaying from moisture
- Proffers better insulation features
- Offers better thermal efficiency, helping lower cooling and heating costs
- Retains its integrity and withstand even extreme temperature swings
Thus, no matter how cold the winters or hot the summer are in your hometown, a composite frame is a great choice. The integrity of this material is undeniable and requires little maintenance.
Best of all, you can customize it to different sizes, colors, and styles to fit your home’s interior and exterior design specifications. There are infinite design options to coordinate with your preferences, budget, and existing home decor. Composite windows offer you low-maintenance qualities, and yet at the same time, they remain beautiful for years and decades with minimal effort.
Cost Considerations When Choosing a Composite Window
The cost of your composite window frames will vary based on the features you select, like the type of glass, size, color, and grilles. However, in general, the prices of composite frames fall somewhere in between vinyl and wood. The price is certainly cheaper than expensive wood windows. However, it is a bit more expensive than vinyl.
Some homeowners prefer to splurge on the composite material because of its wood-like appearance. Thus, it offers a happy medium for homeowners who want the look of wood but cannot afford their expensive price tag nor the headache of maintaining them.
Furthermore, composite offers the low-maintenance features of vinyl but not its lack of flexibility. Remember, they cannot make vinyl frames look like wood, so it offers limitations when it comes to adapting to your home’s exterior architecture and interior design.
Comparison: Peek at the Various Nuances of Composite, Wood, and Vinyl
Since people often compare these three framing materials against each other, it would be prudent to find out the pros and cons of each so you can make the best choice for your home. Indeed, elegant windows amplify the visual appeal of your house while sprucing up the overall ambiance of your interior living area. The right windows will last for many years, but knowing which materials work best for your needs and situation can help you decide. Let’s get started!
Wood is probably the oldest window material. They make them with hardwood like chestnut and oak or softwood like Douglas fir and European redwood. Hardwoods can stand alone, while softwood frames use hardwoods in their veneers.
Many people love wood, which is why it has been around since time immemorial. You can fit this into any home design, even old, historic homes. It can also add a touch of class to contemporary themes. When it comes to versatility, wood is amazing because you can readily stain it into any color.
Moreover, when it comes to energy efficiency, they insulate better than steel or aluminum, working well for both winters and summers. They also provide a great sound barrier among all the frame types. Finally, since wood is easy to work with, a DIY handyman can even try to install it on its own.
However, wood is not perfect. Take note of its disadvantages below:
- High maintenance: It will last for decades if you maintain it well with sanding, scarping, and re-painting. If you do not, it can swell, and you will have a hard time opening and closing your windows.
- Subject to changes: Wood contracts and expands, depending on the temperature. This can create gaps or bulges based on the weather outside. Thus, it can make your windows difficult to open and close.
- Readily rot: Among all the materials, wood is the most vulnerable because it can rot and decay. If you do not properly maintain it, it will absorb moisture leading to molds and mildew. Wood is also more vulnerable if you live on the ocean side.
- High cost: Another downside is the expensive price tag. This is usually more expensive than other frame types because the wood itself is an expensive raw material.
This material is PVC, which is what they make your pipes from. You will find two types of Vinyl windows. The first consists of hollow chambers to minimize weight, offer better insulation, and mitigate condensation. The second is from cellular PVC, so the interior is not hallowed but has sponge-like structures for better strength.
Many also like the more modern vinyl frame because it is low maintenance. It will not warp nor rot like wood. Likewise, it will not corrode and rust like steel or metal windows. So, you do not need superior care to maintain its form.
Though white is the most common frame color, you can find them in other shades, too, like brown, gray, or even black. You do not need to paint this like wood, and the design resists fading, scuffing, and scratching. So, if you bump into them, scratches are not noticeable.
This is a cost-efficient material as it is mass-produced in factories with low costs. This is also a reasonable choice for energy efficiency as it will not conduct heat during summer. It can also block out noise.
However, vinyl is also not without its cons. Look at them below:
- Not impact-resistant: Vinyl is not as resistant to impact compared to wood or metal frames.
- Energy-efficiency issues: If you prioritize energy efficiency, this will not work with an area with high winds and hail. There may be some energy loss because of the material component.
- Not versatile: Vinyl cannot be painted like wood, so you may need to change your frames to match the design if you decide to renovate.
- Heat issues: Excessive heat can also cause warping and fading, and when this happens, you cannot restore the shape and color.
- Costly customization: Because it is mass-produced, customization may be expensive. If you want personalized designs, this is not the most effective option.
- Non-biodegradable: Vinyl is not biodegradable, but you can recycle the material itself if you eventually replace your windows down the line.
This window frame combines different materials like wood, fiber, resin, etc. Some designs are made with wood on the interior for a unique appeal, while the exterior has vinyl for easy maintenance. Some composite windows also have aluminum cladding. These windows are now gaining popularity because it combines the best features of different materials.
For instance, composite window frames let you enjoy wood’s stability, strength, and structure without its temperamental qualities. You get the beauty of wood without fearing rotting, warping, and scratching. It is as low maintenance as vinyl and even aluminum. Best of all, it does not react as much to heat and cold, making it super stable.
On top of that, composite windows are resistant to impact, so this will work well in areas with hail and high winds. Besides, these have high energy efficiency with the same thermal properties as a wood window frame. Finally, installing this in your home will be friendly for your pocket as your HVAC can work optimally and not inflate your energy bills.
Best of all, these come in an abundance of colors and styles to fit your unique requirements. Also, they are an eco-friendly option because they make most of them out of recycled components. In the same token, if you dispose of old composite windows, they can recycle them. So again, there is no reason for this to end up decaying in the landfills.
Like the other materials it is often compared to; composite windows are not perfect. Look at the common complaints against this material:
- Price point: This is less expensive than wood but still significantly more expensive than vinyl. But if you want authenticity, the cost-savings of faux wood may be negligible for you.
- Appearance: Some say that composite that looks like wood seems to work well with old, traditional homes. However, others counter that you can still incorporate this in minimalist homes with proper styling.
- Invest in design: Since there are various types of composite windows, you must invest your time in researching products that offer the most benefits.
The Final Wrap Up
In conclusion, different window frame materials have their innate strengths and weaknesses. Thus, they will also proffer varying benefits and disadvantages. Ultimately, it will all boil down to your personal preference and budget considerations.
If you are considering composite windows, you are making a good choice as well. The key is choosing a reputable supplier so you can enjoy your investment for many decades. If you need help, call our team at North Shore Window Inc. We have various composite frame designs that we can customize to fit your property.
Reach out to us to get a free quote. You can peruse our online gallery to see our work. We have been serving this industry for many years, and our happy clients prove that. Our team strives hard to provide you with windows that are finely crafted based on your stringent specifications.