A Guide to Window Frame Materials

Window frames come in a myriad of materials. You can get wood, aluminum, vinyl, and a couple other options. But you want to choose frames that properly insulate your home and work well with your local weather and climate. Which is best for your home? And what are the benefits of each?

For more information about frame materials, read on. We’ll discuss the different traits of each and what maintenance they might require.


Vinyl is a very durable, low-maintenance material that does well with extreme temperature changes. And because it’s also affordable-vinyl frames cost about half the price of wood frames-it’s a very popular option on the market.

Normally, these frames come in white or similarly neutral colors and can’t be painted. There are surface treatments that can be applied during the manufacturing process, giving consumers a broader color selection.

Vinyl frames also do a great job of insulating homes, making them an energy-efficient option for homeowners. But quality can vary between different vinyl frames, so it’s best to work with a window specialist when choosing your windows.


Fiberglass frames are similar to vinyl frames; they’re energy efficient, they last a long time, and they need very little maintenance. However, unlike vinyl, fiberglass can be painted whatever color you’d like. These frames are made out of glass fibers and resin, and the material can aptly handle shifts in temperature.


Steel frames aren’t currently used in modern homes, but you can still find them in older houses. They’re more often used in commercial buildings, but they do require regular painting and maintenance to avoid developing rust.


If you’re looking for a strong frame, aluminum frames are a great choice, and they’re also cheaper than wood frames. However, aluminum can corrode over time, and it corrodes even faster when regularly exposed to salty ocean air. Aluminum frames also don’t do well with wide temperature swings, even when a rubber or plastic thermal break is included in the frame model.

If you live near the beach or in an area with severe temperature changes, choose a different option.


If you want to choose from different frame styles, wood frames are a great choice. They can be milled into a variety of designs, and they offer a warm appearance for both interior and exterior areas. And if you want a custom color, they can easily be painted to match your designs.

They also provide outstanding insulation for your home, but they do require some maintenance. Every now and then, wood frames need to be painted, stained, and sealed to keep them looking great and to prevent them from rotting away prematurely.


Hybrid window frames are made with two window frame materials, one material on the exterior of the frame and the other on the interior. For instance, the exterior might be made out of vinyl or aluminum, and the interior might be made out of wood. This gives the frame exterior durability with interior appeal while still providing great insulation for the home.

Wood Clad

Wood clad frames are fairly similar to hybrid frames. The frame is mostly made out of wood, but the exterior surface is covered with resilient material, such as vinyl or aluminum. This better protects the exterior surface of the frame and creates an attractive wood interior.

When you’re choosing new windows for your home, use the information above to help you make the best decision. As you make your choice, work closely with a windows specialist to avoid potential mistakes.

For friendly, accommodating service, talk to the professionals at Arch Design. We’ll help you find the perfect window for your home, climate, and budget, and our knowledgeable team can provide high-quality installations for any window you choose.

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