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Windows Resources

Choosing the Best Window Frames for Your Home

Finding the best type of window frame can drastically change how your home looks — and functions. Some are more aesthetically pleasing, some are more energy efficient, and some check both boxes. The wrong decision on window frames can leave you with a poor-looking home with a lower resale value, while the right one can increase your return on interest. 

Don’t fret, you do not have to make these decisions on your own! Modernize can help you decide on the best window frame for your home by breaking down a few simple tips to keep in mind.

Table of Contents

Look at Window Frames in Your Neighborhood

Start your research process by taking a close look around your neighborhood to get a good feel for the aesthetic standard in your area.

Whether you are in a historical district or a more contemporary area can impact the type of window frame shape and material that best fits the vibe. You don’t have to worry about matching other homes identically. But keep in mind that most areas have some sort of guidelines to follow.

wood window frames

It is also a great idea to consult with neighbors about their own window replacement experiences — especially in older neighborhoods.

For instance, single- and double-hung window frames look very similar to the naked eye. But double-hung windows cost a bit more, and provide more versatility in movement and cleaning. That’s why they are known as one of the most common replacement windows that homeowners install. Additionally, wood window frames are paintable and customizable, but not as resilient as vinyl or fiberglass options.

Even if it is tempting to go outside the box with a unique window frame, this can be a risk when it comes to selling your home in the future. It’s one thing for your home to stand out, but it should also complement the community’s existing vibe and theme.

Types of Window Frames

There are dozens of window frame styles, shapes, and materials to choose from. The right window frame for your home depends on the tone you are trying to set and the budget you are trying to accommodate. 

Window options range from the simple (single-hung vs. double-hung, awning vs. casement)  to the elaborate (arched vs. skylight, garden vs. bay). Similarly, the prices vary drastically from $150 per window to $750 per window. The type of windows you have may also impact your choices in terms of window frames.

Window frame options include wood, vinyl, fiberglass and aluminum. Wooden and vinyl frames are relatively inexpensive and can be repaired easily, while fiberglass frames can cost more but are more durable over a period of time. Take a look at some of the pros and cons of each window frame type below:

Window frame Pros

Cons

Fiberglass
  • Long-lasting
  • Weather and temperature resistant
  • Excellent insulation
  • More costly
  • Duller appearance
Aluminum
  • Lightweight and durable
  • Sleek, modern design
  • Low maintenance
  • Less energy efficient (absorbs heat)
  • More expensive than vinyl
Wood
  • Traditional style
  • Natural insulation
  • Durable
  • Requires more maintenance
  • Can be expensive
  • Prone to water damage
Vinyl
  • Most affordable
  • Low maintenance
  • Moisture resistant
  • Less durable than other types
  • Lower grade aesthetic value

It’s important to discuss your window frame priorities with a contractor who will understand and respect your needs pertaining to budgets, energy efficiency and aesthetic.

Consider Your Climate and Surroundings

The region you live in can play a key role when it comes to deciding on the best window frame for your home. Manufacturers tend to create frames specially made for certain environments. 

For instance, storm windows are exterior windows that can be installed in the same frame as your current windows, but add an extra layer of protection. That layer blocks out draft and heat loss, providing extra insulation for when cold weather rolls in. They are ideal for areas with inclement weather. Awning windows are ideal for areas that endure a lot of rain, because of the way the window creates a water-resistant awning when opened.

Also consider the weather resistance of window frames. For example, fiberglass and vinyl window frames tend to be moisture and temperature resistant. On the other hand, wood window frames are prone to water damage. If you live in an area that receives a lot of precipitation and storms, you may want to stay away from wood windows.

Similarly, if you live in a colder climate, consider window frames that provide excellent insulation. Fiberglass and wood window frames tend to be best for insulation, while aluminum traps heat and tend to be less energy efficient.

Take a Look at Your Home Architecture 

There are a number of window frame types that aesthetically match certain architectural styles. For instance, round window frames give a nod to Victorian and Gothic style periods. Bow and bay windows play into existing architectural curves in a home. Jalousie windows with their modern slats fit a more contemporary home style. 

The upside of working with a more modern-style home is that it acts like a blank canvas — ideal for a playful, non-traditional windows. But those same rules will not necessarily apply to a historic home. This is an instance where you will want to stick to window frames and sizes traditionally used during that time period. 

Pay attention to the window frames in other homes in similar styles and which shapes, sizes and materials catch your eye to help you choose. 

Consider Energy Efficiency 

Energy efficient windows are designed to prevent heated or cooled air from escaping your home. This in turn can help you save money on energy bills

In fact, homeowners who install Energy Star windows save an average of 12 percent on their utility costs throughout the year. Still, a major drawback when it comes to long-lasting aluminum window frame options is their lack of energy efficiency. Modernize recommends discussing these potential pros and cons with a licensed contractor in order to land on the right decision for your home.

Increased insulation will also make your home more comfortable. But in turn, efficient windows and window frames can be more expensive than a less efficient window replacement. Energy efficient window costs will vary by brand, window type and frame, and also what energy saving features you want to be applied to your windows.

Finding a Window Frame Contractor

No matter what windows you decide are best for your home, Modernize can help make the process easy by teaming you up with a contractor who can anticipate your needs. That way, you can get to more exciting things, like looking out the window — instead of worrying about installing it.

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