Types of Windows
Vinyl (PVC) is the most common window type used in the industry, mostly due to their cost vs. efficiency. Vinyl frames, because they are a form of plastic can lack structural integrity (depending on manufacturer) and are very unstable in extreme temperatures.
Generally, white and tan frames are the only two finishes available in the northwest reigon because lighter finishes reflect the intense heat conditions found here and will extend the life of the frames.
Wood windows are available in many wood types,styles, and species. The common misconception is that the entire window is wood throughout.
Most provide aluminum clad exteriors to protect from weathering, however an all wood frame is also available.
Wood windows are available in the widest variety of exterior and interior finishes, grid configurations and hardware options.
Fiberglass window frames are the most structurally sound in the industry. They are twice the strength of aluminum and 9 to 10 times the strength of vinyl.
They are available in many colors and unlike vinyl can be painted in the future without voiding warranty.
Some fiberglass manufacturers offer a wood clad interior offering a natrual look and feel with the strengh and durability of fiberglass.
Aluminum framed windows have good structural integrity, and have very narrow frame profiles to maximaze view.
With a shift in the market toward contemporary design, aluminum windows are making a large comeback.
The possible down side is that metal frames conduct energy, therefore heat and cold are transferred at high rates leading to cold rooms in the winter and hot rooms in the summer.