Whether you're replacing your windows because they've become worn or damaged, you're looking for a more energy-efficient option, or you just want to update the look of your home, there are some things you should consider before installing or replacing windows. One of the most important is what frame material you want. The common materials have their pros and cons, so much will depend on your home, your climate, and what's most important to you.

Wood Frames

Wood frames have been around a long time, and they fit well with older homes with more traditional siding and roofing materials. They can be painted in many colors; however, painted frames often show wear more easily, so many people choose to simply stain or varnish them to let their natural grain show through. And perhaps more importantly, they are very energy-efficient, making it difficult for heat to escape in the winter or get inside in the summer.

Their biggest downside is their need for maintenance. The paint, stain, or treatment of wood frames must be kept in good condition (which can mean periodic sanding and re-coating) to prevent problems with warping or even rot. This is a bigger problem in humid climates where it's crucial to protect wood frames from the moisture in the air. But if you don't mind a little DIY maintenance, wood frames might be a great choice.

Aluminum Frames

Aluminum frames are inexpensive yet sturdy. Thanks to powder coating, they can be made to match nearly any color, making them fit in well with many home styles. And aluminum can be made into very thin frames, allowing for a larger area of glass that works well with picture windows or similar styles. They require little maintenance beyond occasional applications of lubricant to moving parts.

Unfortunately, another one of the reasons aluminum frames are often so thin is that they are not energy-efficient, easily conducting heat. In mild climates, this may be no problem, but they are a poorer choice in areas that experience very hot or cold weather; if you live in this type of climate and want aluminum frames, look for the thinnest frame and most energy-efficient glass you can get.

Vinyl Frames

Vinyl frames are another good option for energy efficiency, blocking heat transfer well. They require little maintenance beyond lubrication, similar to aluminum frames. They are available in many colors (although not quite as many as powder-coated aluminum); in addition, they can be given different textures, a fact which is often used to simulate wood grain.

One thing to watch out for with vinyl windows is their structure. The previously-stated advantages are for solid vinyl frames; there are also hollow vinyl frames which do not have the same energy-efficiency as solid vinyl. It's important to be sure you're getting window frames with a solid core.

For professional window services, contact a company such as Morgan Exteriors Inc.