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Replacement Window Materials


Window frames are available in a variety of materials including aluminum, wood, vinyl, fibrex, and fiberglass. Frames may be primarily composed of one material, or they may be a combination of different materials such as wood and vinyl. Each frame material has its advantages and disadvantages.

Aluminum. These days aluminum is primarily used in commercial applications and rarely for residential. This is because the strength aluminum provides is not needed when dealing with the typical size of a residential window. Aluminum will transfer heat, meaning it will get cold when heat retention is needed during the winter, and will transfer cold when you’re trying to maintain cool air during the summer months. In a commercial situation rigidity is needed for very large windows and aluminum must be used at the expense of energy efficiency.

Wood. Wood produces higher R-values, are unaffected by temperature extremes, and are less prone to condensation, but they require considerable maintenance in the form of periodic painting. If wood frames are not properly protected from moisture, they can warp, crack, and stick.

Vinyl. Vinyl windows are made primarily from polyvinyl chloride (pvc), which offers many advantages. They are available in a wide range of styles and shapes, have moderate to high R-values, are easily customized, are competitively priced, require low maintenance, and mold easily into almost any shape.

Fiberglass. Fiberglass is relatively new and not yet widely available. They have the highest R-values of all frames; thus, they are excellent for insulating and will not warp, shrink, swell, rot, or corrode. Fiberglass frames can be made in a variety of colors and can hold large expanses of glass. Some fiberglass frames are hollow; others are filled with fiberglass insulation.

Fibrex. Fibrex material is a blend of wood fiber and specially formulated thermo-plastic polymer. This unique window material is made from reclaimed wood fiber from the Andersen Window Corporation's 65 acre manufacturing operation in Bayport, Minnesota. Fibrex combines excellent strength, insulation properties and provides low maintence.

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Current Board Posts

  • Monday October 5, 2015

    Can nailing flange be added to OKNA 400?

    Hello all,
    Window contractor ordered OKNA 400 insert windows for a replacement project on my house. Turns out a moisture intrusion report found...

  • Sunday October 4, 2015

    A major force, large missile test, pelvic pieces of glass

    A major force, large missile test, pelvic pieces of glass, which is subject to driving at a speed of 34 miles per hour....

  • Thursday October 1, 2015

    Reverse cottage style windows

    I live in the Chicagoland area and am on the search for replacement windows. We live in a brick faced ranch and...

  • Thursday October 1, 2015

    Polaris V. Simonton V. Reliabilt

    We are looking at replacing our old Traco windows that came with our house. So far, our options are: Polaris Thermalweld (or...

  • Tuesday September 29, 2015

    New Windows Comparison in Connecticut

    Hello, I am new to the group looking for some basic feedback. I am currently looking to replace roughly 34 windows in my...

  • Monday September 28, 2015

    WASCO vs. Sunrise Windows - Vinyl Replacements

    Hello! We have three questions about vinyl replacement windows for original 1960's interior windows and separate exterior storms...
    1. Looking to...

  • Wednesday September 23, 2015

    Ok, last one...

    I have a quote for 23 double hung Softlite Imperial LS windows installed for $504.50 each. Is this a good...

  • Tuesday September 22, 2015

    elements really that good for the money

    Wow...seems like after tons of reading the soft lite elements are a real hit in the "high end" side of replacement windows.

  • Sunday September 20, 2015

    satisfied/happy customers in cincinnati

    Can anyone help me with their recommendations of replacement window dealers/installation companies in Cincinnati?
    I have narrowed it down to 3

  • Sunday September 20, 2015

    good price on soft lite windows and provia door

    here is the deal
    15-soft lite elements double hung ultra s glass triple pane windows $8150
    all windows under 100 total inches...

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