Frames For Windows

Comparing Window Frames for your Custom New Home

When we think about energy rating of windows for a custom new home, our minds often go straight to glazing. But there is an often overlooked detail that will be equally important in delivering insulating properties to your home, as well as a host of other functional and aesthetic benefits.

Window frames are a feature of custom new homes that can impact the type of sash you can use, the overall energy rating of your building and medium to long term maintenance requirements. The availability of different frame options, and the variables they can deliver to your custom new home make them worthy of specific consideration early in your design process.

Aluminium Window Frames

Features at a glance:

  • Strong – when mixed with small amounts of other     metals
  • Flexible – can be easily shaped
  • Impermeable – to air, light and other micro-organisms
  • Durable – corrosion resistant and strong
  • 100% recyclable – can be reused endlessly without compromising its strength. Uses 5% of the energy used to create the original when recycling
  • Light weight – weighs 1/3 of a piece of steel of the same shape and size
  • Flame retardant – does not support combustion

Aluminium windows are known for being light weight and long lasting. They are a strong and durable option, and generally low maintenance, especially if they are painted, and are available in anodized or powder coated finishes. Aluminium frames give a sleek and modern finish to a home and can be easily formed into different shapes. Because they can be moulded and painted, they can be easily customised to match the style and colour scheme of your custom new home.

While aluminium frames are not susceptible to wear or rot from exposure to the elements like other frames, they should be wind load tested to make sure they can withstand the wind pressure of your site. They are also not the most energy efficient of the frame options, but can be thermally enhanced to help increase their performance in this regard.

Wooden Window Frames

Features at a glance:

  • Aesthetic appeal – natural material that gives a warm finish and can easily be painted
  • Insulating- great thermal properties which far outperform aluminium, and also provide good sound proofing
  • Durable – treated wood has incredible longevity and if looked after, will last for decades. Particularly good for coastal regions since it is not prone to rust.
  • Environmentally friendly – the most environmentally friendly of all available options due to being renewable the production method having the lowest carbon footprint.

Wooden frames provide warmth and aesthetic appeal to a home that is heightened by the fact they can be easily stained or painted to match the preferred style of the home. Wood can be used for both the frames and the sash, and when used in this combination provides great insulation to both heat/cold and sound.

Wooden frames are naturally more susceptible to the weather which can cause swelling, shrinking and rotting if not looked after. While they will require medium to long term maintenance, wooden frames these days usually come treated to help extend their life. Treated frames will also provide a defence against termites and other bugs that can cause them damage.

Vinyl Window Frames

Features at a glance:

  • Insulating – a poor conductor of heat and cold, vinyl will help to regulate the temperature of your home
  • Low-maintenance – no routine treatment required. Easily cleaned with soap and water
  • Durable – won’t rust, corrode, swell, chip, peel or fade
  • Aesthetic – wide variety of colours and finishes available
  • Flexible – easily shaped to accommodate customised windows and design features
  • Flame retardant – does not support combustion

Vinyl frames are made out of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) - the same stuff used to make pipes and fittings for plumbing. The material is extruded into shape and then crafted together into a window frame, before being filled with glass to make the window. A versatile material, vinyl can easily be manipulated and shaped into a variety of different styles, which makes it a great option for unusually shaped or feature windows. Because it is completely impermeable, vinyl also makes a great insulator.

Vinyl frames won’t deliver the same strength or durability as aluminium or wood, but they are fit for purpose and won’t rust, corrode, chip or peel when exposed to the elements. It's an economical option to both purchase and install.

uPVC Window Frames

Features at a glance:

  • Durable – won’t rot, rust, corrode, erode or fade
  • Low-maintenance – no routine treatment required. Easily cleaned with soap and water
  • Insulating – poor conductor of heat and cold to help regulate temperature inside. Will also benefit acoustic insulation
  • Aesthetic – different finishes and colours including stone and wood textures
  • Flexible – easily shaped to accommodate customised windows and design features.
  • Recyclable – can be recycled up to 10 times
  • Flame retardant – does not support combustion

uPVC frames have been popular in America and Europe for many years due to their durability, insulation properties and low maintenance requirement. uPVC, or Unplasticized polyvinyl chloride, is a chemically resistant form of PVC that is also used for pipes and other structures, including window frames. Like vinyl, it is completely impermeable which makes it a great thermal and sound insulator. Frames can also be filled with foam to increase insulation performance. Their ability to conserve energy overtime has also gained them recognition as Green Windows.

uPVC can easily be shaped to accommodate a variety of different opening mechanisms, types of sashes and window shapes. Quality uPVC frames will retain their colour even if exposed to extreme weather conditions and their salt content is 57% thereby making them ideal for coastal residents. They are durable and can withstand extreme weather without peeling, corroding, flaking or chipping.

While uPVC frames are usually more expensive than standard aluminium or wooden frames, they usually end up cheaper than frame options that are compatible in performance, making them a sound long-term investment.

Ready to chat to a builder about the best window frames for your custom new home? Renmark Homes are expert custom new home builders. Contact out team on 1300 367 245.