Your window serves an essential function in your home. It strikes a perfect balance between aesthetic appeal and functionality. The kind of frames you choose will determine how well your windows and other structures perform. The type of frame you choose will impact energy efficiency, lighting, insulation and even the size of glass panes to be used in your home.
If the suitable choice of window frames are put in place, their benefits will be felt for years to come.
What Kind Of Frames Are Available?
Aluminium is the most common framing material option. Aluminium is strong, durable and lightweight. It requires little maintenance and can last for a long time. While it is light, strong, durable and low maintenance, it is a poor insulator (metal conducts heat). Aluminium joinery can be kept in top shape by washing it every three months.
- It requires minimal maintenance than wooden window frames.
- Aluminium is cheaper than wood and uPVC window frames.
- Aluminium is very strong and durable outlasting uPVC and poorly maintained wood.
- Aluminium joinery provides a larger surface to fit in glass panes.
- Greater design flexibility than uPVC
- Powder coating allows aluminium frames to be painted in different colours. This increases the customisation options for aluminium joinery. The frames can be matched to the roof, walls, and furniture. A wide array of finishes are available ranging from glossy to woodgrain.
- Aluminium is a recyclable material, making it a sustainable material that helps to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Aluminium joinery is a poor insulator. It performs poorly at trapping heat within the home but including a thermal break will eliminate this problem.
Wood is a popular framing material in New Zealand homes. Most old homes have wooden joinery because it is strong, a good insulator and is readily available. Wooden frames add an air of class and elegance to your home but wood requires adequate maintenance to extend its lifespan.
- Wood helps to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide(CO2) in the atmosphere.
- Wood is a recyclable material and it requires less energy to make than other window frames. This makes it an environmentally-friendly choice.
- Wooden windows are available in a variety of styles.
- It is an energy-efficient choice because it serves as a natural insulator, helping to trap heat within the house.
- Wooden frames require significant maintenance to maintain their shine and beauty. They must be painted, sanded and varnished.
- Wood is susceptible to damage from termites and other wood-eating insects unless properly treated.
- Wood can wither, contract or fade in very hot weather or rot and expand under wet weather conditions.
- Certain types of wood like Teak and Mahogany are quite expensive. Wooden frames made with these types of wood can be quite expensive.
- Wood is more expensive and is heavier than aluminium joinery.
Composite frames are the ideal choice for people who want the benefits of wood and aluminium or find it hard to choose between both. A composite frame is made with both wood and aluminium. The aluminium is used for the external window frame while wood is used for the internal frame. This is a more expensive option but it provides numerous benefits.
- Energy efficiency: composite windows, unlike aluminium, prevents heat from being lost during the cold periods. Since wood is used for the inner frame, it serves as an insulative seal and prevents heat loss. Less heat being lost means that you save more on heating and use less fuel. Using less fuel for heating helps to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Recyclable: both wood and aluminium can be recycled making them an environmentally-friendly choice.
- Low Maintenance: in composite frames, the wood is on the inside reducing the need for extensive maintenance. This is because the wood does not face the perils of the weather. Aluminium requires minimal maintenance, even when used for the external frame.
- Strength and durability: aluminium and wood are strong separately, combined into one frame, they provide extra strength and durability.
uPVC stands for unplasticised polyvinyl chloride. uPVC is a form of plastic that comes in a variety of styles and colours. uPVC window frames are strengthened through the insertion of metal stiffeners. These stiffeners are inserted before the frames are assembled.
Unplasticised polyvinyl chloride is a good insulator and is energy efficient. It is very light, strong and requires little maintenance.
uPVC windows are not as common as aluminium or wooden windows but its use is becoming more common. However, uPVC window frames must be of high quality to ensure that they can withstand the intense sunlight and UV radiation in New Zealand.
Most uPVC window frames and Drivhus plast are imported, so they must be checked before installation to ensure that they are in line with the New Zealand Building Code.
- These windows can warp or become discoloured over the years.
- They are also not as durable as other window frames.
Which Frame Should You Choose?
The kind of frame and joinery you choose will depend on various factors such as your preferences, the location of your home and the structure of your home.
What factors should you consider?
some frames will require more extensive maintenance than others. For instance, wooden windows need more maintenance than aluminium windows. Depending on the size and structure of your home, your maintenance costs can be hefty.
A large multi-storey building will require scaffolding before maintenance can be carried out, this will increase the cost.
certain materials are best suited to specific locations. Aluminium windows do not perform well in coastal areas unless they are given extensive care. This care will include regularly removing salt residue and splurging on very durable paint finishes.
Wooden windows work well in coastal and bush areas. Houses in windy areas will be better off with aluminium joinery. This is because aluminium frames are stronger than wooden frames and can withstand harsh weather conditions better than wooden frames.
3. The preferred aesthetic you want:
if your house is a historic or period home, you might be more interested in retaining the original appearance of the home than maintenance issues. Here, wooden windows are the preferred choice because they fit the aesthetic.
If you want a clean, modern look, that will be achieved with aluminium windows. Wooden windows will help to create a natural, rustic appearance.
4. Colour coordination:
you might want your joinery to complement the other colours in your home, such as your roof and your wall paint. Aluminium joinery can be painted in a large variety of colours , making it a good choice for adding colour. Colourful joinery is a great way to add a personal touch to your home.
5. Consider how you’ll live in your home:
Think about how you want your new house to function. The life stage are you at, whether you have children living at home, and whether you spend a lot of time entertaining guests outdoors are all factors to consider when choosing joinery.
Window frames may be overlooked in the general structure of the house, but they perform a vital role. Before choosing the frames you want, remember that they can not be changed as easily as the window glass.
Your window frames need to be durable and strong enough to keep your entire window structure in shape without any hassles.