Window Materials & Styles
Wood Window Frames
Wood window frames insulate well, but they also expand and contract according to weather conditions. They can also be quite heavy and thicker than other frames. This can make storage difficult, reduce the view out the window, and reduce the amount of natural light in the room. Wood frames also require the most maintenance. There are, however, aluminum- or vinyl-clad wood frames that reduce maintenance requirements.
Aluminum or Metal Window Frames
Although very strong, light and almost maintenance free, metal or aluminum window frames conduct heat very rapidly. Because of this, metal makes a very poor insulating material. To reduce heat flow and the U-factor, metal frames should have a thermal break-an insulating plastic strip placed between the inside and outside of the frame and sash.
Fiberglass Window Frames
Fiberglass window frames are dimensionally stable and have air cavities (similar to vinyl). When these cavities are filled with insulation, they offer superior thermal performance compared to wood or vinyl (similar to insulated vinyl frames).
Composite Window Frames
Composite window frames consist of composite wood products, such as particle board and laminated strand lumber. These composites are very stable, they have the same or better structural and thermal properties as conventional wood, and they have better moisture and decay resistance.
Vinyl Window Frames
Vinyl window frames are usually made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) with ultraviolet light (UV) stabilizers to keep sunlight from breaking down the material. PVC is a very versatile plastic with good insulating value. Vinyl window frames also do not require painting and have good moisture resistance. However, at high temperatures, they may expand and warp; at extremely low temperatures, they may crack. Also, if sunlight hits the material for many hours a day, colors other than white may tend to fade over time. Insulated vinyl frames are also available. Unlike standard vinyl frames, their hollow cavities are filled with insulation. This makes them thermally superior to standard vinyl and wood frames. Usually these high-performance frames are used with high-performance glazing.
An awning window is a casement window that is hung horizontally, hinged on top, so that it swings outward like an awning.
Bow Bay Window
A multi-panel window, with at least three panels set at different angles to create a protrusion from the wall line.
A casement window (or casement) is a window that is attached to its frame by one or more hinges. Casement windows are hinged at the side.
Single Hung Window
One sash is movable (usually the bottom one) and the other fixed.
A hopper window is a bottom hung casement window that opens similar to a draw bridge typically opening to the outside.
A very large fixed window in a wall, typically without glazing bars or glazed with only perfunctory glazing bars near the edge of the window. Picture windows are intended to provide an unimpeded view, as if framing a picture.
Has two or more sashes that overlap slightly but slide horizontally within the frame.
Double Hung Window
Two moving sashes that overlap slightly and slide up and down inside the frame.
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