Windows are not only a crucial part of any home décor, but (even more importantly!) they are also the link connecting one’s own home interior to the outside world. Because of the latter, they have to serve as an effective barrier that shields you and your property from the extremes. The ideal window should increase the value of your house, provide safety and help to maximise your energy savings.
Windows come in a variety of various shapes, dimensions, and styles, but the most important are the materials which comprise the frame, namely aluminium, wood, or uPVC. Choosing the right material is a very important decision. It will determine not only aesthetics, but also affect functionality and durability of your home windows. Naturally, the choice you’ll make will surely depend mostly on your personal taste and expectations. However, if choosing the best windows for your home is to be a fully conscious decision-making process, read this article in which we examine the available options in some more detail.
What is the difference between uPVC, aluminium and wooden windows
Windows are built either from uPVC, timber or aluminium and each of these materials has both their advantages and disadvantages. In the table below, we gathered the most commonly repeated characteristics of these three popular types of window frames:
Although all the pros and cons of uPVC, aluminium and timber windows listed above are well-known facts, all these solutions have some stereotypes attached to them, too. And the truth is that over the years, the joinery industry has developed new solutions and introduced innovations that may dismantle some of these beliefs and shed some more light on the features uPVC, aluminium and wooden window frames really possess. Let’s take a closer look at them!
Until recently, plastic windows were chosen by customers more often primarily for economic reasons. They were much cheaper than the luxury product that aluminium windows are considered to be. Today, uPVC windows are not the same as plastic windows from years ago, which quickly warped and turned yellow from the sun. Today’s structures do not deform so easily, and the surface of the frames is protected against scratches and colour loss.
uPVC windows, rightly associated with energy efficiency, usually have excellent thermal insulation parameters. For example, uPVC Window S 9000 (a 6-chamber uPVC profile with triple-glazed units up to 54 mm of thickness) boasts a heat transfer coefficient of U = 0.8 W/m2K.
It is assumed that uPVC windows are a better choice for houses in a traditional style. And indeed – they can perfectly imitate the appearance of wooden windows, thus perfectly fitting into the classics. It is worth remembering, however, that windows with such a design also look great in a slightly more modern style. What’s more, the choice of uPVC is no longer limited to classic windows or balcony doors, which until recently were massively used in multi-family housing. uPVC window systems available on the market today are adapted, e.g. through special profile reinforcements or mechanisms facilitating the operation of heavy sashes, to much larger dimensions, characteristic of contemporary single-family houses. A good illustration of this is the uPVC Sliding Doors Gealan HST (based on the S 9000 platform), which reaches an impressive size of 6,7 by 2.6 metres!
Aluminium windows are strong by nature, which is why the profiles do not deform, withstanding even heavy loads of extended glazing units. In addition, they are scratch and weather resistant. Contrary to some beliefs, they are not subject to corrosion either – thanks to the fact that they are anodised or powder coated, which fully protects them against rust. What is important, aluminium windows do not require almost any maintenance – a great example here can be Aluminium Window Superial, one of the most versatile systems in the Fenbro offer.
Aluminium windows are usually chosen for modern houses. Well, that does not come as a surprise – their slender, minimalist profile perfectly enhances the simple shape of any building and emphasises its modern design. However, this does not mean that aluminium window options do not work elsewhere. The aluminium frame does not have to look like aluminium at all. It can be in a wood-like, matte or glossy colour which allows you to maintain the desired style of both the rooms in the house and its surroundings.
When it comes to thermal insulation parameters, aluminium windows are not inferior to uPVC windows in this respect. Even if the aluminium profile itself has slightly worse parameters, the thermal insulation properties are highly increased by the choice of a properly warm triple-glazing unit. And if you are prepared to pay more for much better quality and performance, you can always choose premium or top premium aluminium window models with impressive thermal efficiency, such as Aluminium Window MB-86N SI , Aluminium Window Decalu 110 Steel or Aluminium Window MB-104 Passive AERO .
Wooden windows will surely be used in more classic architectural designs, such as historic houses, tenement houses, palaces. They are the most ecological product among all types of window joinery. It is worth mentioning that timber windows have a large impact on safety and health. They are more hygienic and do not attract much dust – thus, they reduce the triggering of allergic reactions among household members. They also regulate the humidity in the room to a greater extent. To the surprise of many, wooden windows also have a high resistance to fire. Wood burns slowly and does not emit substances harmful to health.
It is indisputable that a wooden window simply looks beautiful – but it also requires a lot of maintenance. Sometimes, when it is not cared for at all, it degrades and needs to be replaced. That’s why if you want your wooden windows to be durable and last for many years, you have to treat them with proper regular care. There are many factors affecting the lifespan of timber windows: correct installation, maintaining a constant temperature in the room during the heating period or proper operation, to name just a few.
Additionally, it is worth remembering that window frames made of wood are one of the most energy-efficient options you can choose. The reason is the fact that wood is a natural insulator, which means it preserves heat and warmth and prevents energy from transferring to another object. To learn more about impressive features of timber joinery, check out THIS energy efficient wooden window in the Fenbro offer.
What type of window frame to choose
Still not sure which window material would be the best for your home? Well, we have to admit that in the past, the choice was more obvious. Today, uPVC, aluminium and wooden windows are so advanced, modern, functional and available that it is much more difficult to decide. In order to choose optimally, it is worth talking to the Fenbro Sales Team who will help you choose the best solutions, taking into account the location, style, and even the needs of household members. And you can always use a Product Comparison tool already available on our website – go to your chosen window models pages, click on the Compare button and see the differences and similarities between their most important parameters and properties!