Comparing Types of Window Materials and Which Is Best for Your Home

By: Architectural Visions

If you are interested in new windows for your home, you likely already have an understanding about how many different options are available and how many choices you have to make. One of the most basic, yet important, of these decisions is what type of window material is best for your home design and budget.

To help you make the best window material decision for your home, here is an overview of the types of window materials to choose from and their advantages and disadvantages.

Wood Window Material

Glider/sliding window in wood-themed kitchen

Wood is the most classic window material and has been popular for window design for centuries. This is a natural material that has withstood the test of time and is still very aesthetically pleasing in both traditional and modern homes. What’s great about wood window material is that you can customize it to look the way you want it to with a little paint or wood stain. Wood window frames are versatile and can look beautiful with any home design style.

A downside to wood window material is that it can be less resilient and deteriorate over time due to rot, cracking, and sun damage. For this reason, some homeowners may choose to focus their wood window materials on interior spaces rather than external ones. However, there are big differences in the quality of wood used for window materials, which is why you want to choose only the highest quality wood from trusted brands so that your wood window materials will last for many years and always look great. To protect wood window frames, finish or seal them with paint to prevent future damage.


Vinyl Window Material

An affordable and low-maintenance option you might choose for your window material is vinyl. This is a popular window material for window frames, and vinyl options have greatly improved in recent years to be more durable and reflect UV light. Vinyl is a great choice if you want your windows to be well-insulated and keep you comfortable inside your home.

Something to know about vinyl windows, however, is that they aren’t necessarily as strong as some of the other window materials on this list, which could pose challenges during unusually strong storms. Always choose the highest quality vinyl windows you can find to avoid broken parts and warping with the changing temperatures. Vinyl can’t be painted as well as other materials, which means you may need to settle for whatever colors the manufacturer offers or repaint your window frames after a few years. However, vinyl windows tend to come in with many color selections, so you still have many options available to you.

Aluminum Window Material

Arcadia casement windows

Meanwhile, aluminum windows are also an option for homeowners in our part of the country. While some people steer clear of aluminum in harsher and colder climates, they can be a cost-effective option in the Southeastern U.S. where temperatures don’t typically remain too low throughout the winter. Aluminum window material is affordable, durable, and easily painted to whatever color you desire. Aluminum is commonly used in commercial buildings but can also be featured in residential homes.

Homeowners should be aware though that aluminum window material does not typically provide as good of insulation as other window materials on this list. This means it is not necessarily the most energy-efficient option and might not save you as much money on your winter heating bills.

Fiberglass Window Material

Fiberglass window material has been gaining popularity in our region as a synthetic option that’s an alternative to wood. This type of window material is beneficial because it is durable and very weather-resistant. It is a versatile material that comes in many different colors and styles, which allows you to personalize your windows to fit your design scheme. Fiberglass windows work well on both the outside and the inside of a home. It is the best option for insulation when you’re looking to buy new windows.

However, the cost of fiberglass window material can be prohibitive to some homeowners because it does tend to be more expensive than other window types. The good news is that these windows are built to last and provide great insulation, which means you’ll likely save money in the long run on replacement costs, as well as heating and cooling costs throughout the year.


Iron Window Material

Iron accents on windows can really add something special to your home and give it an industrial, historic, or ornate look. Iron window materials are very durable and long-lasting, and they are also a great security feature with extreme weather resistance. Iron can be used for window handles, hinges, frames, shutters, balconies, and grills.

Keep in mind that iron is very heavy and can be quite costly, depending on what you are looking for. Iron window materials should also be specially treated to resist rust and continue to look new and beautiful for many years.

Composite Window Materials

In addition to these common window materials, some manufacturers create windows with other materials too, such as wood/plastic composites, thermoplastic alloys, and cellular PVC. These expertly engineered materials are designed to improve the performance and aesthetics of modern windows, while keeping them as low-maintenance as possible. To learn about the latest and greatest window materials available today, contact AVI for a free in-home, no-obligation consultation.

What Is the Best Material for Windows?

After reading these comparisons, you might be wondering what the best material for windows really is and how to select the right type for your home renovation project. We know that window shopping can be overwhelming, and we’re here to help!

To learn more about window materials and other expert tips, check out the helpful videos on our Windows 101 page. We also invite you to visit one of our showrooms to compare window materials in-person and get a better sense of how they look, feel, and perform.

We look forward to serving you in Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee!