If your current windows are looking a little worse for wear or you’re aiming to improve the thermal efficiency of your home, then you’ll want to choose the correct material. Most windows nowadays are built from either uPVC, timber or aluminium. Nevertheless, you not only need to consider the material the window frames will be made from but also the glass. The type of glass you choose can either boost or hinder your window’s insulating performance. Opting for triple or double glazing over single glazed windows will significantly increase your window’s ability to retain heat. To find out more about the positives and negatives of each window material, keep reading. Here is our guide to uPVC vs. Timber vs. Aluminium Windows.
uPVC vs. Timber vs. Aluminium Windows: The Debate
Before you consider the material you want your windows to be made from, it is worth researching into the type of glass that would best suit your home, lifestyle and climate you live in. Double glazing consists of two panes of glass separated by a layer of inert gas or dehydrated air. Triple glazing is exactly the same, but with an additional pane of glass. The additional pane is supposed to noticeably improve thermal and acoustic insulation.
For an in-depth analysis of the performance of double and triple glazing, take a read of this article. You have to take into consideration the longevity of the glass, the reduction you may see in your monthly heating bills and the initial costs of installations to fully decide as to which option will best suit you. Make sure to carefully consider the impact of heat penetration, light penetration, likelihood of condensation build up, noise insulation and the expected costs of both double and triple glazing. For information on the type of window frame you should invest in, keep reading.
uPVC has become one of the most commonly used materials for creating window frames. It possesses many desirable characteristics; offering excellent insulation whilst demanding minimal maintenance. uPVC is also the cheapest option when compared with aluminium and timber and is remarkably easy to maintain.
Nevertheless, it’s not all positive. uPVC window frames have a significantly shorter shelf life and will not enhance the value of your home in any way. In fact, if you have a period property, installing uPVC window frames could reduce the property’s value. In addition to that, uPVC frames are substantially weaker than other materials and therefore must be made much thicker in order to offer the same level of thermal insulation. Consequently, the result is windows containing a much smaller amount of glass and letting a reduced amount of light into the room.
Therefore, uPVC windows are the ideal option for those looking to replace their existing windows with ones that are effective thermal insulations and require minimal maintenance. However, in the long term, the level of energy efficiency they offer is notably inferior in comparison to other materials available. The look of this material is also not desired by many homeowners.
Unlike uPVC window frames, aluminium is known for its strength and durability. Because of this, this style of window frame allows for a greater glass surface area and a slimmer frame. To further increase the durability of these frames, make sure to have them powder coated to protect them from discolouration and rust. This protective powder coating also means the frames will not require repainting like you would have to with a timber frame.
Because aluminium is widely recycled, this window frame alternative is far more environmentally friendly than uPVC is. The energy needed to create aluminium frames is also significantly lower than the cost of raw materials. Nevertheless, the downside to aluminium is that its a considerably poor insulator. Some more modern frames nowadays do have a layer of insulating material on the inner side of the frame to improve thermal insulation. There is also the advantage that these frames can hold thicker glazing within a narrower frame because of the strength of the material. This can then compensate for their innate incompetence to retain heat. Aluminium windows look particularly attractive in more modern and contemporary properties.
The last option we have researched into and will analyse is timber windows. These are a popular choice for more traditional or listed properties that demand wooden windows to match the style and age of the house. Aesthetically, wooden windows are far more appealing when compared with uPVC and are the ideal alternative if your property would not suit aluminium modern-looking windows. They are also excellent at retaining heat and will unquestionably cut down homeowners’ heating bills in the winter. There is also the added advantage that inexpensive glass will still perform well in a wooden frame.
When installing wooden windows, you are presented the choice of a range of different finishes. Furthermore, the wood finish can be modified at any time, offering you a great deal of flexibility, even after installation. Because of the nature of this material, wood does require regular maintenance which can put some homeowners off. Wood needs to be treated with waxes, oils or stains to ensure the frames are fully weatherproof to prevent rotting and warping. Here is a guide on how to stain wooden windows yourself.
However, installing these window frames over the other two options would be the most expensive alternative. Timber tends to be considerably more to purchase and then upkeep than uPVC. Nevertheless, unlike installing uPVC, you will boost the value of your home with the installation of wooden window frames. Timber is also guaranteed to last you substantially longer than uPVC would.
Making Your Decision
So now that you have contemplated all three types of window frames, hopefully, you can decide which will best suit your home based on the style and age of your property, the life you live and the climate you live in. If you appreciate the look of wooden windows but are not interested in performing regular maintenance, you can opt for a woodgrain finish on your uPVC frames. However, if you’re after exceptionally durable frames, aluminium will be the most appropriate option. For reliable company supplying and installing windows in Milton Keynes, get in touch with CS Windows today for your free quote.