Wood, aluminium or PVCu? When installing windows, selecting the right frame material is vital for long term customer satisfaction. Each material has different properties, and these should be aligned with the customer’s unique project goals. With so many factors to consider, how can you make sure you’re making the right choice? Here, Nick Cowley managing director of window and door manufacturer Euramax, explains how to adapt window frame materials correctly to suit a variety of projects.
In the 1600s, glass windows were so prized that aristocrats who vacated their homes for long periods of time would have them removed and stored in their absence. While we may not value our windows as highly as they did in the 17th century, they still play a crucial role in the functionality and appearance of our homes and buildings. Window selection has expanded over the years, and customers can now choose from a range of materials and design options in order to find the perfect option for their application.
For customers who need their new windows to coordinate with their country-style home, wood can offer the ideal traditional finish. Wood can be easily painted and stained to match a home’s aesthetic — and can be repainted again just as quickly if the décor changes.
Although wooden frames can have a long lifespan, it is important to make customers aware that extensive maintenance is often required to increase their longevity. Every ten or so years the wood will need sanding, priming and top coating to keep the frames looking pristine and healthy. Neglecting the frames can lead to the wood warping, rotting and even insect infestation.
The customer must be willing to highly invest in their wooden windows, as the installation and maintenance costs can be high. If wood is to be used, ensure it is of high quality, free of knots and has non-warping properties. Wooden frames give a cosy, traditional look, but if the customer requires a more affordable and low maintenance option, wood may not be suitable.
Aluminium is a more modern frame material that has grown in popularity over the past few decades. For customers who wish to maximise the view from their windows, aluminium may be a preferable option. The lightweight yet strong properties of aluminium allow large panes of glass to be framed without partitions. Aluminium frames have a slim profile, meaning a larger area of glass can be visible giving a sleek, minimalist and modern appearance.
Customers may also be attracted by the low maintenance of aluminium frames. Aluminium only requires occasional cleaning to keep it looking in good condition. However, in the few cases where powder coating has bubbled, faded or chipped off, a recoat will be required. The relatively low maintenance and cheap cost of aluminium makes it an affordable choice for window frames.
However, the high conductivity of aluminium does little for the energy efficiency of a building. Therefore, customers who are looking to lower their energy costs or become more environmentally friendly are unlikely to prefer aluminium. Rapid heat transfer also means aluminium feels cold to the touch and can leave windows susceptible to condensation.
The most modern window frame is PVCu, which has become hugely popular for a number of reasons. Firstly, PVCu is often more affordable than aluminium and wood, suiting customers on a tighter budget. Secondly, the material’s energy efficiency is very high, helping to keep buildings warm and energy costs down, whilst minimising environmental impact.
Additionally, PVCu is non-corroding, sound insulating and ultra-violet (UV) resistant. For customers who desire a low maintenance option, PVCu is ideal because it only requires minimal cleaning a few times a year. The durability of PVCu means it doesn’t need to be treated, and it is naturally resistant to rot and weather damage. It also helps to make windows and doors stronger and more secure against intruders.
Practicality aside, PVCu can easily and affordably revamp the appearance of a home. While its traditionally white colour works well at brightening, PVCu is now also available in a range of colours and finishes, including a wood-grain effect.
However, not all PVCu frames are created equal. It is important to source your frames from an experienced and trusted supplier. At Euramax, we have 65 years’ experience in manufacturing and always put the customer first. Our bespoke made to measure service means the perfect frame can be made for any project. In addition, all of our products come with a ten year guarantee and are rated A for efficiency – ensuring long term satisfaction.
Each window frame material has unique properties that will suit different customer project goals. However, if affordability, low maintenance and energy efficiency are high on your customer’s priorities, recommend PVCu.