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The three main materials used in the industry for home window frames are aluminum, wood and vinyl. So which one is right for your home? Well, we'll take wood out of the picture and narrow the choices down to two right away. Yes, wood frames are still common and the only reason you should consider getting them is they are the cheapest. But paying for the cheapest, does get you the cheapest! Wood frames just aren't going to last compared to the other material choices, and they are more subject to extra hardships such as rotting and insect damage.
Now we are down to choosing between aluminum or vinyl frames. Aluminum frames are definitely the strongest, most rigid and most expansion resistant material. If you are settling in your home for the next few decades, these qualities may have already made your decision. However, vinyl frames are still a good choice. Vinyl windows tend to require a little less maintenance then aluminum. Vinyl is less likely to require touch-up painting, less prone to denting, slightly more moisture and condensation resistant. Paint is usually sprayed on aluminum windows leaving the possibility to flaking or scratching. But hey, you are going to have to paint your house a couple times before you may even need to touch up your windows. By nature, aluminum can corrode, however they shouldn't as long as they are maintained (painted). Another advantage to consider for aluminum windows is noise reduction. Aluminum itself has more mass than vinyl, so it will always outperform vinyl in noise reduction. If you live in a noisy neighborhood, or maybe by an airport or railroad tracks, this may be an important feature to consider in your decision-making.
Be very careful when talking to your window manufacturer about which window frames are better. They are going to be very one-sided on their answers, steering you towards only the frame type they sell or maybe the one that is more profitable for them. Both materials have their good and bad points and you can be easily persuaded to think one is much better then the other.
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