Material matters – how does UPVC fare compared to aluminium and wood?

Windows and doors through the ages have been made of many materials – and after the selection was narrowed to PVC and UPVC in the last thirty years new variations have recently emerged. As wooden windows make a comeback, we explore the three principal materials used for modern window and doorframes to help you weigh up the pros and cons for each as you consider future home or business improvements.

Wooden window frames

Wooden window frames are charming, traditional. They provide a look that simply can’t be achieved otherwise – even by innovative PVC products designed to look like wood. They were once demonised and characterised by unsightly peeling paint, cracks and creeping damp – but their recent comeback is down to a resurgence in the popularity of natural, ‘real’ materials, with wood favoured by some over man-made plastic for environmental and cosmetic reasons. Wooden windows aren’t impractical – and timber does have good insulating properties, albeit less significant than Aluminium. Whilst wooden windows undeniably have great lasting power when cared for properly, they are maintenance-heavy. For them to stand the test of time, they need to be regularly repainted, treated and cleaned. So what’s the alternative for business and homeowners who need to choose no-fuss substance and style?

Aluminium window frames

Aluminium is a new kid on the block where frame materials are concerned – and yet it is incredibly popular. Upon taking a quick look at its credentials and benefits it’s clear to see why. Its thermal performance is second to none – meaning when coupled with quality glass it can significantly lower heating bills and maintain an ambient temperature throughout the home. On average, heat loss and heat gain are reduced by 60% with Aluminium frames. What’s more, Aluminium frames are cost-effective – and low on maintenance. This durable material doesn’t need much attention – it’s corrosion resistant and able to cope with a wide variety of prolonged weather conditions without being compromised by warping, swelling, cracking or splitting.

PVC and UPVC

PVC and UPVC have been the de facto window materials for nearly three decades. Their advantages are clear and simple – they’re cost-effective, versatile, and energy-efficient. PVC and UPVC frames now come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colours and textures. They’re also incredibly durable – able to withstand years of wear and tear with minimal maintenance and cleaning. For those with environmental concerns the industry has considerably cleaned up its act – with many manufacturers now using 100% recycled plastics.

How do I choose the right material for me?

Your decision should be based on three elements – budget, time and aesthetics. Budget, because everyone has one. Think realistically about how much you want to spend. Wooden windows are very expensive and require costly regular upkeep – aluminium and vinyl windows are comparatively low-cost in both instances. Time, because you need to know how long the frames will last for – and whether you’ll be spending a lot of time caring for them. Aluminium and PVC frames last for years with little maintenance – wooden windows can also stand the test of time, but with much more hassle. Finally, aesthetics are naturally important. Which material offers the best look for your home or business? Once you consider these three components, you should be able to find the perfect product for your property.

Not sure what material is best for you? Speak to us today about our accredited glass products – including windows, doors and structural glass.