What are the Costs of Replacement Window Frame Materials?

Written by AnonymousMarch 3, 2011

Discussing How Much Replacement Window Frame Materials Cost

When choosing replacement window frames, many homeowners stay true to the original architecture of the home. If the home has original wood or vinyl frames, the replacement materials will likely be the same. For many homeowners, remaining consistent with the original architecture can be costly — especially if the window frames are wood.

The overall cost for window frames isn’t dependent on material alone. The price also depends on the size of the window, type (casement, sliding, double-hung), and manufacturer. From most to least expensive by comparison, window frame materials include:

  • Steel window frames are made of one of the strongest and most expensive building materials in the world and the most expensive to work with. Many developers and homeowners are willing to pay the cost to install steel frames based on benefits such security, durability, and a modern industrial look. Steel window frames may cost more to install, but they’re the easiest to maintain. Steel doesn’t rot or leak, and it can be cleaned easily with a cloth and water.
  • Wood window frames are a good choice for classic homes and are often considered the most attractive window material. Unlike steel, maintaining wood window frames can be challenging. Wood can warp, decay, or rot over time, so wood frames will have to be replaced more often than steel. The cost to purchase and install wood frames is less than steel, but more than any other type of material. 

Combination window frames are a common option for homeowners that want some of the benefits of wood or other expensive material, without the price. Vinyl, aluminum, and fiberglass are typically combined with wood to create a hybrid called clad window.

  • Fiberglass window frames are fashioned from one of most energy efficient materials on the market. Fiberglass window frames are three times stronger than aluminum, and more versatile than most other types of window frame materials. Fiberglass window frames cost less than wood, but up to 30 percent more than vinyl.
  • Cellular PVC window frames are similar in appearance to wood, so they’re often used as a wood alternative. Cellular PVC is strong and low-maintenance, and it costs less to replace than real wood. 
  • Aluminum window frames look industrial and they’re solid and study, making them a common choice for lofts and other modern structures. Aluminum window frames aren’t as tough as steel, but they require very little maintenance, and they’re the second cheapest material.
  • Vinyl window frames are made of the most budget friendly type of material. Although it’s the least expensive of all materials, vinyl is resilient and it won’t chip, peel, rot, rust, or swell.

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