Comparing the Four Most Popular Window Frame Materials

Aug 20, 2018

Buying new or replacement windows for the California home is an overwhelming task. Homeowners want to choose well so their investment lasts a long time, brings up the overall value of the home, and keeps the indoor temperatures steady and comfortable. When the time comes to buy new or replacement windows in San Diego, CA, homeowners should remember the frames are one of the most important factors to consider.    windows in San Diego, CA

Of course, glass options and contractor selection is very important. But, for the purpose of getting started in the right direction, let’s go over the types of frames most popular on the market today.   

There are four major materials used for window frames: wood, fiberglass, vinyl, and aluminum. Knowing the strengths and significant differences between these will help homeowners make more informed decisions.   

Here’s what California homeowners need to know:   


When properly maintained, wood window frames are long-lasting. This option has been around for as long as windows have been a home feature and is the most popular choice on the market.  

  • Benefits: wooden frames are timeless and very strong. And, above all other options, they offer the most luxurious addition to a structure.  
  • Downsides: compared to competitive materials, wooden windows are often significantly more expensive and require the most attention to maintenance. For example, if a homeowner fails to repaint or retain timely, the windows can suffer from expansion and shrinkage due to moisture variations. Further, they are vulnerable to rot, fading, and warp.  


This material option is less popular. But, it’s noted for its durability and simple maintenance.  

  • Benefits: window frames made of fiberglass resist weather and temperature changes better than any other frame material. This is due to the composition of the frames which allow it to expand and contract with the glass panes during temperature fluctuations.  
  • Downsides: Different than aluminum or wood frames, fiberglass appears a bit dull. Sure, it can be painted, but this requires additional maintenance. Further, fiberglass can cost as much as wood products and more than vinyl frames of the same look.  


Vinyl, or PVC, is the same material used in plumbing pipes and fixtures. It is affordable, versatile, completely recyclable, and great for insulation.  

  • Benefits: affordability and versatility. Vinyl can be formed to look and even feel just like wood, or it can have a flat finish to better match modern and contemporary designs. It will not rot, warp, or fade from sunlight.  
  • Downsides: according to some homeowners, vinyl just doesn’t have the same aesthetic charm as wood or aluminum windows. So, for those with historic, traditional, or vintage homes, this option seems to fall short.  


This material has long been a popular option among homeowners. Aluminum is known for being rugged and long-lasting.  

  • Benefits: great for modern style homes because aluminum has a sleek look to it. Aluminum won’t wear from sunlight, mold, or rot, and it’s more affordable than wood window frames.  
  • Downsides: compared to competitor materials, aluminum isn’t as energy efficient. And, they’re often more expensive than other vinyl or fiberglass options.  

To see San Deigo, CA window options for your home, the team at Window Solutions would love to show you around our showroom, located at 11632 Riverside Dr Lakeside, CA 92040. Come, visit us! We can also be reached at (619) 285-0515 or (760) 741-0601 to set up an in-home consultation at your earliest convenience. See you soon.  

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