Most residential window frames were constructed of wood pre WWII and for a decade or so thereafter. When double glazed windows became popular in the 1960’s, so did the use of the extruded aluminum frame. Aluminum extrudes nicely into various sizes and shapes for frames for a variety of window configurations. Also, aluminum frames provide a low cost, durable product which has excellent sound-proofing qualities. Albarrie is proud to supply the aluminum extruders with high temperature handling felts which assist with keeping the surface finish of the window frames looking good.
On the downside aluminum frames are thermal conductors, and that is why you sometimes see frost on the inside of a window. The better quality newer aluminum framed windows now have a thermal break to separate the interior and exterior surfaces of the window so this thermal conduction issue is resolved.
In the 1980’s the PVC (polyvinyl chloride), vinyl window frame became more popular and the sales of residential aluminum framed windows gradually decreased. Vinyl also offers low cost and easy maintenance similar to aluminum. However, on the downside it is constructed of PVC which is not environmentally friendly or recyclable which both aluminum and wood are. Also, PVC is not as favorable for sound-proofing as aluminum.
There are other choices for window frames such as steel, fiberglass or composites, but these are more expensive and used primarily for commercial, industrial and architectural applications. As far as residential window frames, with our great push for green products; I would not be surprised to see aluminum window frames regain their former popularity.
With 30% of North American aluminum extrusion relating to the window industry, the Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC) found it important enough to launch a campaign in 2002 to “Keep Aluminum Windows (KAW)” . This campaign relates to residential as well as commercial use. Details regarding this campaign can be viewed at www.aec.org under “Extrusion Applications”.
– Sue Johnson
Albarrie Head Office