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What to Look for in Frames When Window Shopping


on July 6, 2022


Your choice of window frames impact the energy efficiency, comfort, and look of your windows. Yet, few of us consider this when shopping for new windows. In fact, the majority of your window’s insulating factors have to do with the choice of frame material and how well it’s installed. And each window frame type requires unique knowledge and skill to install properly

The material and finish you choose for your window frame will impact the overall cohesiveness of your window design. The construction of the frame impacts the lifespan and overall performance. So how can you know whether your window frame is up to par? Here are a few things to consider.

a window frame's construction

Window Frame Construction

As with many things in home design, the quality of construction can make or break the performance of your windows, and quality window construction starts with the construction of the window frame. 

Not sure how to tell if your window frame is constructed well? Take a thorough look at the window frames in your house right now. If you see any gaps between the window and the wall or any warps in the frame material itself, you’ve got construction issues. If you can feel air coming in even when your window is closed (read: you have drafty rooms), there’s a good chance you’re dealing with shoddy frame construction or poor installation. 

One way to ensure you don’t run into poorly constructed frames is to work with a company like Pella who has plenty of experience and expertise in building and installing windows in a wide variety of conditions. 

Different Types of Window Frames

Another crucial window frame decision you will have to make is choosing the frame material. While all frame materials have their strengths and weaknesses, there are three main frame materials that excel in the areas that matter most: durability, insulation, and design. 

a room with large windows featuring wood window frames

Wood Window Frames

Wood-framed windows have long been a popular choice, and for good reason: they are exceptional in performance, insulation, and curb appeal. Pella's wood windows are treated with EnduraGuard(R), which provides next-level protection from moisture and adds to the already impressive lifespan of your wood-framed windows. Because wood-framed windows can be painted, stained, or aluminum-clad to meet your design preferences, they continue to reign among the top window frame choices for discerning homeowners.

a room featuring windows with fiberglass frames

Fiberglass Window Frames

Fiberglass window frames are another strong choice. Homeowners looking for a window frame that is easy to care for and requires less maintenance and cleaning than wood window frames should consider fiberglass. Fiberglass window frames are even more durable than wood window frames, as they are resistant to extreme heat and cold, UV rays, and coastal environments. 

When it comes to insulation, fiberglass window frames offer comparable energy efficiency to wood windows and have a similar appearance to painted wood windows as well. 

a room featuring windows with vinyl window frames

Vinyl Window Frames

Though you sacrifice some elements of design flexibility when you choose vinyl window frames —as they are available in fewer colors—you gain the unique advantage of window frames that require virtually no maintenance. They can continue looking excellent with only semi-regular cleaning for years. No repainting, restaining, or refinishing required. 

Vinyl window frames feature air chambers within the frame that reduce heat loss and noise transmission, making them an ideal choice if you’re looking for energy efficiency that can go beyond Energy Star standards. They also offer a more comfortable and quiet home year round. 

consulting with a pella professional to see the quality construction

What to Look for in a Window Frame

While much of your choice in window frames will come down to preference and needs, there are a few things that should be non-negotiable when you’re window shopping. These include: 

  • Energy Star Standards: From an efficiency standpoint, hitting Energy Star guidelines is a necessity. Make sure the windows you’re investing in meet or exceed these guidelines. 
  • Guaranteed Professional Installation: The material and construction of your window frames will only last as long and perform as well as the expertise of the person installing them. Make sure your windows last longer and perform better by working with a professional installation team.
  • Transparent Buying Process: You should feel comfortable with the product you’re purchasing. Come prepared with questions about window frame construction, material, finishes, features and performance, and don’t be afraid to talk through any concerns you might have. 

Window Frames Done Right With Pella

Knowing what to look for in your window frames is an important part of the window purchasing process, but even well-constructed windows can fall short in performance if not installed by experienced professionals. That’s why Pella professionals complete an extensive training process. Each installation expert can leverage this knowledge to install your windows to maximize energy efficiency, comfort, and window longevity. Ready to start your new window shopping experience? Request a consultation today.

Schedule a free consultation to find windows and doors for your home.