Top Picture Window Materials

October 11, 2010

A picture window is the frame for a serene, interesting, or even awe-inspiring view. A view--like a piece of art--deserves an elegant frame. The term "picture window" denotes a large, panoramic, fixed window, providing an unobstructed view of the scene outside. Picture windows also let in the maximum amount of light, reducing the need for artificial lighting. Picture windows can also be part of a combination window, with smaller casement, double-hung, or sliding windows on either side for ventilation. Drapes or vertical blinds can be used for privacy or to cover these smaller side windows to provide an unbroken view.

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Typical Picture Window Materials

A picture window deserves frame materials that are worthy of the view it provides. Some materials commonly used in picture window frames are:

  • Vinyl. Virtually maintenance free with impregnated color, vinyl frames do not peel, rot, or fade. Vinyl frames have excellent thermal performance, which can reduce heating costs.
  • Wood. Beautiful and elegant, wood will last the life of the home with proper maintenance. However, it requires painting, may be subject to swelling, peeling, flaking, and rot if not properly maintained.
  • Fiberglass clad wood. This product provides the warmth and beauty of wood with the strength and durability of fiberglass. It also requires little maintenance and can be ordered in many shapes and sizes.
  • Aluminum clad wood. This combination of an aluminum exterior frame and interior wood frame can provide the elegance of wood with improved protection from the elements. The drawback is the reduced thermal performance of aluminum, which can be offset with proper weather-stripping and sealants.

Choose your picture window materials carefully, balancing aesthetic and budgetary considerations.

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