Composite Windows

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Composite Windows
Block Glass Windows
Other Names
Composite Replacement Windows, Clad Windows, Hybrid Windows
Windows manufactured from more than one type of material

Composite windows provide a replacement window alternative. The frame of a composite window is manufactured from more than one type of material. This allows the homeowner to purchase a replacement window that is weather-resistant on the outside (such as aluminum or vinyl) but matches the desired home décor effect on the inside.


[edit] Composite Windows

Composite windows are a popular replacement window choice among many people who are remodeling their homes. Composite windows provide an energy-efficient and attractive window which is a complimentary addition to both the exterior and the interior of the house.

Composite window frames consist of composite materials which tend to produce a stable replacement window with durable structural and thermal properties. They also display good moisture and decay resistance.

Homeowners can find replacement composite windows to fit any window opening, in any window style that they wish to install in their house. Replacement composite windows are available as single-hung, double-hung, casement, sliders, awning and hopper windows and more. Homeowners may also purchase replacement composite windows as non-operable windows.

[edit] Materials

The sash and frame of replacement composite windows are made multiple materials. Composite window alternatives include a wood chip and plastic blend, a wood and aluminum clad window, vinyl windows with wood veneers on the interior and fiberglass and wood. These composite windows, also called "hybrid windows" offer varying degrees of durability, insulation and requirements for maintenance, depending on the materials used in the windows' construction.

[edit] Wood Chip and Recycled Plastic

A new type of composite window on the market offers an option which is produced from a blend of recycled plastic and wood chips. The homeowner can paint the interior and the exterior of this window in any desired color or varnish. However, painting is unnecessary to protect the window since it won't rot or warp if it is left unpainted. The panels are available in hollow sections or solid sections according to the house plan's architectural specifications.

[edit] Fiberglass and Wood

Fiberglass and wood composite replacement windows are produced by bonding fiberglass exteriors to wood interiors. The fiberglass exterior expands and contracts, giving the window strength and durability. These windows are available in an assortment of exterior shades.

[edit] Vinyl and Wood Veneer

Vinyl windows with wood veneers are low-maintenance and weather resistant. They combine the practicality of the vinyl exterior with the warmth and aesthetics of a real wood interior. The wood veneer is attached to the vinyl window with a glazing bead which allow the two materials to expand and contract, each at its own paces. The low-cost vinyl window makes this type of composite replacement window an attractive option for the replacement window market.

[edit] Aluminum Clad

Aluminum clad windows are wood frame windows that display the wood frame on the interior of the window. The window's exterior is protected by treated aluminum cladding. These windows offer a weatherproof window that presents an attractive window both within the house and outside.

[edit] Energy Efficiency

Window frames conduct heat. The rate at which a window frame conducts heat contributes to a window's overall energy efficiency, called the "U-factor." Ratings for energy-efficient windows are judged by the window's U-factor. The National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) rates the U-factor of windows. Their rating judges a window assembly's rate of heat loss. Low U-factor ratings indicate that a window has a strong resistance to heat flow and is a well-insulated window. Homeowners should review the U-factor rating of their replacement composite window to determine which window will meet their needs.

[edit] Sizes and Shapes

All composite replacement windows are available in a wide range of sizes and shapes. Composite windows can be purchased in standard sizes or may be custom-ordered, including custom-ordered arches and half-rounds. Sizes of composite windows start at 15-inch long or wide windows for a small opening and can be found in full-length six-foot sizes for a full-wall opening. Composite windows can also be joined together to create a three-window bay window or a four-window bow window.

[edit] Glazing Options

Each manufacturer offers its company's glazing options for replacement composite windows. These glazing options range in insulation capabilities and energy efficiency. Glazing options for replacement composite windows include single, double or triple-pane glazing, gas-filled windows and windows with various anti-sun coatings.

[edit] Multi-Pane Windows

Replacement composite windows with double-glazing or triple glazing space the panels and seal them hermetically in the sash to form a single-glazed unit. The air space between the panes, in conjunction with the glass layers, help to resist heat flow and lower the U-factor.

[edit] Gas-Filled Windows

Some window manufacturers pump argon or krypton gas between the panels of a multi-pane window to help insulate the window. These gases have a high resistance to heat flow and provide energy-efficient insulation.

[edit] Low-E Coating

Low-emissivity (Low-E) coating is an invisible metal or metallic oxide layer. The Low-E coating is applied to the composite replacement glass to control heat transfer through windows with insulated window panes. Windows manufactured with Low-E coatings reduce energy loss by as much as 30% to 50%.

[edit] Energy Efficient Glazing

Energy efficient windows are generally a more costly window than non-insulated windows. Many homeowners today choose to replace old leaky windows with a better-quality insulated replacement composite window because, in the long term, they serve to reduce energy bills which allows homeowners to recoup the added expenditure.

In addition, in many states, the state Department of Energy offers rebates to homeowners who conduct remodeling projects using energy efficient products and materials. Replacement composite windows which meet the local Department of Energy's U-factor specifications or which have the industry standard ENERGY STAR rating are eligible for these rebates.

[edit] Benefits

Many consumers find that there are specific benefits to a replacement composite window that they don't find in other windows which are manufactured using a single material frame. Some of these benefits include the composite replacement window's long-term durability, weather-resistance, resistance to fading, warping and denting, high impact resistance, energy-efficiency, availability in a wide range of sizes, styles and colors, low maintenance and recyclable frames.

[edit] Accessories

Replacement window accessories include screens, grilles, interior trim and hardware.

[edit] Screens

Window manufacturers include screens as a standard accompaniment to replacement composite windows. Clip-on screens come in standard sizes to match standard windows or can be sized for custom-order windows. The clip-on mechanism allows homeowners to clip the screen in and out quickly and easily to facilitate cleaning.

[edit] Grilles

Grilles in different styles and colors are available through many window manufacturers for replacement composite windows. Options include clip-on grilles which clip into the window's interior with pins and can be removed at the homeowner's leisure. Some manufacturers offer installed grilles in composite windows. These grilles are factory-installed in between the window's panes.

[edit] Interior Trim

Customers may find a wide variety of interior moldings for the interior frame of replacement composite windows. These wood trim moldings are available through many window manufacturers or at a lumber yard or home center.

[edit] Hardware

Hardware for composite replacement windows is available through the window manufacturer as a standard window accessory. Window hardware includes hard plastic or brass handles, knobs, cranks and locks.

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