Windows With Exterior Cladding
Exterior window cladding is applied to replacement wood-frame windows to increase the effectiveness of a wood-frame window and reduce the need for maintenance.
 Exterior Window Cladding
Exterior cladding is a protective exterior cover which is applied to a wood frame window. Exterior cladding includes extruded aluminum, composite material or vinyl cladding. These materials reduce the window's external maintenance needs, increase weather resistance and exhibit an attractive appearance. Wood clad windows add to a wood frame window's energy performance.
 Advantages of a Wood Clad Window
Many homeowners choose wood clad replacement windows because of the benefits that they offer to a home.
 Energy Efficiency
Wood is a natural insulator. Wood windows inhibit the transmission of cold or heat from the outside of the home. The exterior of a wood frame window requires maintenance, including annual varnishing or painting, to prevent warping or rotting. The aluminum or vinyl cladding protects the frame's exterior and creates a weather-resistant replacement window frame that continues to offer all of the thermal benefits of a wood frame material.
Vinyl-clad and aluminum-clad replacement wood frames allow for the traditional look of the wood frame within the house while avoiding the necessary outdoor maintenance.
Wood clad replacement windows may rot if the cladding leaks which allows moisture to reach the wood frame. Leakage generally occurs around the top corners, perimeter, and window sill where water is most likely to find enter. The presence of leakage is not evident because, although the cladding/color can look fine, even a tiny gap will allow water to penetrate and rot the wood underneath the cladding or rot the framing in the wall.
Wood clad replacement frames are more expensive than wood frames. They are also a more costly frame alternative than other framing materials such as vinyl or aluminum frames.
 Limited Colors
There are limited available cladding colors which don't always match the desired exterior appearance of a home design. Available cladding colors vary with some companies offering over 20 cladding colors while others only offer four or five color options.
 Types of Cladding Materials
There are four main types of cladding used in the window and door industry today— roll- extruded aluminum cladding, composite fiberglass cladding, roll form aluminum cladding and vinyl cladding.
 Extruded Aluminum Cladding
Extruded aluminum cladding is the strongest and most durable form of exterior cladding. It is approximately 1/8" thick and maintains its shape better than other forms of cladding. It is resistant to dents or other damage that can occur during the windows' shipping and installation. Extruded aluminum exterior cladding is generally paired with high-quality 70 percent Kynar paint which creates a structurally stable and durable framing material. Kynar paint resists fading and chalking at a higher level than other clad-finish products. Extruded aluminum cladding can be shaped and formed to clad any window shape.
 Composite Fiberglass Cladding
Windows made with fiberglass components are able to expand and contract at almost the same rate as glass, ensuring that the window remains tightly sealed and does not leak or experience seal failures or stress cracks. It's a strong material but cannot be molded to clad many window types including many of the special shape window alternatives.
 Roll-form Aluminum Cladding
Roll-form aluminum clad windows are generally a less expensive window option due to their low quality. Roll-form aluminum clad is about 1/16" thick and is often used for cladding lower-quality windows. It is frequently paired with an inferior polyester or baked enamel paint finish which can easily chalk, fade or scratch.
 Vinyl Cladding
Vinyl cladding presents an ineffective replacement window cladding option. Vinyl can expand and contract when exposed to heat and cold and can be damaged by the effects of UV light which fades and chalks the material. Weather also breaks down the vinyl cladding to the point that it cannot resist climactic elements.
 Window Alternatives
Exterior cladding can be applied to windows in any area of the house including kitchens, living rooms, attics and basements. Including exterior cladding on a wood replacement window is suitable for any window whose exterior is exposed to the weather elements. Exterior cladding is used on both opening windows such as casements and both vertical sliding and horizontal sliding windows. Exterior cladding is an attractive and efficient cover material for non-opening windows as well.