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Window Replacements

5 Common Window Types and How They Look In Your Home

June 10th, 2022 | 8 min. read

5 Common Window Types and How They Look In Your Home

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When you’re looking to replace your home’s windows, your head is spinning with the many details of this project. 

You’re thinking about how much a window replacement will cost, how you can find the right contractor, and what you want your windows to look like. 

Designing replacement windows is one of the most complex parts of the process. There are many components to customize on a window, and it all starts with the frame. 

Windows can be made of wood, fiberglass, vinyl, and aluminum, to name a few. Each frame material differs in how they perform and also how they look.

So, when you’re designing the perfect replacement window, you must consider the frame material above all else. 

At Southwest Exteriors, we offer a variety of window types, like fiberglass, vinyl, and clad from Marvin, ProVia, Anlin, and more. 

Because we’ve been a local window replacement contractor in San Antonio since 1989, we’ve helped hundreds of homeowners design the right window for them. 

We know how overwhelming it can be to choose the right window type. Not only are you trying to design the perfect window, but you’re considering how the window will perform and last in your home. 

But, of course, you need your replacement windows to look exactly how you want, too. 

That’s where we come in to help. 

We want you to have the right information about different window types to make the best-educated decision on your new windows. 

This article will outline five different window types, what they look like in your home, and how the window material affects the design. 

After reading, you’ll have a better idea of what each window type will look like in your home and can choose the best window type for you. 


How do different window types look in my home? 

While you can customize many design elements on almost any type of window, the material of the frame is the first thing that will affect what the window looks like. 

There are five common types of window materials. They are: 

  1. Vinyl
  2. Fiberglass
  3. Wood
  4. Aluminum
  5. Clad

Some window types look similar to others. Others have a specific and unique look that you can only get with that window. 

Here, we will look deeper into each of these window types and dissect what styles they are popularly used for and how they will look in your home. Then, you will have a better idea of which window type will give you the look you want for your replacement windows. 


1. Vinyl Windows

Vinyl windows are made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC). They are a lightweight and flexible window first introduced in the latter half of the 1900s. 

Since their introduction, window manufacturers have made leaps and bounds in the quality and longevity of vinyl windows. Lower quality vinyl windows have a reputation to bend, bow, and become misshapen over time. 

Newer, higher-quality engineered or composite vinyl windows are made to combat this commonality, and most are fade-resistant. High-quality vinyl windows, when installed correctly, can last a lifetime in your home.  


What do vinyl windows look like? 

Vinyl windows are most known for being simple and sleek. They typically have a shine to them and, depending on the manufacturer, can be customized to any color you like. 

Vinyl windows also allow for specific moulding on the frame. If you want a more pronounced edging around the frame, you can do that. 

Overall, vinyl windows are one of the simplest window types but can also be versatile in their design and customizability. If you are looking for a simple, affordable replacement window, vinyl may be for you. 



2. Fiberglass Windows

Fiberglass windows have become a popular innovation in the window replacement industry during the 21st century. They are made by taking fiberglass strands and binding them with a resin. 

This creates an incredibly strong material, allowing fiberglass windows to withstand extreme heat and cold. 

Fiberglass windows are one of the most durable window materials, beating low-quality vinyl in durability and longevity. They also require very little maintenance, making them easy to care for to keep them lasting in your home. 


What do fiberglass windows look like? 

Fiberglass windows have a similar look to vinyl: sleek and simple. 

They are more popularly used for modern window designs. Most fiberglass windows are highly customizable, allowing you to build the frame with the look of your liking. 

If you are looking to modernize your home and want to create a window that can do so, fiberglass might be your best option. You will have a durable and long-lasting window that will stay in style for years.



3. Wood Windows

The first and oldest window type is the wood window. From times of horse-drawn buggies to smartphones and self-driving cars, wood windows have been around for it all. 

The simple fact that we still use wood windows today proves their durability and longevity. 

Wood windows are very sturdy and long-lasting. But, they require a lot of care and upkeep to maintain their strength and durability. 

Otherwise, wood windows are susceptible to water infiltration, rotting, and pest infestation. Some wood windows, though, are manufactured with additives that specifically combat this, ensuring they won’t rot and won’t require as much maintenance as traditional wood. 


What do wood windows look like? 

As we alluded to in the above section, wood windows provide a traditional and historical look. 

Think of a more elaborate frame with wood grain details if you're considering wood windows. That’s one beauty about wood windows is their natural finish and design without paint. 

Wood windows are more popular in historic areas or older homes made with wood windows. So, if you’re looking to replace your current wood windows or want to transform your home into a more traditional look, wood is the way to go. 



4. Aluminum Windows

Aluminum is the most popular metal used for metal windows. It creates a strong frame and can be heavier than other window types, like vinyl. 

High-quality aluminum windows are made to be weather and corrosion-resistant. This means you won’t have to worry about rusting or deteriorating the metal. 

However, aluminum can become dented upon impacts, such as hail damage, wind, or blunt force. It can also be a conductor for heat, which would increase the internal temperature of your home, though high-quality aluminum windows are made to be nonconductive. 


What do aluminum windows look like? 

Aluminum windows look similar to vinyl and fiberglass, smooth and sleek. Depending on the finish, it can either be matte or shiny, reflecting the metal. 

It is popular for aluminum windows to have a matte finish to help the nonconductivity. 

Aluminum windows can be made in various styles, like fiberglass, though they mostly resemble a classic and simple look for replacement windows. 

If you are looking for a sturdier window but want a simple look, aluminum might be the right window type for you. 



5. Clad Windows

Clad windows are the fifth and final type of windows we will cover. A clad window consists of a wooden frame with an exterior cladding attached. 

Cladding can be made of vinyl, fiberglass, or aluminum, and it can either be extruded or rolled-on. Extruded clad means the cladding extrudes from the frame, or sticks out a little in plain terms. 

Cladding adds strength and sturdiness to the window frame, but extruded cladding is more durable than rolled-on cladding. 

A clad window allows you to have a wood interior window without the maintenance of a wood exterior, which makes them so popular. 


What do clad windows look like? 

A clad window has a real-wood interior frame with a sleek exterior, whether it’s made of vinyl, fiberglass, or aluminum. 

Exterior cladding can oftentimes be customized to have more elaborate trim or a simple, flat framing. The ability of customization all comes down to the manufacturer. 

So, if you want the classic look of a real wood window for the interior of your home but don’t want to deal with the maintenance and potential issues that come with them, a clad window is perfect for you. 



Which window material is right for me? 

Now that you know five common window material types and what they look like, you can make the best, educated choice for your window replacement project. 

Remember that when designing your replacement windows, the look of them all comes down to the frame. 

Vinyl and fiberglass windows can give you a simple and modern look, while wood windows provide you with a traditional and historical look. 

Aluminum windows can give your home a little sparkle, and clad windows allow you to have a real wood window inside without having to maintain the exterior. 

Choosing the right replacement window material all comes down to your goals. While, yes, considering how it will look is important, you also want to think about how the window will perform and how long it will last in your home. 

In fact, design and performance are just two of the four things you must consider when choosing a replacement window material. 

How do you choose the right replacement window material? Check out this article that outlines four things to consider to choose the best material for your replacement windows. 


Ready to upgrade your home’s windows? 

Southwest Exteriors offer high-quality fiberglass, vinyl, aluminum, and clad windows to fit almost any style you want. 

Paired with our expert installation, your new windows won’t only beautify your home but make it more energy-efficient and last a lifetime in your home. 

So, are you ready to give your home a new look by replacing your windows? Schedule your free, in-home consultation with a design consultant today to get the look you love coming home to!