Double Glazing Frame Materials

More Than Meets the Eye

The Critical Role of Frames

Gazing out expansive glass panels overlooking Cornish beaches, the transparency seems almost ethereal. Yet durable frames anchor those weightless views. Materials that withstand battering coastal gales and salt spray year-round.

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Harry Luke, CEO

double glazing frames

“The guys at CWR really know their stuff, they gave us amazing advice and really transformed our home with new aluminium windows”

P. Ward – Truro

High performance glazing counts for naught without hardened peripheries securing the panes. Frames seal out water infiltration. Connect structural framing. And prevent energy leaks for improved efficiency.

Factor 20+ years of enduring UV rays, frigid winters and household wear and tear. Then the significance of stress-tested, resilient frames that functionally support immaculate sightlines shines through.

This guide delves into quintessential frame materials for double glazed windows and doors. We compare critical traits impacting everything from lifespans to style aesthetics. You’ll gain clarity on intelligent pairings for Cornwall’s unique climate and home architecture.

upvc cross section
UPVC Frames

The Budget-Friendly Go-To

With install costs 25%-60% lower than competitors, uPVC (unplasticized polyvinyl chloride) frames dominate replacement double glazing projects. Lightweight rigidity suits both contemporary new builds and period properties. What efficiencies and potential drawbacks factor into uPVC’s widespread popularity?

Years Lifespan
Less Expensive

Benefits of uPVC Framing:

  • Budget Positioning – Base pricing at least 20% below aluminum and wood
  • Durability – Triple sealants resist weathering/rusting for 30+ years
  • Energy Savings – Inherent insulation cuts heat loss versus metal frames
  • Strength – Reinforced sections withstand gust pressures
  • Low Maintenance – Resilient to scratches/corrosion from coastal conditions

Limitations to Weigh:

  • Limited Sizing – Maximum heights restricted to approximately 2 meters
  • Thermal Expansion – Higher than wood resulting in looser fit over time
  • Ecological Impact – Not as sustainably sourced/recyclable as wood

Installers overwhelmingly recommend uPVC frames for affordability and reliable security anchoring specialty glazing. But large expanses may warrant supplemental materials.

Make the most of the view

Slimline Aesthetics With Aluminum Frames

Alongside sweeping ocean vistas, floor-to-ceiling glass panels make interiors feel expansive. Generous dimensions demand hearty frames with aluminum’s high strength-to-weight ratios fitting the bill. Slim unobtrusive profiles also accent modern or industrial decors.


Yet pulling off installer-approved aluminum-framed glazing involves fine-tuned specification. Why does this material tempt and test engineers simultaneously?

Benefits of Aluminum Framing:

  • Design Flexibility – Ideal for oversized contemporary glazing with slim sightlines
  • Lightweight Strength – Resists storm impacts despite slender profiles
  • Stylish Finishes – Available in a wide spectrum of color coatings
  • Resilient Durability – Withstands seafront corrosion better than ferrous metals
  • Responsible Sourcing – High recycled content and recyclability

Considerations for Precise Specifying:

  • Thermal Bridging – High conductivity wicks warmth unless mitigated
  • Expense – Material and fabrication adds 30%-60% over uPVC options
  • Max Size Limitations – Larger spans require reinforcing
  • Specification Precision – Avoid under or over-engineering vulnerability

When married with thermally broken components in the right configurations and conservative spans, aluminum frames elevate modern glazing aesthetics. Precision engineering balances potential pitfalls.

timber window profile rustikal
Warmth + Beauty

Wood Frames

Nothing complements a Cornish cottage flanked in stone and ivy like wood-framed windows and doors. Natural woodgrain textures and hues blend harmoniously with the rural landscape. Timber conveys welcoming warmth too – literally radiating over 5X less conducted heat than metal counterparts.

Years Lifespan

Hardwoods like oak withstand coastal humidity swings and salt erosion better than PVC or steel as well. An eco-friendly renewable building material when sourced responsibly.

Factor in such merits and it’s easy to see why wood persistently frames Cornwall’s heritage homes. Yet modern maintenance realities rightly give some homeowners pause.

Benefits of Wood Framing:

  • Aesthetic Appeal – Hard to mimic wood’s timeless elegance
  • Thermal Efficiency – Insulating qualities for energy savings
  • Responsible Material – Renewably sourced from certified forests
  • Strength/Longevity – Durable old growth European Oak lasts 60+ years

Maintenance Needs to Account For:

  • Periodic Upkeep – Requires refinishing every 3-5 years
  • Higher Expense – Triple the costs of basic uPVC or aluminum
  • Custom Expertise – Precise joinery skills prove harder to procure
  • Environmental Factors – Moisture control and insect damage risks

Where budget allows, wood framing plays a feature role in architecturally distinguished homes merged beautifully with the surroundings. Prioritize responsible sourcing and partnerships with specialized craftsmen.

Have it all

Composite & Alternative Frame Materials

Wood boasts enviable natural insulating qualities. uPVC excels minimizing maintenance requirements. Aluminum offers resilient slim profiles. How about garnering the best of each world by blending materials compositionally?

composite window frames

Engineers constantly concoct hybrid frames marrying positive performance aspects from multiple materials while curbing inherent limitations. Composites fuse a mix of:

  • uPVC, wood fiber & plastic polymers
  • Fiberglass reinforcement & structural adhesive resins
  • Aluminum or thermally broken steel reinforced with plastic

Custom composite makers alter the ratios catering to specialized mechanical, acoustic, thermal or biological needs. Pre-engineered alternatives like fiberglass frames tout pre-formulated upgrades simplifying decisions through consistent reliable stock options.

Such cross-pollinating fosters frames featuring:

  • uPVC’s insulating values + wood’s finishing potential
  • Metal’s strength & narrow profiles + thermally isolating barriers

Savvy eco-conscious builders also continually integrate higher percentages of recycled plastics and reclaimed wood waste into proprietary composites. Expect the drive for sustainable construction and holistic efficiencies to yield even more progressive framed glazing solutions moving forward.

the skinny

Comparing Materials by the Measure

Generic factsheets shouting uPVC lasts “20+ years” or wood offers “superior insulation” only hint at real-world considerations. Reference this comprehensive breakdown spanning structural integrity to eco-impacts when weighing your options:

Performance Comparison by Frame Material:

R-value (m2K/W)
Thermal ExpansionHigh 3-4mm/mMed 2mm/mLow 0.1mm/mLow-Med 1-2mm/m
Max Wind Load (Pa)1000-40003000-100002000-60002500-6000
Durability (Years)25-4030-100+10-6020-50
Acoustic DampeningPoorFairExcellentVaries
Eco SustainabilityMedHighHighHigh

Balance your priorities from energy efficiency to sustainability potential using such side-by-side quantitative metrics. The optimal pairings emerge when aligning frame capabilities with environmental conditions and project vision early on.

Factor Aesthetics

Frame Finishing Possibilities

Beyond structural contributions, frames visually anchor outdoor scenery and shape interior decors through color, texture and revealed dimensions. Consider finishing choices early in design phases for fully integrated style.

Color Coating Options

Powder coating, liquid spray painting and anodizing tint aluminum profiles spanning a vast spectrum from crisp whites to daring metallics. Upcycle old units or harmonize replacements with heritage hues.

Favor naturally resilient woods like oak or acetylated pine finished to accentuate grain patterns and knots. Teak brings richness; ash, light-reflecting brightness. Select species attuned to English weathering.

For uPVC windows, superficial foil coatings offer wipe-clean low maintenance convenience in white or woodgrain aesthetic replicas. Or opt for enduring hydrophobic acrylic lacquers, high-definition prints resembling aged antique glass or pearlescent translucent tints.

Textural Choices

Smooth factory finishes suit contemporary schemes. Seek woodworkers specializing in artisan distressing techniques like hand-scraping or limed patination for rustic charm on timber frames.

Incorporate recessed shadow lines, classic ovolo sculpting or delicate beveling around the pane edges. Such detailing defines dimensional scale and catches light beautifully.

From the experts

Closing Thoughts on Selecting Double Glazing Frames

Windows and doors stand sentry between shelter and elements, merging outdoors with interior sanctuaries. As the anchoring backdrop tying this cohesion together, frames seal, strengthen and beautify glazed wall expanses for generations.

There’s no universally superior frame material appointed for every home or climate condition. Tailored solutions emerge from honoring site-specific environmental factors, architectural aesthetics, durability benchmarks, thermal dynamics and budget.

Keep this comprehensive overview handy as an impartial reference check when evaluating quotes and getting tempted by tempting claims and assumptions. Match frame features and benefits to your vision through informed discernment – not convincing taglines.

Ready for expert guidance uniting ideal frames to specialty glazing that harmonizes with existing structures and greenspaces? Let’s start a transparent conversation around options for welcoming daylight in through beautifully fortified portals designed to endure.

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