Choosing the Right Materials for Window and Door Replacements

A building envelope’s windows and doors present the second highest risk for deficiency-related energy costs for condos and apartments. As a result, the materials you select for window and door replacement projects for residential and commercial buildings must be considered carefully. Here we share insights into choosing the right materials for your restoration project.

Building Height

The number of storeys has the biggest impact on the materials used for window replacements. High-rise buildings use aluminum while the residential low-rise sector uses vinyl. Another major consideration that makes the height of the building so important is the wind. The higher the floors, the stronger the winds. As a result, sealants on high-rises must be more durable and offer a longer warranty.

Anchors such as screws and brackets are different on the aluminum high-rise window because the main structure of the building is built differently. The screws must be structurally stronger, and more anchors must be used because aluminum windows are heavier and usually larger. Lower-rise townhomes are usually built from wood, with most windows being smaller, so wood screws are used.

Windows installed on high-rise buildings are almost always overseen by engineers, while low-rise residential homes such as townhouse complexes rarely have engineer oversight. As a result, most homeowners are unfamiliar with the materials and windows in general, relying on the window contractors’ recommendations.

Also, specific window manufacturers specialize in distinct types of markets whether it’s low-rise townhouses, or high-rise condos. The materials and products are usually not interchangeable because they are designed for a specific sector.

Window Size

Aluminum-framed windows are commonly used for mid to high-rise residential buildings as they not only have better strength and structure but also provide the best choice of material for larger windows. The material is more durable overall and allows for larger spans. Vinyl on the other hand is limited in size due to its flexibility.

Energy Efficiency

Modern window frames are usually constructed of vinyl or aluminum with aluminum being considered more durable. However, for low-rise buildings and townhouse complexes, vinyl window frames typically have a better U-value.

Building Code

Vinyl might have building code limits such as maximum wall area and allowable spacing between windows when used in non-combustible construction. As a result, if new configurations are being considered, the plans must be reviewed to ensure they are up to code.

Cost of Materials

Some of the factors impacting the cost of materials include:

  • Durability and strength impacting length of warranties
  • Amount of materials used such as more anchors and screws required for heavier, larger aluminum windows
  • Specialty trade skills to apply certain materials or use specialized installation techniques

Material Specifications

The types of materials used on commercial and residential buildings tend to be recommended by the engineers working on the project. They consider all aspects of the building and structure and provide a list of recommended materials during the tendering process.

At WellDone Inc., we are committed to improving the construction process, incorporating various innovations to improve efficiencies, reduce risk, and maintain cost efficiency. Reach out to our team today.