Why Choose Steel Windows over Vinyl?


Which style of windows is ideal for your residential or commercial space? These days, there are many different options to consider—from vinyl to steel, aluminum, and fiberglass to wood window designs. Particularly in residential settings, vinyl, (or PVC) window frames tend to be the most popular option, thanks mostly to its affordability. However, at B&L Glass, we have noticed a trend in recent years where more and more of our clients show an interest in steel frames. Why might you decide to choose steel over vinyl for your next window-related project? In this post, we will explore some of the significant advantages that steel windows have to offer, as well as why those benefits might be worth the more substantial investment that comes from choosing steel.


Steel window frames offer unparalleled strength


No type of window structure offers more strength than steel, and frankly, nothing else comes even close. For instance, even compared to aluminum windows—which are markedly more robust than vinyl—a steel window frame offers three times more strength. This added strength presents the possibility of having much larger window designs in your home or commercial space. Floor-to-ceiling windows; wrap-around corner windows; all-glass walls or all-glass rooms: these types of designs can’t be accomplished with vinyl, wood, fiberglass, or aluminum framing, but the strength of steel window framing solutions allows for larger panes of glass and more all-around impressive uses of glass in building design. For good reason, architects often gravitate toward steel windows, simply because of how many more design possibilities they create. Larger and less constrained window designs also mean more natural light—another major point in steel’s favor.


Steel is more durable than other options


The unbeatable strength of steel windows doesn’t just mean they can accomplish load-bearing feats that wood or fiberglass couldn’t. On the contrary, the strength of steel also means durability, which in turn means a longer lifespan. Steel windows are built to last and will remain robust, functional, reliable and aesthetically stunning for years, decades, or even generations. Comparatively, vinyl windows and wood windows require much more frequent replacement. There’s a trade-off there, of course: steel windows come with a higher price tag than you would associate with other types of windows—hence their frequent classification as part of the “luxury windows” niche. However, because of the reduced maintenance, repair, or replacement expenses, a steel window will also usually translate to a much lower cost of ownership. Particularly if you are building a house that you believe will be your “forever home,” it will probably make the most investment sense to choose steel for your window frames.


Steel has historical charm and beauty


While steel seems to be riding a new wave of popularity among the luxury windows market, steel windows are anything but new. On the contrary, steel framing was a go-to option in many 19th– and 20th-century window designs, including in many of the works from master architect Frank Lloyd Wright. For generations, architects and property owners alike have appreciated the strength, durability, and classic beauty of steel window designs. Perhaps you are looking to bring a sense of timeless elegance to your home or business. Alternatively, maybe you are working on renovating a 19th-century building that still has the original steel windows and want to preserve the authentic historical feel and intent of the design. In either case, steel is probably your best bet.


Impressive thermal performance


When it comes to metal window frames, there is always some concern about thermal performance. Metal, of course, has a high thermal conductivity. When it’s warm and sunny out, metal gets hot to the touch in a way that, say, wood does not. Similarly, during the winter, metal will take on an icy temperature that matches the bitterly cold weather. In window framing designs, metal heated or cooled by the temperature outdoors can sometimes transfer to the glass and thus into the interior of the building. This factor sometimes raises questions about the thermal performance of metal-framed windows.


While this type of thermal transfer was a problem with the metal windows of yesteryear, it isn’t a problem with today’s steel framing designs. These modern windows are referred to as “thermally broken,” which essentially just means that a thermal break (or barrier) is incorporated into the window design. This barrier sits between the exterior frame of the window and the interior frame. In the case of a steel window, the outer part of the frame is still subject to the high thermal conductivity that is natural in all metals. However, the thermal break effectively dissipates any thermal energy from the exterior frame before it transfers over to the interior frame. As a result, today’s steel window designs don’t transfer hot or cold air into your space in the way an antique non-thermally-blocked window would.


Moreover, modern window technology—which ultimately incorporates multiple panes of glass by way of double or triple-glazed windows—is ideally suited to steel framing, due to the extra strength of the frames themselves. As a result, today’s thermally broken steel windows are among the most energy-efficient windows on the entire market.


Explore the Benefits of These Luxury Windows Today

Whether you feel drawn to steel window framing for its strength, security, design versatility, performance, or sheer beauty, our team at B&L Glass can help you outfit your home or business with these stunning luxury windows. Contact us today to get started.


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