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How To Choose The Best Window Materials For Your Home

June 7, 2024

Finding the perfect windows for your Minnesota home can be tough. They need to look great, but more importantly, they must withstand our state's extreme weather year-round.

Finding the perfect windows for your Minnesota home can be tough. They need to look great, but more importantly, they must withstand our state’s extreme weather year-round—from bitterly cold winters to scorching summer heat and powerful storms. The wrong window materials can lead to drafty rooms, frost buildup, cracking, warping, and even damage during severe weather events.

This guide will help you pick windows built to beat Minnesota’s challenging climate.


Why Window Material Matters in Minnesota?

When those bitter northerly winds start howling, you’ll want windows that provide superior insulation to keep the bitter cold outdoors. But Minnesota summers can be equally brutal, with intense heat and humidity. Poor quality frames allow heat transfer, making it harder and costlier to maintain a comfortable temperature indoors. Lackluster window materials are also more prone to issues like:

  • Ice buildup between the panes.
  • Drafts and air leaks.
  • Condensation and fogging up.
  • Cracking or warping due to temperature extremes.
  • Potential damage from high winds, hail, or flying debris.

The right windows will insulate efficiently, seal tightly against air or moisture intrusion, and resist impact from summer storms. Let’s explore some of the most durable options for Minnesota’s climate extremes.


Best Window Materials for Minnesota’s Climate

When it comes to standing up to harsh Upper Midwest conditions, these window materials get top marks:

  • Fiberglass: Considered one of the best all-around frame choices, fiberglass expands and contracts minimally to prevent drafts and cracks. It also provides excellent insulation against heat transfer.
  • Vinyl: An affordable option, vinyl windows with insulated frames resist heat and cold well. It’s important to note that darker vinyl colors may contract slightly over time.
  • Wood Clad: Combining an insulating wood interior with durable exterior aluminum or vinyl cladding gives you energy efficiency and weather protection. Properly sealed wood-clad units can be installed year-round.
  • Composite: Made from a composite wood or polymer blend, these frames resist swelling, cracking, or rotting caused by temperature changes and moisture. Modern composite windows are also highly energy efficient.
  • Impact-Resistant Glass: Reinforced glass like tempered, laminated, or glass-clad polycarbonate can help prevent shattering from hail, flying debris, and high winds during severe summer storms. This is an excellent upgrade for homes in tornado or hurricane-prone areas.


Other Key Window Highlights

Beyond the frame, look for window glass packages designed to maximize energy savings and comfort:

  • Multi-pane, insulated glass.
  • Low-E coatings to reflect heat.
  • Gas fills like argon or krypton.
  • Warm edge spacers and sealants.
  • Low solar heat gain coefficients to reduce summer heat gain.


Investing in windows with the latest energy-efficient glass technologies pays off by reducing your heating and cooling costs year-round in Minnesota’s extreme seasonal shifts. No matter which materials you choose, ensure the windows have an ENERGY STAR certification for the Northern climate zone. This verifies optimal insulation performance.

Spring and early summer are typically considered the best times of year to replace your home’s windows in Minnesota. The warmer temperatures make installation easier and allow fresh sealants to cure properly, ensuring that your new windows will be ready to start protecting against drafts and heat loss once winter rolls around again.

Ready to replace your old, drafty windows with ones that can withstand the harsh weather of Minneapolis–Saint Paul and other surrounding areas? Trust the professionals at TR Exteriors to get the ball rolling. Don’t let subpar windows turn your home into an icebox this year! Contact us today.