What Are Clad Windows & Doors?

Beauty on the inside, toughness on the outside

Let’s face it, if you live in Southeast Wisconsin you are all too familiar with bundling up in outerwear. Clad windows and doors are the same thing, offering a great way to protect the outside of your home from wind, rain, snow, and even sun.

Essentially, cladding means to, “encase with a covering or coating.”

But there’s a twist. Clad windows and doors not only offer protection on the outside, they’re also like an overcoat with a great lining on the inside. In this case, the beauty of wood! If you shop for clad windows or doors online, you’ll find you’ve got a lot of options to choose from:

  • Aluminum Clad
  • Vinyl Clad
  • Fiberglass or Composite Clad

The warmth of wood on the inside, protected from the elements on the outside. That sounds like a great way to achieve efficient window and door performance, no matter what the weather throws at you!

There are essentially two types of clad surfaces:

  • Extruded Material – A thicker, more solid material, this product is made by pushing or pulling material through a die, creating cavities, grooves, and profiles for the window frame. These long lengths of frame material are then cut to size, and joined together.
  • Roll-form Material – For example, in the case of aluminum, this product is not much thicker or more protective than a soda can. Roll-form aluminum is essentially flattened over and over again like cookie dough until it reaches the desired thickness. It’s cut to the necessary size, then bent and formed to the proper shape to cover a window frame.

There’s a big difference in performance between the two types, as well as the quality of the construction on the inside. If you are considering a clad product, ask to see a cross-section or “insides” of the window. Then remember this – extruded is strong, wood is warm. A true wood frame interior, rather than an applied wood veneer, will provide the insulating qualities you need, while a thick, extruded clad material will provide the strongest, most durable exterior.

What Will You Wrap Your Windows In?

Exploring different types of cladding

Since we’ve already defined wood windows, which make up the interior of a clad product, we’ll break down the different types of exterior options:


Aluminum Clad Windows & Doors

  • Strength – Very strong and durable, aluminum cladding is dent-resistant
  • Aesthetics – The most attractive option for a clad exterior is aluminum cladding, which is often the choice for unique architectural details and historic renovations
  • Variety – Because aluminum can be easily formed, shaped, and bent in many different ways, the exterior profiles can be intricate, customizable, and unique – as well as offering the most colors for cladding profiles

Vinyl Clad Windows & Doors

  • Affordability – As the most common form of clad windows on the market, vinyl is the least expensive cladding option
  • Minimal Maintenance – Like all vinyl products, there is minimal upkeep with a vinyl clad exterior
  • Energy Efficiency – Because vinyl doesn’t conduct heat like aluminum, it offers added energy efficiency to your window

Fiberglass Clad Windows & Doors

  • Durability & Strength – As you learned on our fiberglass page, the added strength of a fiberglass clad window or door means very little expansion and contraction
  • Low-maintenance – Like all vinyl products, there is minimal upkeep with a fiberglass clad exterior
  • Energy Efficiency – Again, because of its strength and low heat-transfer ratings, you’ll have less air infiltration with fiberglass clad windows, improving the comfort and energy efficiency of your home

Are clad windows & doors right for you?

What’s the Best Option for Clad Windows & Doors?

Learn more about the features and benefits of each material

Vinyl Exterior Options

A clad exterior has similar benefits to an all-vinyl window and offers the most affordable products on the market.Learn More »

Fiberglass & Composite

Whether it’s all-fiberglass or made from another composite, learn more about this strong and durable product.Learn More »

Learn More About Aluminum

Keep exploring all that aluminum clad windows have to offer – colors, custom profiles, and more!Learn More »

All With the Beauty of Wood Interiors

Learn more about how a wood interior warms your home with its natural beauty. Homeowners who choose clad windows can enjoy these benefits of a wood interior as well.Learn More »

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