Framed vs. Frameless Windows for Your RV, What is Better?


A highlight of traveling in your RV is waking up to views of incredible nature right outside your window. Many RV owners realize the importance of choosing the right windows for their vehicle. Not only does this choice affect your RV aesthetically. It can also influence how easy the windows are to maintain, how much cold or hot air enters the vehicle, and many other factors you may not have considered. 

The two main options are framed or frameless windows, so which option should you get for your RV?

What is better, framed or frameless windows for your RV? Framed windows typically are better for your RV. Frameless may have a sleeker appearance, but they are often less stable and provide less airflow than their framed counterparts. However, both options have benefits worth exploring depending on how you want your RV to look and the amount of air you want to come in.

What are framed windows for your RV?

Framed windows look like a normal household window

Framed windows are the more traditional style of RV windows. They are built with a plastic or metal frame surrounding the window, differentiating them from the frameless style. Many framed windows have a slider feature, which allows for more airflow than any other style. 

Advantages:

Maximum airflow

Framed windows with a slider feature are your best bet for maximizing airflow in your RV. This is a critical factor to consider when choosing windows for your vehicle. The breeze that comes in through framed slider windows can make all the difference in feeling comfortable inside the vehicle. This can also save you money by eliminating the need to run the AC continuously.

New models are often built with UV treated plastic

A disadvantage of these windows is that the plastic frame can get UV damage. However, most recent models have built-in UV protection. The window itself can be UV tinted as well to protect the furniture inside of your vehicle.

Frames add support to the window

The plastic frame around the window offers structural support. In the event of damage, this could help prevent the window from breaking or shattering.

Usually more cost-effective

Framed windows are structurally quite simple. This, along with their added stability, means they are usually more economical to maintain in the long-run. They are usually often cheaper to replace in case of damage.

Disadvantages:

Potential for plastic trim to fade with sun exposure

If the plastic frame has not been UV treated, it can potentially fade due to sun exposure. This is mainly an aesthetic issue but is unique to framed windows.

Sometimes, but not always UV tinted

Since framed windows are the more traditional style, there are many out there that have not been UV tinted. This can affect the temperature inside your camper and potentially lead to fading of furniture and other materials inside. Tinting will also keep the heat out in the summer months.

Seals are more likely to need maintenance

Since the seals of these windows are exposed to the elements, they are more likely to require maintenance in the long run. This maintenance can be inconvenient and is an added cost that is less likely to be needed with frameless windows. Also, the seals tend to be harder to replace.

Cannot be opened on a rainy day

Since these windows are vertical or horizontal and often do not come with rain protection, they are difficult to use in the event of precipitation. This can affect the humidity and temperature inside your vehicle on a rainy day.

What are frameless windows for your RV?

Frameless windows have a sleek black look

Frameless windows are a more recently developed design that many consider more aesthetically pleasing. Since these windows have no frame, the simple glass pane is a sleek addition to the side of your RV. Frameless windows also usually have UV protection to protect the inside of your travel trailer.

Advantages

Beautiful Aesthetics

These windows have an elegant appearance that is visually pleasing, and a dark tint offers added privacy. If aesthetics matter to you, these windows are the best way to make sure your RV looks sleek on the road.

Most are UV tinted

UV treated tinted windows help the vehicle stay cool on sunny days. This prevents any interior items or furniture from fading due to sun exposure. It also acts as an added privacy feature, preventing others from seeing into your RV.

Protected seal

Since the window seal is located underneath the actual window, it is less likely to become damaged or require replacement. Framed windows have an exposed seal, which may require more maintenance over time.

No trim eliminates fading issue

Since there is no frame surrounding this style of window, there is no risk of any part of the window becoming faded over time. This keeps the aesthetic appearance of the windows looking better over time.

Rain protection when opened

Since these windows have a hinged, awning style opening, you can keep them open when it is raining. You will not risk rain entering your vehicle since the window acts as a barrier, allowing you to get some airflow even on a rainy day.

Disadvantages

Poor Airflow

Frameless windows only open about six inches or even the bottom half at the bottom of the window. This prevents you from getting as much of a cross-breeze as you would with a framed slider window. Reduced airflow can make a big difference in how comfortable you feel in your vehicle. Because of this, you may also end up spending more money on air conditioning.

Less support

Frameless windows do not have the support of a frame, which could affect how durable they are. For this reason, an impact may be more likely to result in costly damage.

Cost

If you end up damaging your frameless windows, replacement usually can be more than a framed window even though there is less parts involved.

The Benefit of Having Both

Many RVs come with both styles of windows in different locations on the vehicle. Frameless windows are often located on the side of RVs, while framed windows may be found on the slide out sidewalls. This allows you to reap the benefits of both styles, keep the breeze flowing throughout your vehicle, and even keep some windows open on a rainy day.

What type of window is better?

Since these windows each have different advantages, deciding which window you prefer will be largely based on preference. If you are interested in aesthetics and don’t mind relying a bit more on AC, frameless windows will be a good option for you. If you prefer the option with the best airflow and stability, you’ll want to go with framed windows.

If you have an aftermarket vent fan such as the MaxxFan or Fantastic-Fan, you can use your exhaust setting to draw lots of air through either type of window making frameless a more viable option.

Which is easier to maintain?

Framed windows are easier to maintain. Both will require some degree of maintenance, but framed windows will likely be more cost-effective to maintain over time. A few possible maintenance requirements for each type of window are as follows:

Framed windows may have leaks and caulking requirements. These windows may begin to leak over time and require caulking to keep leaks at bay. This may affect the aesthetic appearance of your windows. The seals or plastic trim may also need replacing due to cracks or UV damage. Since the seals are more exposed in these windows, they are more likely to need replacing. You can do this yourself or hire professional help.

Frameless windows are more likely to suffer shattering due to lack of support by a frame. The scissor mechanism that opens these windows can also become damaged and require replacement. These windows also risk condensation seeping between the panes, which requires maintenance to prevent permanent damage.

Which is more cost-effective to replace?

The cost to replace these windows will depend on several factors. Size, UV tinting, and slider features are a few of the elements that will increase the price of your windows. Frameless windows are newer and generally cost a bit more, but framed windows with a slider feature are more expensive than regular single-pane framed windows. 

Conclusion

To choose your RV windows, make sure you do your research, and go into an RV dealer to check them out in person before deciding. As with many RV decisions, this will ultimately depend on your preference and which factors matter most to you. Once you weigh the options and scope them out in person, you’ll be sure to end up with the right windows for your RV adventures.

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Eric

I have been camping most of my adult life and am passionate about having the best camping equipment as well as writing. Combine these two items and you have our site.

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