Your windows allow light into your home, and they are your view to the world outside. Why cloud that with poor quality windows, or windows that do not meet your needs? One of the most important decisions you will make is whether you should choose between aluminum or vinyl windows. Each option has pros and cons, but the final decision is yours to make.
Below, we explore both vinyl and aluminum windows in depth to help you gain a better understanding of what to expect when you invest in either option.
Aluminum windows come with a thinner frame, which provides your home with a more modern style. With vinyl windows, the majority of the window is made up of glass. Unlike aluminum windows, vinyl windows have a join line at each of the corners, which may be unappealing to some individuals. Vinyl window frames are typically plainer and thicker than aluminum windows because they are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
Many individuals find that aluminum windows are more attractive because the frame is thinner. However, vinyl windows allow the ability to paint the frame, which is an option that many homeowners like. Aluminum window frames come in a metallic silver finish, which is not as attractive.
Aluminum window frames can succumb to damage over the years, and this is evidenced by weathering and rusting of the metal. You cannot paint aluminum window frames, which means that you need to replace the frame when you are displeased with the appearance.
Vinyl windows that are on the market today are energy-efficient and provide the cost savings you expect when investing in new windows. The reason vinyl is energy-efficient is because it is designed to reduce any heat transfer that takes place and also limits the amount of light penetration that shines through the window. Vinyl windows help regulate the internal temperature of the home, which allows the HVAC system to work less, thus rendering the vinyl windows energy-efficient.
Aluminum windows are not as energy-efficient. This is because they are actually heat conductors and heat a room up. Since the aluminum conducts heat, it allows more heat to penetrate through the windows, causing the HVAC system to work harder to cool the room. If the interior of the home is substantially cooler than the outside, condensation can form on the windows and lead to other issues such as mold and rust.
No matter which type of window you choose, vinyl or aluminum, even the best energy-efficient windows are less efficient if not installed properly.
Both aluminum and vinyl windows should be installed by a professional. Each type of window can be a relatively easy DIY project, but if you install one of your windows poorly, then you will pay for it later.
Vinyl is a flexible material that contracts and expands easily. This flexibility makes installation simpler and faster than for aluminum windows. If the vinyl does not come already set, it will need to be placed into the frame once the window is installed.
Aluminum window installation is more difficult because if any of the measurements are off, the window may not install correctly. Once the aluminum window and frame are in place, caulk is typically used to secure the window in place. Aluminum window installation takes longer than vinyl because the aluminum is not flexible.
Of these window materials, vinyl is the less expensive to both purchase and install. A 48-inch vinyl window will cost between $520 and $730, with installation for each costing around $250. This makes the total cost for each installed window between $770 and $980.
Aluminum windows cost between $720 and $930 for a 48-inch window, and installation costs are higher, around $350 for each window. This makes the final cost for each window installed between $1,070 and $1,280.
Aluminum windows are much better at stopping noise than vinyl windows. In fact, vinyl windows should not be chosen for noise insulation because they do not insulate very well due to less mass. While aluminum windows will not block out all noise, they do a better job than vinyl windows. Aluminum windows are a better choice for homeowners who live near busy streets or loud areas such as parks and need some noise reduction.
Since vinyl is a flexible material, the windows cannot handle extreme temperature changes and will warp. This can sometimes leave the vinyl stretched with a distorted look, which is undesirable. Aluminum windows are extremely durable and do not bend or twist, even in the hottest or coldest temperatures, which is why many homeowners prefer them. Also, aluminum windows are one of the strongest materials available in the window market. The frame is made to withstand inclement weather, and the frames do not warp, contract, or expand in extreme temperatures.
Corrosion is not an issue with vinyl windows, but it is with aluminum. You will find that aluminum windows deteriorate and corrode, especially around the metallic silver area.