Whether you’re looking to replace your current home’s windows or in the middle of planning your dream home, you’ll quickly learn that two common window options are vinyl and aluminum windows. So, which one is the better fit for your home? Both have advantages and disadvantages that you should consider. To help with the decision, here are some key factors.
Both vinyl and aluminum windows offer single or double hung styles with double pane insulated glass. Your exterior color choices are almost limitless. Be aware that extremely dark colors (i.e. black) could cause warping issues on a vinyl window with heavy sun exposure. This won’t happen with aluminum due to its rigidity.
When it comes to appearance, there are significant differences. First, vinyl window frames tend to be thicker than aluminum frames. This is again because of the rigidity of aluminum. However, that rigid aspect has a serious drawback. Aluminum windows can only have a square or box style. Vinyl frames will have a more contoured and subtler look that blends with the rest of your house. Additionally, vinyl windows can be manufactured with two tone colors and faux wood finishes. Aluminum windows can’t. If you’re a homeowner who loves the look of wood or is a bit more creative, but also appreciates durability, vinyl windows are definitely your best option.
Although aluminum windows don’t require too much maintenance, they require more than vinyl windows. In fact, apart from occasional caulking around the perimeter, vinyl windows require no maintenance or painting. On the other hand, aluminum windows are more susceptible to condensation, which can result in mold or rust. To prevent this, they must be semi-regularly be cleaned with a special cleaner, rinsed, and dried.
Both aluminum and vinyl windows are known for their durability and resistance to cracking. Aluminum frames though are prone to corrosion and fading. It’s very rare for vinyl windows to become dented or chipped and, on the off chance they do, they are less likely to show any damage. This is because vinyl windows are constructed from the same material all the way through. On the other hand, aluminum’s raw material will be exposed if scratching or denting occurs, which is a definite eyesore. This also means that you will have to repaint your aluminum windows, or they will rust.
When it comes to insulation, vinyl windows will win every time. Unlike aluminum windows that conduct cold and heat, vinyl windows reduce heat transfer. This means they keep unwanted temperatures out and comfortable temperatures in. The energy efficiency of a vinyl window is almost impossible to beat.
Vinyl windows are around 30% less expensive than aluminum windows . When you also consider that vinyl windows are more energy efficient, resulting in lower utility bills, and need no maintenance, they become the best and most cost-effective option for your home.
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