Aluminum Vs Vinyl Replacement Windows
Homeowners can choose from different styles and materials for their replacement windows. While most traditional homes have wooden windows, newer homes have vinyl or aluminum windows. In fact, vinyl and aluminum are the most popular materials for new and replacement windows.
Both aluminum and vinyl are more durable, lower maintenance. They are also and less expensive than wood, but each material has its own plusses and minuses.
Choosing between vinyl and aluminum can be difficult. Homeowners should consider several things before choosing vinyl or aluminum for their windows. Price is always an important and determinant factor for homeowners.
New windows' prices can range from $750 to up to $3,000+ per window. The price will also depend on size, color, and customizations such as grids. Add that up for every window in your home, and it can become a lot of money. Before buying, be sure that your new windows provide durability. Think about quality and even the warranties on these windows before you buy them. Remember, the most expensive window is the one you need to replace.
Vinyl frames look more traditional than aluminum frames.
When considering style, vinyl and aluminum windows hit many of the same notes. Both are readily available as single- or double-hung, single-or multi-pane, and nearly any color or finish you want. That said, vinyl window frames are typically thicker than aluminum frames. Vinyl also offers options of smooth, textured, or faux wood finishes.
Many homeowners prefer the wood look over any other style. So good news, if you like wood on your windows, vinyl windows are a great option for you. Be sure to ask your window manufacturer about their vinyl window styles and their durability.
You can get a wood-look on your aluminum windows. But most manufacturers use a special coating on aluminum to resemble the wood-look. Thinner aluminum frames are more fitting with contemporary architectural styles. They have a smooth or textured powder-coated enamel which gives that modern look.
Aluminum frames are more prone to dents, corrosion, and fading.
Both types of windows are very resistant to scratching, cracking, and marring. Vinyl windows, however, boast extra durability when it comes to dents and chips, too.
When Vinyl windows suffer damage, this material is less likely to show chips or scratches. When aluminum windows chip or get scratched, the finish will expose the raw metal underneath.
Aluminum can also face challenges of corrosion and color change. Also, the steel or zinc fasteners used for aluminum windows will corrode and pit. This is problematic especially in environments like coastal towns with salty air. The enamel finish on aluminum windows is more subject to fading in strong sunlight than the dyes used in vinyl construction.
Vinyl windows need less maintenance than aluminum windows.
Vinyl material is virtually maintenance-free. Homeowners may need to do some caulking to prevent airflow in and around the material. This is why is better to hire a professional window installer to install your windows. Aluminum windows aren’t too much more work to maintain. Yet, Aluminum windows are prone to condensation—which can lead to rust or mold. In this case, you should use a special aluminum cleaner on your windows. Make sure that you also rinse and dry. Additionally, you can lubricate the moving parts to prevent undue wear and tear on the metal mechanisms.
Vinyl never requires repainting; aluminum needs re-painting or re-coating
Many paints and coatings will not adhere well to either material and will be prone to peeling and flaking. Because vinyl is the same color throughout, there is seldom any need to repaint. In fact, repainting vinyl windows often will void the warranty. You can repaint a scratched or chipped aluminum window with enamel paint. But keep in mind that when you do, it may not look exactly like the original.
Whether you choose vinyl or aluminum, it is a good idea you choose a color and finish that you love.
There are aluminum windows that are thermally improved which prevent thermal energy loss. However, most thermal breaks are made from vinyl. If you want maximum energy efficiency, look for Energy-Star rated windows. These will lower your energy bill by an average of 12% per year.
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