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.
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.
While vinyl windows are considered low maintenance, they require care over time. They can warp in extreme temperatures, so it is important that you caulk around them to prevent as much airflow coming into and out of them as possible. Vinyl windows that become damaged can be easily repaired.
Like vinyl windows, aluminum windows are easy to maintain and considered low maintenance. They require some care, especially when it comes to the track and runners of the window. You need to clean them out periodically, or you may find it nearly impossible to open and close your windows. In addition, aluminum rusts over time. So, if you notice any condensation buildup on the windows, make sure you wipe it away and keep the metal clean.
Vinyl windows are made from PVC. Because of this, the windows are not biodegradable, and there is controversy about whether there are harmful gases released during and after the production of the windows. Many people, who are environmentally conscious, do not choose vinyl windows.
Aluminum is environmentally friendly because it can be recycled. These windows are often removed from homes and then recycled or reused. One thing to keep in mind is that aluminum, while environmentally friendly, is not energy-efficient, which may be a deal breaker for those who are conscious about keeping the environment green.