Windows are an essential part of any home, as they provide natural light, ventilation, and aesthetic appeal. However, not all windows are created equal, and choosing the right material for your window frames can make a big difference in terms of durability, maintenance, energy efficiency, and cost. Two of the most common materials for window frames are vinyl and aluminum, but how do they compare? In this post, we will look at the pros and cons of vinyl vs aluminum windows, and help you decide which one is best for your home.
Vinyl Vs Aluminum – Which one is best?
Vinyl and aluminum windows have some similarities, but also some significant differences. Here are some of the main factors to consider when comparing vinyl vs aluminum windows:
Design and style
Both vinyl and aluminum windows come in a variety of colors, finishes, and styles, so you can find one that matches your home’s architecture and decor. However, vinyl windows tend to have thicker frames than aluminum windows, which can reduce the glass area and the amount of natural light that enters your home. Vinyl windows also offer more options for textured or faux wood finishes, which can mimic the look of wood without the drawbacks of wood windows. Aluminum windows, on the other hand, have thinner frames that create a sleeker and more modern appearance. Aluminum windows can also be painted or powder-coated in any color, but they do not have the same realistic wood-grain texture as vinyl windows.
Durability and strength
Both vinyl and aluminum windows are durable and resistant to rotting, warping, and corrosion. However, aluminum windows are stronger and can support heavier and larger windows than vinyl windows. Aluminum windows are also more resistant to denting and scratching than vinyl windows, which can crack or fade over time. Vinyl windows, however, are more resistant to extreme temperatures and UV rays than aluminum windows, which can expand and contract with temperature changes and lose their color and shape over time. Vinyl windows also have hollow cavities that can be filled with insulation, which can improve their durability and performance.
Vinyl windows are generally cheaper than aluminum windows, both in terms of material and installation costs. According to Angie’s List, the average cost of vinyl windows is $729 per window, including installation, while the average cost of aluminum windows is $1,200 per window, including installation1. However, the cost of vinyl and aluminum windows can vary depending on the size, shape, style, and quality of the windows, as well as the labor and location of the installation. Therefore, it is important to get multiple quotes from different window contractors before making a decision.
Both vinyl and aluminum windows can improve the energy efficiency of your home, but vinyl windows generally perform better than aluminum windows in this aspect. Vinyl windows are excellent insulators, as they prevent heat transfer between the inside and outside of your home. Vinyl windows can also have low-E glass, argon gas fill, and other features that can enhance their energy efficiency. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, vinyl windows can save homeowners an average of 12% on their energy bills. Aluminum windows, on the other hand, are poor insulators, as they conduct heat easily. Aluminum windows can also have thermal breaks, which are strips of plastic or rubber that separate the interior and exterior parts of the frame, to reduce heat transfer. However, aluminum windows still have lower energy efficiency ratings than vinyl windows, and can cause condensation and frost on the glass in cold climates.
Vinyl and aluminum windows both have their advantages and disadvantages, and the best choice for your home depends on your personal preferences, budget, and climate. Vinyl windows are more affordable, more energy-efficient, and more resistant to temperature changes and UV rays than aluminum windows, but they also have thicker frames, less glass area, and less strength than aluminum windows. Aluminum windows are more expensive, less energy-efficient, and more prone to expansion and contraction than vinyl windows, but they also have thinner frames, more glass area, and more strength than vinyl windows. Ultimately, the best way to compare vinyl vs aluminum windows is to consult with a professional window contractor, who can assess your home’s needs and recommend the best option for you.