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Vinyl Vs. Aluminum Windows: Which Is Better?

Last updated on 03/10/2022

Aluminum windows and doors are a growing market - it’s expected to reach $78.78 billion by 2030. With its strong build and modern look, aluminum is a popular choice for many homes.

But when it comes to choosing your window, you may not know the right material to choose. The common question is deciding between an aluminum vs a vinyl window.

What’s the difference? Is one better to use for certain homes?

If you're interested in learning more about aluminum vs vinyl windows, continue reading our guide. Below we explain the key differences between a vinyl and aluminum window.

Aluminum Looks More Modern

Vinyl and aluminum frames often come in many of the same options and styles. Both are available as single- or double-hung and single- or multi-pane. You can also find both vinyl and aluminum in numerous colors and finishes that will fit your home.

With this being said, vinyl frames give a more traditional look for a home. Vinyl frames are usually thicker than aluminum and give the options of smooth, textured, or faux wood finishes.

Aluminum frames don’t offer as many realistic finishing options. Aluminum frames would require a coating to achieve a wooden look, which wouldn’t look as natural as vinyl frames would.

However, those looking for a modern look will appreciate aluminum. Thinner aluminum frames are usually finished in a smoothed enamel that gives them a sleek look. They’ll fit right in with contemporary styles.

Vinyl & Aluminum Withstand Minor Damages

Both vinyl and aluminum frames are resistant to damage but include durability in regards to corrosion, fading, and minor dents.

Vinyl frames are constructed of the same material all the way through, so they’re less likely to show small chips and scratches.

Aluminum windows are coated with a baked-on, factory-applied enamel coating. This prevents the metal from corroding over time and makes them less likely to chip or dent.

Aluminum Framed Windows and Doors

Aluminum Frames Are Stronger Overall

That being said, though, aluminum frames are the better choice if you’re more concerned with overall strength. This is why many southern homes that are more at risk for hurricanes rely on aluminum frames.

If a home has very large windows, aluminum frames are typically used. The structure of aluminum frames makes them better equipped for handling larger windows and adding extra strength to smaller ones.

There are impact-resistant vinyl windows available but at a higher price point. If the main concern is protection against impact or securing larger windows, aluminum is the ideal chime.

Vinyl & Aluminum Don't Require Maintenance

Both vinyl and aluminum are materials that don’t require any maintenance once installed. You can clean windows based on your own preferences, but they won’t require any additional care from you.

Once windows are properly installed and secured to make sure they are airtight, they will insulate your home without a problem. Vinyl is made of a strong plastic material that is durable, and aluminum frames coated with enamel are also strong and won't require care.

Vinyl Never Requires Repainting

When looking for new windows and replacing existing windows, it’s always a good idea to select a look that you like. Choosing a color and finish that matches your home’s style will ensure that you will be satisfied with the result.

But depending on the material you choose, you may have to repaint your windows.

Vinyl is the same color throughout, so there is rarely a need to repaint it after it’s been installed. Actually, because of this, repainting the windows may void their warranty.

Meanwhile, scratched and chipped aluminum window frames can be re-painted if necessary. However, it can be difficult to match the original finish - expect the windows to look slightly different after re-painting.

Aluminum Is More Expensive Than Vinyl

There’s a reason why the global vinyl market is expected to reach 211.5 million units by 2026 - it’s one of the most cost-effective options. Vinyl is one of the least expensive options for window frames. The material is much less than aluminum.

Window installation can cost thousands of dollars before even factoring in the cost of the material. For many homeowners, vinyl is the best choice for their price range.

But choosing the more expensive option of aluminum could add potential resale value to your home. It’s a smart idea to look at houses in your area and see if certain window features impact their value.

And of course, the material chosen will also determine cost. Luxury vinyl frames will cost more and may end up becoming similar to the cost of aluminum frames. Costs are always relative to the material you choose and the size of your windows.

Vinyl & Aluminum Insulate Well

You may think that aluminum windows don't insulate as well as vinyl because they're made of metal. While aluminum is a natural conductor, the material doesn't play much of a role in maintaining temperatures.

Breezes, drafts, and summer heat are conditions that have little to do with the energy type you choose. They depend on the Energy Star Ratings and NFRC ratings of a window. Energy Star Ratings certify that window has met a certain energy efficiency standard.

Both vinyl and aluminum will also insulate well if they were properly installed. So long as your installation team does the job properly, even rooms with many windows will have a steady temperature.

Choosing Between Vinyl & Aluminum Windows

When it comes to replacing the windows in your home, it’s always a wise idea to consider the differences between popular choices.

Aluminum and vinyl windows both have their merits, but the material you choose to use will ultimately depend on your needs and preferences.

To learn more about window installation and replacement, we welcome you to look at our other blog posts. You can also use our site to get three free, no-obligation quotes in 60 seconds.

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