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Aluminum Windows - Pros and Cons

In years past, aluminum windows were the top choice. Even, with vinyl windows taking over the number one spot, aluminum windows are still one of the more popular replacement window selections. As with any window type, whether aluminum, steel, vinyl, wood, fiberglass or composite, there will be plusses and minus, and pros and cons to each.

What are some of the pros of aluminum windows? Why would you choose them over other replacement window types? Let's look at the pros first and then the cons of each with the use of a list. This is a preliminary list of the beneficial characteristics of aluminum windows. They...

  • are readily available
  • come in numerous sizes
  • are appropriate for historic architecture
  • can be manufactured in self-contained units
  • are lightweight
  • have superior durability
  • offer increased home value
  • are cost-effective
  • can improve insulation

Pros and Cons of Price

At first look, the cons of aluminum replacement windows seem outweigh the pros of vinyl windows in the cost department. But a closer look shows that though vinyl windows are generally thought to be less costly than aluminum replacement windows, if they require cladding or capping their cost difference changes radically. Often vinyl windows do need cladding. Cladding is a form of protection that keeps the window frame from deteriorating and helps prevent leaking, swelling or rotting caused by rain, sun and wind.

While adding cladding or capping to a vinyl window's casing or frame increases its life and energy efficiency it also raises the price. When adding cladding into the cost, aluminum and vinyl windows price out about the same.

Added features, such as cladding can also affect the ease of installation. So when considering the overall price of your aluminum vs. vinyl windows, it's smart to assess installation as well.

A pro of wood windows and a con of aluminum or even steel windows is wood's superior insulating and energy efficient properties. Again, this is where cladding can come to the rescue and turn an aluminum con into a pro.

Those liking the look of metal type windows may want to rank the pros and cons of steel windows as compared with aluminum. The pros of aluminum compared with steel are that it is much lighter in weight. This makes installation easier and less costly. Also, steel windows have a density that can result in higher shipping costs than aluminum. The good news about aluminum replacement windows is that they provide the look of steel without many of the cons or drawbacks.

Taking into account the quality, styles, number of windows and size will automatically affect your aluminum windows' price tag.

Pros and Cons - Sound Abatement

Wood windows with their excellent density are top choices when noise is an issue. Aluminum, without cladding is still superior to vinyl windows at reducing and insulating against unwanted sound. City dwellers and those affected by excessive noise may help solve the noise problem by cladding their aluminum framed windows and also selecting double paned or glass block type windows.

Energy Efficient - Yes or No?

The cons of aluminum windows when compared to vinyl or wood challenge them with respect to energy efficiency. However, advancements in window design have gone along way to resolving this matter. The key is to install well-made aluminum windows fabricated with what are called "thermal breaks". Thermal breaks are devised to separate the interior and exterior surfaces of the window and act to increases the window's insulation and therefore energy efficiency.

Durability Pros and Cons

It makes sense that metal types window frames like aluminum will be more durable and last years longer than vinyl or plastic. For instance, vinyl or PVC plastic windows have a reputation for (especially cheaply made) of yellowing with age. And with respect to wood windows, it is also probable that rust-free aluminum will survive the longest.

Indeed, if you live in a climate with severe weather, aluminum may be an excellent candidate over other window types. Also, aluminum's light weight can make installation easier than wood or steel which insures that your aluminum windows last longer. Improper installation can result is damage not only to your windows but quite possibly your home.


A very important pro of aluminum is that it is 100% recyclable. The procedure of reusing melted scrap aluminum takes only 5% of the energy that it would to remove aluminum from ore and cuts the cost significantly. Additionally, up to 15% of that virgin aluminum material is lost or wasted in process. Environmentally conscious aluminum windows allow you to not only save money and energy but also help Mother Earth.

Despite the con of aluminum window's reduced energy efficiency, they more than make up for it in the recycling department. When compared with environmentally questionable vinyl (PVC) or non-sustainable wood, they rank very high.


Many prefer the look of aluminum as is, but if your home requires a particular color or texture, aluminum windows are manufactured in an assortment of pre-painted colors and styles. Another pro of aluminum windows vs. a con of vinyl is that they can be painted to suit your particular tastes and needs.

Aluminum Windows Guide

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