Compare Vinyl And Aluminum Windows


Compare Vinyl And Aluminum Windows

Considering vinyl and aluminum windows for your replacement project? Compare these window frames in terms of durability and strength, looks and style, ratings and energy efficiency, and pricing and overall value.

Durability And Strength

When it comes to durability and strength, aluminum windows are the clear winner. Vinyl and fiberglass are strong, aluminum is by far the strongest and most durable frame on the market. It's the reason that aluminum windows are used for most commerical buildings. However, a well made vinyl window has more than enough strength for almost any home. The one place where aluminum should be considered over a vinyl window is in very hot climates in the south where the durability of aluminum will hold up better over time.

Looks And Style

When it comes to looks and style, vinyl windows are not known for their aesthetic qualities, which is not to say they are bad looking. They simply don't stand out like a wood window - and to some extent an aluminum one. Aluminum frames tend to be much thinner because the material is so strong, which provides more glass and viewing area. These frames also look more modern and sleek - they fit the style of commercial buildings well, although not always as well with residential homes.

Ratings And Energy Efficiency

When it comes to ratings and energy efficiency, vinyl windows will beat out aluminum windows everytime. In fact, contractors would prefer the performance numbers of a well made vinyl window almost any other option out there (cheaply made vinyl windows will have mediocre energy efficiency at best).

Pricing And Overall Value

When it comes to pricing and overall value, the typical price range for vinyl windows with installation is $200 to $750, while aluminum windows with installation is $600 to $1,100 - a pretty big difference if you are replacing 25 windows. The average cost of a vinyl window is $425 completely installed, while an aluminum window is $750 completely installed - this is a roughly 76% price difference. For overall value, a well made vinyl or aluminum window with a thorough install will provide excellent long term value.

Bottom Line

When comparing vinyl and aluminum windows, it all comes down to location. There are excellent options in each category, but aluminum windows are really only appropriate in hot climates. They perform poorly in cold or mild climates. Check out our best vinyl window brands for our top picks.

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