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Upgrading Your Home: Vinyl or Aluminum Windows, Which is Better?

If you’re looking for new windows for your home, there are plenty of options from frame materials, types of glass, Low-E coatings, and styles. But what one of the questions we get most frequently is: aluminum vs. vinyl windows, which one is better?

There are countless factors involved when determining which is better between the two, such as appearance, durability, energy efficiency, and cost. We’ll break them down, take a look at their similarities and differences, and give you good, well-rounded insight into which window might be best for you and your home.

Aluminum Windows

Aluminum windows are traditionally a popular choice for a variety of reasons. They can give a home a sleek and modern appeal, are relatively durable and last for 30+ years. They’re a great choice for homeowners looking to do a major upgrade to their home. However, vinyl edges out in several areas.

What are the advantages of a vinyl framed window?

Vinyl windows are a popular choice primarily because they’re less expensive and more economical to install. Sure, they have some great advantages such as being more durable and energy-efficient than their aluminum counterparts, but aluminum gives them some solid competition.

Which has the better appearance?

Curb appeal is a significant consideration for many homeowners. Plus, a beautiful facade can sell a home quicker and for more money. Windows are a great way to upgrade the appearance of your home, both inside and out. But which type of window is going to make your home stand out?

Both types of windows look great, but regarding which frame looks better, it depends on what kind of look you’re going for.

Aluminum Framed Windows Look Sleek and Modern

Aluminum is a thinner frame, so more of the glass is visible. Of the two, it’s more of a modern and chic appearance. Sure, you can get both frames in a plethora of colors, but if you’ve seen the way black aluminum looks, you’ll know exactly what we mean by modern. It’s exquisite and beautiful.

Vinyl Windows have Thicker Frames than Aluminum

However, vinyl frames are thicker for a different look altogether and can show faux wood grains if that’s the look you’re trying to achieve. Vinyl is typically the best alternative to wood frames. These windows can give you more of a classical feel, perhaps a bit of a farmhouse vibe. If you’re going for a traditional look and feel to your home, then vinyl is the way to go.

As you can see, neither are superior to the other. Both look great, but what matters is what do you think looks good?

Which window is more durable?

While both frames are pretty durable, you’ll notice that vinyl typically has some better qualities than aluminum. Both are substantially more durable than wooden window frames.

For starters, aluminum may get dented, or the paint may chip away, making the windows unsightly. Vinyl is a little more resistant to this. For example, if you bump a ladder into the aluminum frame of a window while you’re installing Christmas lights, you might notice that ding more.

Additionally, aluminum may fade and is susceptible to corrosion, whereas vinyl will not. Over time you may need to throw a coat of paint or enamel on your aluminum windows, but vinyl will continue to hold its color and appearance for years to come.

It seems like vinyl is the more durable, right?

However, overall, aluminum is a more robust material than vinyl, making it more impact-resistant than vinyl. This is more of a concern in hurricane-prone areas like Corpus Christi or any homes that need impact-resistant windows.

How much wear and tear do you think you’ll put on your windows? That might determine whether you value the durability of one over the other.

Which offers better energy efficiency?

With energy costs what they are, everyone is trying to save energy and therefore save on their energy bills. New windows are a great way to do that, but which one should you get? Which of the two are more energy efficient?

Without a doubt, vinyl is much more energy-efficient than aluminum windows on the most basic level. Vinyl has better insulating properties than aluminum which keeps the outside temperatures from transferring into your home. Additionally, the insulating properties lend themselves to better soundproofing and give the vinyl windows a better STC rating than aluminum.

That’s not to say you cannot upgrade your aluminum windows. There are glazes you can add to your aluminum windows that are just as energy-efficient, but they’re relatively expensive. This will be a viable option if you’re going for the modern design that aluminum offers, but looking for the energy efficiency that vinyl provides – the cost isn’t a significant factor.

So if you’re looking for a fast track to saving energy in your household – and ultimately saving on those pesky energy bills – then vinyl windows are the better choice.

Is vinyl or aluminum more expensive?

We’re not made of money, so the cost to install windows is often the primary consideration for most homeowners. It’s a considerable investment that isn’t taken lightly, and windows aren’t cheap, so getting the best price should be a priority.

Upfront, vinyl windows are less expensive than aluminum windows. In general, you can expect to pay about 30% less for the former than the latter. And, as mentioned, aluminum can get even pricier with energy-efficient upgrades.

If the cost of the window is your driving factor, then vinyl is hands down the winner. This is probably why they’re generally more popular than the competition.

Although the cost of installing new windows throughout your home is a significant investment, with the energy savings, extending the life of your windows, and the overall value added to your home, it’s worth it.

In the end, it’s a matter of personal preference. If you’re looking for a more modern feel and appearance, go with aluminum windows. But if you’re really into saving money, go with the vinyl option as they have better energy efficiency, they’re durable, and they cost much less.

Hopefully, you have enough information to make an educated decision for your purchase. However, if you have more questions, we’re always here to answer your questions; give us a call!