Making sure you have good, high quality windows is one of the best investments you can make in your home. Good windows will protect your home from the elements, keep your home comfortable, and help keep your heating and cooling bills to a minimum. There are lots of different types of windows available -- vinyl, wood, aluminum, fiberglass -- and not all windows perform equally. When the time comes for you to replace the windows in your home, you’ll want to make sure you’re choosing the right type. But which windows are the best type for you?
Since most people do not have unlimited budgets to work with for their home improvement projects, affordability is a big factor homeowners have to consider when looking for new windows. It’s very important to get the best quality for the most affordable price. Vinyl replacement windows and aluminum windows are both known for being some of the more budget-friendly window options on the market, but how do they compare?
In terms of energy efficiency, vinyl windows definitely have the edge over aluminum windows. Since aluminum is a type of metal, it conducts heat better than vinyl does. Not only does this make them less energy efficient, it also makes them more prone to causing condensation to form on and around your windows. Aluminum windows can come with thermal breaks to help make them more energy efficient, but these can drive up the cost of the windows.
Both vinyl and aluminum windows are very low maintenance when compared to wood windows, but vinyl windows still come out ahead when compared to aluminum. If you live in a very humid area, near a body of water, or are planning to put the window in a room that typically has a lot of moisture in the air, such as a kitchen or bathroom, you won’t have to worry about a vinyl window starting to rust. Aluminum windows can be painted with an anti-corrosion paint, but vinyl windows don’t need to be painted at all. If the paint becomes chipped on an aluminum window, the metal will be visible and the paint will need to be touched up. Aluminum windows also occasionally need to be treated with a lubricant to make sure they stay easy to open.
Many homeowners prefer the look of vinyl windows because they feel like aluminum windows can look a little too utilitarian for the home. Aluminum windows can be painted to any color you like, but vinyl windows also come in a variety of colors, including wood finishes. Although aluminum windows can have a treatment applied to them to emulate the look of wood, many people believe the faux wood finishes available for vinyl windows have a more convincing look.
Vinyl and aluminum windows are both known for their affordability, but vinyl windows tend to offer the best value in the long term. Since vinyl is a better insulator than aluminum, vinyl replacement windows will help you save more money on your heating and cooling bills. Any added features that would help make an aluminum window more energy efficient will also make the window more expensive overall.