Your aluminum windows may have worked adequately for a time, but eventually, they will wear out or become damaged, compromising your home’s security and insulation properties.
When it’s time to transform your greater Los Angeles or San Diego home with new windows, it can feel overwhelming. Where do you start? Begin by educating yourself on one of the most popular replacement materials for your aluminum windows: vinyl.
Windows are a wise investment that you can enjoy for years to come, and they can increase your home’s resale value. Let’s look at how aluminum window frames stack up against vinyl so you can discover the best option for your long-term needs.
Aluminum vs. Vinyl Windows
While both aluminum and vinyl windows are more durable, less expensive, and lower maintenance than wood, each material has its strengths.
Both aluminum and vinyl frames will boost your home’s security, giving you peace of mind your property is well protected. And both will help decrease street noise infiltration, providing a more peaceful atmosphere in your dwelling. Here’s how they differ:
Aluminum windows—This window material looks quite different from vinyl windows because they are so thin. They offer a contemporary curb appeal homeowners enjoy.
Vinyl windows—Able to mimic the look of wood, vinyl window frames come in a variety of colors and finishes and look great on homes, creating eye-catching curb appeal from traditional to modern.
Aluminum windows—These tend to conduct heat and cold, so they are less energy efficient than vinyl.
Vinyl windows—Choose ENERGY STAR-qualified windows to get maximum energy efficiency out of your window replacements. Vinyl minimizes heat transfer, providing better insulation than aluminum windows, saving you on utility bills throughout the years.
Aluminum windows—These frames are prone to condensation, leading to unsightly rust or unhealthy mold. Aluminum frames should be cleaned regularly with a special aluminum cleaner. They can be repainted or recoated to refresh their look, but it’s tough to match their original finish exactly.
Vinyl windows— Vinyl windows are essentially maintenance-free. You may have heard the phrase, “When it’s vinyl, it’s final.” The beauty of vinyl windows is that once they are manufactured, they never need to be repainted. In fact, repainting vinyl windows could void their warranty (so make sure you choose a color you will love!).
Window size options
Aluminum windows—When a home has super large windows, aluminum frames may be a good choice. Their sturdy structure makes them better equipped for handling larger amounts of glass.
Vinyl windows—Vinyl windows come in a variety of sizes, yet aren’t known for being used with oversized windows.
Aluminum windows—Aluminum windows come in single- or double-hung, single- or multi-pane, and in a variety of colors or finishes. But aluminum windows can be a bit thinner than vinyl and don’t come in the diverse options vinyl windows come in (like wood-grain texture without wood’s high maintenance!). Thin aluminum window frames are finished in a smooth or textured, powder-coated enamel that is baked on in a factory.
Vinyl windows—Vinyl windows come in a wide variety of styles including single-hung, double-hung, bay, bow, picture, specialty, casement, sliders, awning, and more. Vinyl windows come not only in classic white and black (and many other colors) but also in wood-grain texture—giving you the warm and classic look of wood with vinyl’s low maintenance. Vinyl windows offer a more substantial range of aesthetic and design options in their wide variety of styles, sizes, colors, and finishes.
Aluminum windows—Aluminum frames are stronger overall (making them a favorite in hurricane-prone areas). Yet, thin aluminum window frames are more prone to unsightly dents, corrosion, and fading. They tend to change colors and corrode. Salty air can be particularly harsh on aluminum frames, causing their steel or zinc fasteners to corrode. Their enamel can tend to fade in the sunlight, unlike vinyl—which keeps its color.
Vinyl windows—Vinyl window frames are resistant to scratching, cracking, and marring. They are extra durable against dents and chips. Vinyl frames are made of the same material throughout (unlike aluminum frames which are coated), so in the unlikely event that they did get damaged, it wouldn’t show like aluminum frames would (exposing the metal under the coating).
Your overall cost for replacement windows will be impacted by the number of windows you need, the size and shape of your windows (including specialty shapes), the frame material you choose (aluminum, vinyl, fiberglass), the number of windowpanes (double are popular), and the type of window styles you prefer (casement, double hung, slider…).
Aluminum windows—Aluminum windows are more costly than vinyl windows, so do some research on how that impacts your return on investment (ROI) when it comes time to sell your home. Find out how aluminum frames impact the value of homes in your area so you can make an informed decision on frame material choice.
Vinyl windows—Less expensive than aluminum windows, and known as one of the most cost-effective options, vinyl windows are popular throughout the nation.
Trusted Window Replacement
In order to get the most out of your windows, it’s vital that you have them installed by a reputable company (like us!). Unsure of where to start with your replacement window project? Check out our Window Replacement Buying Guide.
Transform Your California Home with New Windows
If it’s hard to open or close your old, worn-out windows, or it’s drafty in your home near the windows, it’s time for window replacement.
As an Andersen Window Certified Contractor, our team is trained in the highest industry standards in window installation. We’ve mastered the manufacturer’s best practices so you enjoy optimal results for years to come! Take a moment to learn how our window services can bring year-round comfort and exceptional beauty to your Los Angeles or San Diego home.