From choosing the right material for your windows to having them installed right, every decision on a home can be cumbersome. Vinyl and aluminum have emerged as the top choices for windows and doors, but how do you know what’s best for your home? This comprehensive guide will help you understand the difference between installing vinyl windows and aluminum windows. We’ll go over the pros and cons of these windows and help you make the right decision.
What are Vinyl Windows?
Vinyl windows are the most recent trend in home interiors. They are made of plastic material, PVC, and were first developed in the 1970s. Initially, vinyl windows were only made in white and were created to compete against wooden windows. But now, you’ll find vinyl windows in all colors that suit your home interiors and exteriors. Affordability is the key reason behind the growing popularity of vinyl windows.
What are Aluminum Windows?
If you are looking for lightweight, durable, strong, and custom-shaped windows, aluminum windows are your go-to. They require minimal maintenance, but the cost is relatively higher than that of vinyl windows.
For homeowners who are looking for options for replacement windows, both vinyl windows and aluminum windows are great choices. While they are both durable, lower maintenance, and cheaper than wood, there are some key distinguishing factors for consideration.
Differences Between Aluminum and Vinyl Windows
When you’re ready to replace your home’s windows, it is crucial to find the right window material for your needs. Let’s discuss the differences between these two window materials:
Appearance and Style
Whether you are looking for single-hung windows or double-hung, vinyl and aluminum window frames both score well in appearance and style. In terms of thickness though, vinyl frames are thicker than the latter. Vinyl is a great choice of replacement for wooden windows. You can choose from smooth, textured, or faux wood finishes. Aluminum frames on the other hand look sleek and modern in appearance.
The Durability of Window Frames
While both aluminum and vinyl frames are resistant to scratching, cracking, and marring, we would still say that vinyl frames are more durable, especially when it comes to dents and chips. Aluminum frames are prone to dents, corrosion, and fading as well. If you are living in a coastal town, we would recommend you opt for vinyl windows.
For homes with larger windows, it’s best to have aluminum windows for strength and structural integrity. Both vinyl and aluminum windows are impact-resistant, but such vinyl windows can be 20-30% more expensive.
With vinyl windows, you don’t have to worry about maintenance. You may need to consider caulking vinyl windows to prevent airflow. But with aluminum windows, are prone to condensation and can have rust or mold. This must be frequently maintained with a special aluminum cleaner solution. Undue wear and tear are one of the key disadvantages of installing metal frames like these.
If you are looking for replacement windows that help with energy efficiency, we would recommend you opt for vinyl windows. They reduce heat transfer. With aluminum windows, you’ll find ‘thermally approved’ options too. A fun fact about them is that the insulation within the frame is made of vinyl. With ENERGY STAR-qualified windows, you’ll be able to reduce the bill by at least 12% annually. Aluminum is a heat conductor, and this can result in more heat penetrating through the windows.
Vinyl vs Aluminum Windows: Cost implications
In comparison to aluminum windows, vinyl window frames are more affordable. You’ll find a variance of at least 30% between the two window types.
Aluminum vs Vinyl Windows: Noise insulation
If your priority is to stop the noise, especially if you are living in a busy street, aluminum windows are your best bet. Due to less mass, vinyl windows do not insulate well. Aluminum windows don’t block out all noise, but they are relatively a better choice than vinyl windows in such instances.
Window Materials: Environmental Concerns
Vinyl windows are made from PVC and are non-biodegradable. During the production of these windows, harmful gases are released into the environment. As for aluminum windows, one of the key positives is that they can be recycled. Most replacement aluminum windows are either reused or recycled. While aluminum windows are eco-friendly, they are not your best choice for energy efficiency.
The Resale Value of Your Home
With the installation of vinyl windows, you are contributing an increase of 74% to your return on investment. Whereas aluminum windows only give you a 60 to 80% return on investment, depending on the kind you choose to install for your home.
Aluminum Windows vs Vinyl: Installation
Whether you are planning to install aluminum windows or vinyl, it’s always best to seek professional window installation services. Installation of vinyl windows is easier than that of aluminum windows. Vinyl windows contract and expand easily. With aluminum window installation, you must be extra attentive. Slight measurement changes can lead to installation issues and these windows may not be secured in place.
Pros of Installing Aluminum Windows
Aluminum windows are usually preferred for business and commercial structures. They add a sleek look to the overall exteriors of the structure with an industrial look. Here are some of the pros of installing aluminum windows:
- With proper care and maintenance, aluminum windows have a longer lifespan that can range anywhere between 40 – 50 years. They are incredibly strong and don’t degrade over a period of time.
- There are energy-efficient aluminum window options that are now available in the market. With better insulation, you can prevent cold and heat transfer into your home.
- As aluminum windows are stronger and more durable with structural advantages, they are considered to be the best choice for the safety and security of your home.
- Aluminum windows are available in different finishes and colors. They can also be customized to your needs. If you love having windows with larger glass panes, aluminum windows must be your choice.
Pros of Installing Vinyl Windows
- First and foremost, let’s talk about cost. If you are looking for an affordable option, vinyl windows are a cost-effective solution that results in long-term savings.
- Energy efficiency is higher in vinyl windows than that of aluminum windows. While there are a few options available in aluminum windows that are energy efficient, they can work out to be more expensive.
- Vinyl windows have a traditional appearance. It is not customizable but is a perfect replacement option for wooden windows.
- Vinyl windows require minimal upkeep and maintenance, in comparison to aluminum windows.
What is the best window material in Florida?
The best window material in Florida depends on your specific priorities. Vinyl windows are known for energy efficiency and resistance to corrosion, making them a popular choice. However, aluminum windows are more durable and less prone to warping.
Do vinyl windows warp in Florida?
Vinyl windows can warp in Florida’s extreme heat, especially if they are of lower quality. High-quality vinyl windows with UV stabilizers are less likely to warp, but it’s essential to choose windows designed for hot climates.
Are vinyl windows good in extreme heat?
Vinyl windows can perform well in extreme heat if they are manufactured with materials and coatings designed to withstand high temperatures. Look for windows with UV-resistant coatings and reinforced frames for better performance in hot climates.
What are the best windows for Florida homes?
The best windows for Florida homes are often impact-resistant windows, such as those made from laminated glass or hurricane-rated windows. These windows are available with vinyl or aluminum frames.
Are vinyl windows good for hurricanes?
Vinyl windows can be suitable for hurricane-prone areas in Florida if they are impact-resistant and meet the state’s building codes and regulations for hurricane protection. However, other options like aluminum or fiberglass windows may also be considered for their durability in such conditions.
What type of windows are required in Florida?
Florida has specific building codes and regulations for windows in hurricane-prone areas. These regulations typically require impact-resistant windows or the installation of hurricane shutters or panels to protect against wind and debris during hurricanes and tropical storms. Compliance with these codes is essential to ensure the safety and resilience of homes in the state.
Now that you have an understanding of vinyl vs aluminum windows in Florida, the choice of what fits your home best is ultimately yours. Vinyl windows are inexpensive, durable, and very low maintenance. Whereas aluminum windows are all about structural strength and security. Remember, installing the right type of windows for your home will add value in the years to come. Both of these windows have their own pros and cons. Confused? Ask our expert for guidance we’ll help you make the right window choice for your home. We’ll provide you with quotes, material options, guidance, warranty details, and any information you’ll need.