Styling with strong, affordable aluminum windows
July 08, 2011
It's possible to avoid spending a bundle when you replace the windows in your home. Aluminum windows offer an affordable solution for homeowners to keep the cost of replacement windows within a reasonable budget.
Aluminum windows are preferred by many architects because their stiff metal frames allow for larger expanses of glass than vinyl and other types of windows. In many parts of the country they are the preferred style for semi-custom and even high-end custom homes because of their cost savings over wood windows. Aluminum windows are also found in light commercial buildings throughout the U.S. because they offer greater strength-to-weight ratio, meaning the window panes can be larger and the frames thinner than with other materials.
Energy-efficiency versus cost
You can purchase aluminum windows, like other window frame materials, with a variety of energy-efficient window pane styles. However, options such as double-glazed, triple panes or argon gas-filled windows can significantly increase your replacement windows cost. Because aluminum is well-known as a conductor of heat and cold, higher-end thermalized windows feature aluminum frames insulated with polyurethane, or other materials to minimize this effect, known as "thermal break" in the window industry. Insulated aluminum window panes and frames can reduce heat loss by as much as 38 percent over non-insulated windows.
Consider your climate
In some climates, vinyl or wood windows might be a better choice. If you live in a climate that has very hot summers, such as Arizona, or extremely wet and rainy winters, such as Washington, the aluminum frames can transfer outside temperatures and moisture to your home. Another consideration for coastal regions: the salt air from the sea can corrode the movable metal parts. However, many manufacturers offer aluminum windows with stainless steel hardware to minimize corrosion.
Color choices and window styles
Aluminum windows often come with standard white frames, but manufacturers also sell them in a variety of colors, such as brown, green, beige or black. The colors usually are a baked-on enamel finish that can be repainted as needed. They are available in a wide variety of styles, such as these five:
- Picture windows
New aluminum windows have advanced considerably from the models you may be replacing. They offer an excellent option for replacement windows, cost less than most other options and might be just what you need for that great expanse of unobstructed view.