14 Critical Considerations When Replacing Aluminum Windows

July 12, 2010

If you're wondering whether or not to replace your aluminum windows, and if so, what residential replacement window options might be best, the following list may facilitate your decision-making:

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Why Replace Aluminum Windows?

  1. They're not the most energy-efficient window type, as the frames transmit heat and cold.
  2. They sometimes look cheap, compared to today's other contemporary window options.
  3. Old aluminum window frames usually require more upkeep than modern window frames.

Are New Aluminum Windows the Solution?

  1. Today's aluminum window frames often have thermal breaks or insulation, warm edge spacers, and other features that greatly reduce thermal transfer. Look for ENERGY STAR models for tax rebates.
  2. Today's replacement aluminum windows come in double and triple panes which can be air or gas filled, depending on the needs of your climate.
  3. Aluminum can be used as a weather-resistant cladding over thermal resistant wood frames. The exterior isn't subject to rot and pests, while your home's interior has the warmth of real wood.
  4. Frame construction features that make new aluminum windows weather-tight and low-maintenance give a higher quality look, because they are indeed higher quality.
  5. Baked on colors are available in higher quality aluminum frames, almost eliminating repainting.
  6. Because of aluminum's strength, aluminum frames can have a smaller profile that complements contemporary architecture or southwestern pueblo-style architecture.

Other Replacement Windows to Consider

  1. If you really need a low-cost residential replacement window, an uninsulated vinyl (PVC) window with air-filled double pane glass might be an upgrade from what you have now. Vinyl is inherently more thermal resistant than aluminum, and double-pane glass is a big improvement over single-pane glass in terms of comfort and energy efficiency. Look for tight-fitting joints and other signs of careful construction.
  2. Vinyl windows with insulated frames are a big step up from hollow frame vinyl windows. Double or more panes are available, as are ENERGY STAR tax rebates for well-constructed vinyl windows.
  3. Just as wood windows may have an aluminum cladding, many have a vinyl cladding. Besides the advantages of a weatherproof exterior and the richness of wood inside, there is a huge selection of colors to choose from, as vinyl and vinyl-clad windows make up the lion's share of today's residential replacement window market.
  4. The color you choose goes all the way through the vinyl. No painting!
  5. Fiberglass windows are top-rated. They are many times stronger than aluminum or vinyl and are maintenance-free.

So make your choice for replacement windows, and don't be afraid to keep aluminum windows in the mix.

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