Aluminum and vinyl are currently the two main choices for window material for new building windows. This article about the differences between aluminum and vinyl windows compares and points out some important features of these two windows. 

Virtually infinite color, finish, design, and material options are available to help you find the best look for your house. Wooden windows, usually seen in older homes, are generally not as common as more energy-efficient modern technology windows and windows currently on the market.

There are both advantages and drawbacks to aluminum windows and vinyl windows. Understanding the benefits of each brand can help buy new windows. We have mentioned some differences between aluminum and vinyl windows but let’s begin with the introduction.

Aluminum Windows

Aluminum is obtained from one of the most abundant elements on the Earth’s surface after oxygen and silicon. It is extracted from the mineral known as bauxite.

Compared to other window fabrications, aluminum windows provide many benefits. The top-selling point is that it is possible to build extremely narrow aluminum frames. Narrow frames are ideal because they can eliminate the window design’s focus on the glass.

Aluminum windows are suitable for various architectural styles. They are especially ideal for use in modern design and construction projects in a contemporary style. They also look good in traditional-style houses.

It is much lighter than copper and steel but at the same time resistant to water and certain chemicals, strengthening the vulnerability.

Vinyl Windows

Vinyl Windows are windows constructed from PVC, a plastic material. Vinyl windows were produced to compete against more costly wood windows in the 1970s. Vinyl windows now account for about the same market share as wood windows, considering their relative youth.

Thanks to an initial uniformity of craftsmanship, most individuals can identify vinyl windows; they are white windows made of a plastic material. Vinyl windows have already existed in colors other than white in the last two decades.

Aluminum VS Vinyl Windows

Here are some additional helpful details to help you make the right choice before purchasing your new windows. Have a look at 10 differences between Aluminum vs Vinyl Windows:

differences between aluminum and vinyl windows

Particulars Aluminum Vinyl

Appearance

Versatile, stylish, and modern It typically comes in plain white and is good at replicating the texture of wood

Durability

Durable in areas of storm Unless enhanced with impact-resistant glass, non-storm-resistant

Life

30+ years 20-40 years

Cost

Casement: 650-850 dollars. Sliding: 800-1,200 dollars. Awning: 450-600 dollars. (Not including installation costs.) Casement: 500-675 dollars. Sliding: $575-775 dollars. Awning: 375 dollars. (Not including installation costs.)

Maintenance

Needs special cleaner Low

Strength

Strong Not as strong unless strengthened

Insulation

Good Excellent

Noise

Quiet Doesn’t block noise well

Popularity

Incredibly popular for commercial buildings Very common in-home construction.

Brands 

Atrium, Crystal, Marlin, Milgard, Pella American Craftsman, Andersen, Jels-Wen, Kolbe, Pella, Ply Gem, Simonton

 

Differences Between Aluminum And Vinyl Windows

Learn more about the characteristics and features to explore differences between aluminum and vinyl windows. It might help to clear confusion and go for the appropriate one.

1. Installation

Considering the DIY, vinyl windows are easy to install, but aluminum installation is difficult and precise. But the right option is to call for professionals to avoid errors that reduce the window’s benefits.

Vinyl windows can contract and expand and are manageable during installation, and are easier to work with. On the other hand, aluminum windows can give you pain in the head if it’s off, even by a fraction of an inch. 

differences between aluminum and vinyl windows
source: extpros.com

In this difference between aluminum and vinyl windows, the time taken to install vinyl windows is comparatively faster and easier. And a layman could also give it a try. But aluminum windows are time-consuming, tiresome, and nonflexible.

2. Lifespan 

Aluminum windows have a longer lifetime and are designed to last longer. You can get anywhere from 40-50 years from your windows if properly cared for and maintained. They are tightly crafted and extremely robust.

Compare this to wood windows that are approximately 10-15 years before maintenance or repair is needed. Plus, they don’t degrade.

On average, vinyl windows last between 20-40 years. Their life expectancy depends on the climate and conditions. For instance, if your windows are exposed to harsh sunlight for extended periods, the vinyl will break down faster, and their lifespan will be closer to 20 years. Windows that are in a shady area will have a longer lifespan.

3. Durability 

Aluminum windows are highly durable, even in the hottest or coldest conditions, and do not bend or twist, which is why many homeowners choose them. Even in high temperatures, the edges do not warp, contract, or extend. 

Since vinyl is a flexible material, the windows cannot control drastic temperature changes and will warp. This can also leave the vinyl stretched with a blurred appearance which is unpleasant.

Also, with vinyl windows, corrosion is not a problem. Durability can be regarded as one of the major differences between aluminum and vinyl windows.

4. Energy Efficiency

Among all the above points, this can be considered the major differences between aluminum and vinyl windows, where vinyl windows have the upper hand. Today’s vinyl windows on the market are energy-efficient and offer the cost savings you expect when you invest in new windows.

Vinyl is energy-efficient because it decreases heat transfer and limits light penetration that shines through the window. Vinyl windows help control the home’s internal temperature, making it possible for the HVAC system to run less effectively.

Aluminum is a heat conductor and heats a room. It allows heat to enter through the windows, where the HVAC system has to work harder to keep the room cool. If the room’s temperature is cooler than the outside, rust and mold occur due to condensation.

Vinyl windows keep heat in during winter and out during summer. This reduces heating and air conditioning usage for lower energy bills. Aluminum windows that can combat the condensation problem are available on the market and are made of vinyl.

5. Maintenance 

Aluminum requires some care, particularly when it comes to the track and the window runners. It would help if you cleaned them out periodically, or you may find it almost impossible for your windows to open and close.

Since they are susceptible to condensation, which can lead to rust or mold, aluminum should be cleaned, rinsed, and semi-regularly dried with a special aluminum cleaner. To avoid undue wear and tear on the metal mechanisms, be proactive in lubricating the moving parts.

Vinyl windows are close to 100 percent scratch resistant. You don’t have to paint, scrape or stain them because they are permanent in every way. They can also easily be cleaned with soap and water. They don’t age as fast as many other windows because they can resist many of the elements.

6. Eco-friendliness 

Aluminum is eco-friendly because we can recycle it. Such windows are often removed from homes and recycled or reused afterward. Aluminum is not energy-efficient at the same time; it is environmentally friendly. It does not release any toxic chemicals when exposed to fire and is degradable.

differences between aluminum and vinyl windows
source: reliableskiphireportsmouth.com

Vinyl windows are made from PVC, which is not biodegradable. There is debate about whether harmful gases are emitted during and after the windows’ processing. These differences between aluminum and vinyl windows explain the eco-friendly feature of these two windows.

7. Cost

For both buying and installing, vinyl is the least costly. A 48-inch vinyl window would cost between $520 and $730, each costing about $250 for installation. Depending on the manufacturer, quality, and additional features, the cost varies. They cost almost 30 -60% less than aluminum windows.

Aluminum windows might come at a cost but are more secure, stronger, and have a longer life span than vinyl windows. The price might be high upfront but is much more cost-effective due to the durability of windows.

These differences between aluminum and vinyl windows show the cost-effectiveness, where one is less costly and durable, and the other is stronger, more durable, and costly. 

8. Weather 

Aluminum is not affected by moisture and shrinkage or swelling due to accidental sun exposure or weather changes. The anodized or painted finish on aluminum is virtually permanent. The electrochemical process that converts metal surfaces to a decorative and durable finish is called anodized.

On the other hand, vinyl windows can fade and discolor in extreme weather conditions. Depending on its nature, the appropriate weather condition would only prove to be the right option.

9. Color

Aluminum and vinyl windows both provide the various style you want, such as single-pane and multi-pane. Talking about design potential, there are few differences between aluminum and vinyl windows.

Aluminum windows offer a wide range of colors and recreate an artistic rendering similar to a wood texture. They have strong and thin frames that fit perfectly for commercial properties and contemporary exteriors. 

Aluminum can be anodized, oxidized, and painted with both powder and sublimation. It can be extruded to obtain various geometries with customized designs.

Vinyl windows have limited color selections, and paint on this material can peel and crack. You cannot repaint it, and repainting can void warranties.

Vinyl windows frames are thicker and can work better on more traditional styled homes. They have versatility in design and comes mostly in a smooth, white frame.  

These are the differences between aluminum and vinyl windows which will help you distinguish between them both. Considering the environment and the structure, both the materials are long-lasting and suitable for installation.

Both aluminum and vinyl windows can provide attractive window frame options. While aluminum windows are more common in commercial properties, many companies offer various finishing options.

(Last Updated On: August 27, 2021)