Window Buying Guide: Aluminum, Wood, or Vinyl?

Windows do more than let in light and air, affecting how your home will look and how energy-efficient it will be. This is why choosing the right windows is important. In this post, I will share with you the basics of three of the top material choices around, and discuss the aspects you should look into and consider when shopping for replacement windows.
Aluminum is an affordable, durable, and low-maintenance material. Lightweight and flexible, it can be shaped into various shapes and sizes, allowing for better customization. Aluminum windows can also be painted without worry of destroying the framing material, thus, offering the opportunity of changing the color of the windows to update its look. Aluminum is also resistant to rot, moisture, and pest infestation.
However, as aluminum is metal, it transmits heat and cold easily, making it not a very energy-efficient window frame material. This means that outdoor conditions can easily influence indoor temperature in your home, requiring your HVAC system to work overtime to stabilize it and make you comfortable.
Wood is the gold standard for many homeowners because of the material�s strength and beauty. It works well with a range of window styles too but appears most ideal for more traditional designs. Wood windows are also among the most energy-efficient choices, as they have outstanding insulating abilities.
However, in the past years, wood windows have slowly been losing their market to more affordable and easier to maintain options. Wood is easily the most expensive framing material on the market and overall costs increase further because of the extensive maintenance it requires to stay durable and beautiful.
Vinyl windows are highly popular these days because they are very affordable. But more than just being easy on the wallet, they offer a number of benefits, trumping those made of aluminum or wood. For one, vinyl windows offer considerable insulation values, which can be attributed to the honeycomb of chambers in vinyl which can trap air. They are also very easy to maintain -- they only need to be cleaned with soap and water every once in a while and will never need repainting to keep their color. In fact, factory-applied colors go on to retain their appearance for a decade or more.

Choosing the Right Window: Aspects That Matter
Indeed, all window frame materials offer different advantages and disadvantages. Replacing windows can involve many things, and to make the decision easier for you, here are the aspects that you must focus on and remember:
  • Price and Cost Efficiency. Price does not indicate performance. For instance, wood and vinyl windows are at the either end of the price spectrum, but they both offer commendable values when it comes to energy efficiency.
  • Climate and Energy Efficiency. When searching for windows, you must not forget to consider the energy efficiency values recommended for your local climate. Not all windows are made the same, and what�s good for others may not be the same for you. 
  • Maintainability and Lifetime Costs. You can�t just forget about your windows the moment they are installed so consider what they will need from you in the long run. Assess how much you are willing to spend on maintenance and if you think you are not up for this costly responsibility, choose a framing material that is less demanding of attention.
Todd Kroll is Kroll Window�s Vice President. Part of the industry since 1985, he has acquired more than enough experience to help him ensure Kroll Window customers are given the best. Still, Todd believes there are still new things to see and experience every day. He shares his own experiences by posting in the company blog. 

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