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Vinyl vs Aluminum Windows: Comparing Their Benefits and Limitations

4 min read

When it’s time to replace your windows, you may be wondering if you should install vinyl or aluminum windows. Each material has its own benefits and drawbacks so we had our window experts compare the two to help you decide which is right for your home. Keep reading to discover who would win in a matchup between vinyl replacement windows and aluminum replacement windows.

Window Design

Vinyl and aluminum windows are quite similar design-wise. Both are available as single- or multi-pane, single- or double-hung, and just about any color or finish imaginable.

The main difference comes down to style. Vinyl windows offer a more traditional appearance with their thicker frames and wood-grain texture options. Homeowners can enjoy the look of real wood without additional expense or maintenance. 

Meanwhile, aluminum frames offer a sleeker, modern appearance that suits contemporary architectural styles best due to their smooth or textured powder-coated enamel finish. 

Energy Efficiency

Without a doubt, vinyl windows are more energy efficient than aluminum windows. As an effective insulator, vinyl reduces heat transfer so your home stays at consistently comfortable temperatures. Conversely, aluminum is a poor insulator because it conducts heat, making your home sensitive to temperature changes.

Unlike aluminum, vinyl also typically has additional energy-efficient features like Low-E glass and argon gas-filled glass. They work together to keep your home better insulated so you won’t have to crank up the heat during the winter or blast the AC during summer. Not only will your home stay comfortable home year-round, but your energy costs will decrease over time too. 

To maximize your energy savings, choose ENERGY STAR-qualified vinyl replacement windows like those from Window World of D.C. You could see up to a 12 percent drop in your energy bill.

Durability

Overall, vinyl is more durable than aluminum. Although both materials resist scratching, cracking and marring, vinyl has a slight edge.

Vinyl replacement windows are nearly dent- and chip-free, making them known for superior weather resistance. They’ll stand strong in even the harshest of conditions.

Meanwhile, aluminum is prone to fading, corroding and rusting. These windows also lose points for being easily dented and dinged, especially during storms with flying debris. But on the bright side, aluminum is the ideal window material for extra-wide or tall frames. 

Maintenance

Vinyl replacement windows are virtually maintenance-free. Their exceptional durability means you can essentially leave them be—just a simple rinse will do. And because vinyl never needs to be repainted, your home will continue to look beautiful for years to come.

Aluminum replacement windows don’t require much more upkeep but will need some TLC. This includes repainting and regular cleanings with a special aluminum cleaner to maintain their luster, as well as lubrication of moving metal parts to prevent undue wear and tear. 

Cost

In general, vinyl windows cost less than their aluminum counterpart. The exact price difference will depend on the type of window and installation fees. 

Plus when you factor in energy and maintenance savings, vinyl replacement windows come out on top nearly every time. This material virtually pays for itself over the years, making it a smart investment for any homeowner. 

Installation

The decision to install vinyl or aluminum windows comes down to the company you choose. A reputable service provider will make the installation process of either window material quick and painless.

At Window World of D.C., we’re the leader in vinyl window installation. Homeowners across the country choose us for our same-day installation and the way we treat your home with the utmost respect and care as if it’s our own. 

Get started today with a free in-home or virtual window consultation to receive your quote, then schedule your installation date at your convenience. It’s just that simple.

Condensation

Condensation inside windows can cause mold, mildew and rust to form on frames, which is a big health risk and maintenance pain. As a more energy-efficient option, vinyl windows create less condensation because they aren’t as affected by temperature changes. The reverse is true for aluminum replacement windows, which produce more condensation due to their high heat transfer. 

Noise Reduction

To block the outside commotion from disrupting your quiet time at home, opt for vinyl windows. Their thicker, foam-filled frame helps to reduce noise better than aluminum windows. Choose vinyl windows with double- or triple-pane glass for additional noise-reducing power.

At-A-Glance Comparison Chart: Aluminum vs Vinyl Windows

We understand you are a busy homeowner, so we’ve compiled this handy chart below to quickly compare the benefits and limitations of vinyl vs aluminum windows.

Window Design
  • Traditional aesthetic
  • Available in single- or double-hung; single- or multi-pane
  • Wide variety of colors & finishes (including a realistic wood-grain texture)
  • Modern aesthetic
  • Available in single- or double-hung; single- or multi-pane
  • Wide variety of colors & finishes
Energy Efficiency
  • Highly energy efficient
  • Excellent insulator
  • Not energy efficient
  • Poor insulator
Durability
  • Resistant to scratching, cracking and marring
  • Won’t chip or dent
  • Impact-resistant
  • Resistant to scratching, cracking and marring
  • Susceptible to denting, fading and corrosion
  • Ideal for extremely large windows
Maintenance
  • Lowest maintenance
  • Never requires repainting
  • Requires regular maintenance
Cost
  • Less expensive
  • Higher ROI
  • More expensive
Installation
  • Depends on window company
  • Depends on window company
Condensation
  • Limited condensation
  • Prone to condensation
Noise Reduction
  • Reduces noise
  • Less effective at dampening sound

The Winner: Vinyl Replacement Windows

When comparing vinyl and aluminum windows, it’s obvious that vinyl has the clear edge. Across the board, vinyl windows outperform their counterpart. You’ll enjoy increased energy efficiency, worry-free maintenance, and a better return on investment.

As America’s largest replacement window company, Window World of D.C. is ready to help you update your old windows with our industry-leading vinyl replacement windows. Request your free estimate today to get started.