Q:

What is the difference between aluminum and vinyl windows?

A:

Quick Answer

Aluminum and vinyl windows have differences in their design, durability, strength, appearance and corrosion. They also differ in their energy efficiency and thermal performance, fading and pitting, noise reduction, recyclability and maintenance, as well as in their costs.

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Full Answer

Vinyl windows have a generally less utilitarian appearance. Vinyl window frames have different finishes and, if scratched, the exposed parts look the same. If a painted aluminum frame is scratched, the metal shows through. Vinyl frames are thicker than aluminum window frames, making vinyl windows less appealing especially in commercial buildings.

Vinyl windows are highly resistant to scratching, cracking and marring and are not easily dented. Aluminum windows’ surfaces are prone to scratching, marring, cracking and denting.

It may be difficult to achieve an exact color match with vinyl windows because they cannot be painted. Aluminum window frames can be painted, providing an exact match to the color desired.

Aluminum windows are stronger than their vinyl counterparts. Although it is possible to get the look of wood on an aluminum window using a coating treatment, the appearance is inferior to the vinyl wood grain effect.

Over time, the zinc or steel fasteners used for aluminum windows may corrode, but vinyl does not corrode.

Aluminum windows can pit, and the painted surface can fade but vinyl does not.

Vinyl is less effective than aluminum in noise reduction. Vinyl has fewer maintenance requirements than aluminum. Aluminum windows need regular lubrication and repainting. Vinyl windows are less costly than their aluminum counterparts

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