Differences between aluminum and vinyl windows include aluminum's ability to be powder-coated to match any color, whereas vinyl cannot be painted, and aluminum's likelihood to be dented versus vinyl, which is resistant to denting. Another difference between vinyl and aluminum windows is that vinyl neither corrodes nor fades while aluminum windows corrode as the painted surface fades and wears away.
Vinyl windows are more energy efficient when compared to aluminum windows, but they are not as safe in areas prone to hurricanes and high winds. Impact-resistant aluminum windows are laminated with a material that prevents most flying objects from shattering the glass and injuring the occupants of a residence. Vinyl impact-resistant windows are available at a cost of up to 30 percent more than their aluminum counterparts.
Vinyl windows are substantially heavier than aluminum windows, which can be a negative when working on larger projects and make replacement difficult on higher levels of a structure. Vinyl windows are very low maintenance, whereas aluminum windows must be lubricated on a regular basis. Painted aluminum windows require touch-ups to prevent corrosion and other damage to the metal beneath the paint. Aluminum windows are prone to condensation that can cause problems related to water damage, such as mildew, rot and mold. Vinyl windows create much less condensation than aluminum windows, virtually eliminating the concern for water-based damage.
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