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Vinyl vs. Aluminum Windows

Doing your research on replacement windows? If you're like most people, you want to replace your windows because they are either not working well mechanically, or they are allowing too much cold or warm air to escape, escalating your energy costs.

Window replacement is not one of the cheaper tasks you'll find on your home "to-do" list, but it is one of the most essential. Replacing the windows in your house is not only an important investment in the overall value of your home, it also greatly impacts your family's day-to-day comfort and security.

But because there are such a wide variety of wood, vinyl and aluminum windows available today, there is an equally wide range of prices.

As you prioritize your needs, keep in mind that the experts, like Popular Mechanics in their "Complete Home How-To" book (2006), warn that low-cost windows "don't always solve the problems you're experiencing. It's almost always a better idea to install higher quality windows. The long-term performance and energy savings are worth the extra cost."

Here are the top 4 factors you should consider when evaluating the benefits of vinyl vs. aluminum windows:

1. Strength

If you are buying or own a home that is 50-60 years old and has never had the windows replaced, you will probably find that it has aluminum windows. Back in those days, aluminum provided the only cost-efficient alternative to wood.

Technology has come a long way in half a century, and vinyl windows are the standard you find in most new homes today. Vinyl replacement windows are strong, extremely durable and long lasting. They stay almost 100% scratch free and, no matter what their age, they always look great.

Aluminum windows are also known for their strength, as well as their resistance to dents and cracks. These types of windows are exceptional at resisting moisture. Aluminum windows are extremely light weight, making them a common choice for use in high-rise apartments, condos and other large buildings.

2. Style

Vinyl Windows come in a many different colors and a wide assortment of styles. Some manufacturers even make vinyl frames that closely resemble wood. The color is actually a part of the vinyl material which is what makes them essentially scratch resistant. Vinyl replacement windows never need scraping, painting or staining, so they retain their timeless beauty throughout the years.

Aluminum also comes in many colors but, unlike vinyl, it may be painted. Aluminum windows offer a sleek, contemporary, industrial look, perfect for a loft or modern building. They are thin frames that can create a stunning picture window because they allow for more light and view.

3. Energy Efficiency

New vinyl replacement windows will be more energy efficient than your old ones, especially if you're switching from single pane to double pane windows. Vinyl windows will save you money in heating and cooling costs because they have moderate to high "R-values." The R-Value measures how well a window performs as an insulator. A higher R-Value means better insulation and, therefore, greater energy efficiency.

Aluminum conducts heat and cold, so it's not a good choice for extreme climates. If you're looking to reduce your home's carbon footprint, vinyl windows are more energy efficient.

4. Cost of Replacement Windows

Both aluminum and vinyl windows require minimal maintenance. In terms of functionality, aluminum windows are perceived as being an economical choice, not only in acquisition costs but also in future upkeep.

But if you add up the cost of your ever-increasing heating and cooling bills, and the potential breakage costs of aluminum windows, it can be far more cost efficient to replace your home windows with a more technically advanced, energy saving material, such as vinyl.

According to Remodeling magazine's "Cost vs. Value Report," high-quality, energy-efficient replacement windows are an excellent investment. Vinyl doesn't shrink or swell with changes in humidity, so callback problems are minimized. Add to that a short turnaround time, strong manufacturer warranties, and product consistency, vinyl windows are an attractive option.

For more information on replacement windows available at American Vision Windows, please review our most Frequently Asked Questions. Or contact one of our Home Improvement Experts today at: (888) 542-2875. You'll find out more on how to beautify your home AND reduce your energy bills.

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