A guide to aluminum windows and aluminum replacement windows
If you're considering aluminum windows, it is strongly recommended that you look for what are known as "thermally improved frames." These frames are designed to minimize heat loss by using a non-conductive insert between the aluminum rods on the inside and outside edge of the frame, and do a lot to address the number-one drawback of these sturdy frames.
Advantages of Aluminum Windows
Like fiberglass windows, aluminum windows are very sturdy. They are very lightweight and require little in the way of maintenance. Because they resist water, they will never rot the way wood windows can, and they are rustproof as well.
Aluminum, by its very nature, will never warp or stick, and because aluminum integrates seamlessly with brick or stone, aluminum bay windows and aluminum bow windows are a snap to install. Also, aluminum is recommended for warmer climates, making aluminum storm windows an excellent choice if you live in a hot, humid area that gets its fair share of thunderstorms.
Finally, aluminum frames are considered the most secure of all the different materials available. Thus, aluminum basement windows are excellent, as many prowlers and thieves gain entry to homes through basement windows when doorways cannot be breached.
Disadvantages of Aluminum Windows
However, both new and aluminum replacement windows are well-known for losing heat very easily, leading to home energy inefficiencies. As mentioned, you can combat this by selecting thermally improved aluminum frames, but even so, materials like wood and vinyl have superior heat retention capabilities.
Aluminum windows also tend to collect condensation, which can be even more problematic if you live in a humid or wet climate. Moreover, aluminum also gets cold very easily, so if you ever need to repair or replace them during cold weather, you're going to need to wear a pair of gloves.
In terms of pricing, aluminum windows usually fall between wood and vinyl on the cost scale, with wooden window frames being more expensive. Given the relative scarcity of aluminum window frame manufacturers, you'll also have less choice if you've decided to go with these frames than you would if you selected another material.