Pros and cons of aluminium windows

Advantages of aluminium windows

It’s cheaper than timber. While aluminium is generally more expensive than PVC, it’s also much more affordable than timber. This is a no-brainer, considering aluminium is tougher and more durable than wood. Plus, you can use a woodgrain foil to simulate the appearance of timber. The resemblance is uncanny.

The frames are thinner. Aluminium has a phenomenal amount of inner strength, although it doesn’t like to talk about it. This means it can be slender and still offer the same support as a bulky chunk of timber or PVC, allowing more space for glass. Not only does this give you a better view of the great outdoors, but glass is a very talented insulator, so you’ll lose less heat (and save on the bills).

It lasts a long time. During spells of icy cold and intense heat, many window frames contract and expand, slowly losing their shape and eventually needing to be replaced. In particular, PVC loves warping in the sunlight, and wood can’t wait to start rotting. On the other hand, aluminium remains strong and stable, typically lasting around 25-30 years (or longer). Maintenance is minimal.

You’ll be better protected. This inner strength comes with one more advantage; aluminium will be your guardian angel. Its natural robustness means it can withstand attacks far better than wood or plastic, so you can rest easy in your metal fortress.

It will jazz up your home. We’ve already mentioned the 200+ RAL colours you can have your frames in, with some companies even offering an interior-exterior dual-colour option. What’s more, aluminium can be shaped exactly how you want it, so you can finally have your dream octagonal windows.

It’s eco-friendly. Aluminium is 100% recyclable, so when you’re finally ready to get rid of your metal friends, they will be ready to go all over again.

Disadvantages of aluminium windows

A poor insulator? It used to be the case that aluminium was one of the worst materials for keeping the heat in, but polyamide thermal breaks (that go between the internal and external layers of aluminium) have helped to deal with that. “Thermally broken” aluminium windows can now compete with high-end PVC and timber equivalents.

Prone to condensation? Again, thermal break technology has put this one to bed.

Weak soundproofing? If keeping the world’s noise out (and your noise in) is a priority, PVC frames tend to be a bit more effective. However, it’s worth noting that the majority of a window’s soundproofing is determined by the glass, not the frame. Get good quality double glazing and your house will feel like a library.

Susceptible to salt corrosion? Aluminium just hates the seaside, it’s true. If your windows are near sea air and saltwater, the frames will start to corrode, but there are easy ways to prevent this. For instance, regular cleaning will keep the salt away, and a lick of powder coated paint will add an extra layer of protection.

Are aluminium windows suitable for your home?

Once upon a time, aluminium windows were found only in commercial buildings like supermarkets and big offices. The modern metal vibes weren’t really something that people wanted in their homely homes. Fortunately, aluminium has bucked its ideas up and become much more adaptable. If your home is old and traditional, simply add a woodgrain foil to your aluminium windows and nobody will know the difference. “I can’t believe it’s not wood!”, your jealous friends will exclaim.

If you’re blessed enough to live in a listed building, it’s often illegal to replace original windows with modern double glazing without planning permission, meaning aluminium window frames may not be for you. In this case, secondary glazing could be a good option if you want a better insulated home.