If you've made the decision to replace your current windows, you have probably considered many replacement materials including glass, wood, aluminum and vinyl. Making the right choice can certainly be daunting as you try to balance your costs with requirements such as thermal performance, condensation and seepage concerns and aesthetics.

 In this article, you will get a helpful, head-to-head comparison of two of the most popular window replacement materials available in the market today- aluminum and vinyl. This will hopefully make choosing a suitable window replacement material for your home less of a headache.

Design and appearance

When it comes to looks, vinyl is often the clear favorite, as it has a classy, wood-grain appearance that resembles the authentic look of wood without maintenance issues associated with wooden windows such as peeling, flaking or wrapping.

The frame of vinyl windows is the same color all the way through, allowing the material to retain its beauty year after year. Vinyl also comes in a wide variety of finishes, making it possible to create almost any look you desire to complement the home's exterior walls.

Aluminum has less appealing aesthetics, as it resembles metal and is thus more suited for commercial applications. The material can be easily painted to match any color, but the paint will eventually fade, exposing the metal beneath. This is in contrast with vinyl that retains its finish for longer, eliminating the need to sand, repaint and re-stain.

Energy efficiency and maintenance

If you live in an area with extreme temperatures, vinyl would be a much better choice as it offers excellent thermal performance. The material is made of plastic material which is not affected by temperature variations. Vinyl does not transfer heat, which allows it to retain indoor heat, translating to significant savings in energy bills.

Aluminum tends to act a lot like a radiator, which essentially means that it absorbs outdoor heat into the home and allows heated air to escape to the outside, making it a lot less energy efficient than vinyl. Thermal shields may be added to aluminum windows to reduce their conductivity, but this adds to their cost of installation.

When it comes to maintenance, vinyl tends to be more superior, as it is resistant to any corrosion. Aluminum tends to react with steel or zinc fasteners, leading to corrosion. Aluminum also attracts a lot more condensation due to its high heat transfer rate, causing moisture seepage between the window and home walls that can lead to rotting, warping or mold damage. With vinyl, this is a nonissue, as the material does not conduct much heat and thus creates little or no condensation. 

To learn more about vinyl windows, contact a company like Beissel Window & Siding