How do you react when you hear the term “aluminum windows”? Do you smile? Cringe? Shrug?
Aluminum windows are among the most polarizing window types out there. They’re durable and affordable, but they aren’t ideal for all situations.
Are these windows a good choice for Houston homes? Let’s take a closer look.
Components of Aluminum Windows
The term “aluminum windows” is nearly a misnomer. The sizable window panes are made of glass, of course, but the frames are made of aluminum.
Yes, aluminum. The same type of material that the foil you use in your kitchen is made out of. But don’t be fooled. These frames are actually very strong — so much so, in fact, that the frame portions of these windows are often pencil-thin.
So if you decide to get aluminum windows, expect one of the strongest types of windows out there. But that’s not all!
Advantages of Aluminum Windows
One thing you’ll notice immediately after you install aluminum windows is that the views of the outdoors are significantly enhanced. The strong aluminum frames are also thinner than the frames in other types of windows, and this allows the glass to take up more of the window’s space. Aluminum windows can also be significantly larger than windows with other frames can be.
Aluminum windows have an exceptional weight-to-strength ratio. What does this mean? Well the windows won’t weigh more than an offensive lineman on the Texans, but they’ll show similar strength. In fact, aluminum windows are up to 50 times as strong as wood windows, and three times as strong as vinyl.
And it’s more than just strength. Aluminum windows are built to last. They don’t rust, warp or rot — all of which might happen to other types of windows over a long period of time or exposure to varying temperatures.
Aluminum windows can repel moisture extremely well, and they can block outside noise better than some other types of windows can. These features make them a popular choice for storm windows.
Aluminum windows come in a variety of styles and shapes; this means they can be installed almost anywhere. These windows also don’t require a great deal of maintenance.
Problems With Aluminum Windows
All the benefits we just listed help make aluminum windows some of the most popular windows on the market. But in recent years, vinyl windows have been outselling aluminum windows.
Both types of windows are very affordable, but aluminum is both stronger and more durable than vinyl. So why are people flocking to what seems like a “lesser” window?
Simply put, vinyl windows are more energy efficient than aluminum windows are. With the “green” era we live in today, energy efficiency makes a big difference.
Why are aluminum windows so energy inefficient? Aluminum is an extremely conductive material, so hot or cold conditions outside will be transmitted through the window frames. Although more recently manufactured aluminum windows often have thermal breaks between the inside and outside of the frames, aluminum windows are still poor insulators.
The larger-than-normal sashes in aluminum windows also provide an oversized opportunity for sunlight to hit the glass. This, in turn, increases the amount of solar energy that can both enter and bake a home. Many aluminum windows don’t feature multiple panes of glass with gas fills or low emissivity glass, so this situation alone can lead to higher energy bills.
So, Why Exactly Do These Windows Get a Thumbs Up for Houston?
Aluminum windows are a good choice in Houston, if they’re added in the right situations. Houston’s climate is very mild, so you won’t have to worry about freezing in the winter all that often. This negates most of the issues associated with the poor insulation of aluminum windows.
All that said, you don’t want to install aluminum windows all over your home. If you do that, you’ll undoubtedly feel the pain of skyrocketing energy bills. Adding these windows near patios, porches and outdoor living spaces is best — particularly if you live in a coastal area.
If you’re looking to replace your windows, turn to Best Investments Siding and Windows. We’ve been installing replacement windows across the Houston area since 1977. Request a free consultation today!