As we always tell clients that come to us for advice about window replacement, we urge you to make sure you leave no stone unturned. That means checking out all of the available options so that when you do come to a decision you are 100 percent sure that it’s the right one. For all of the innovative building materials that seem to burst onto the scene every few years, with windows it’s the old-guard that still reign. Wood was once the undisputed first choice when it came to windows, but when vinyl windows were introduced in the 1970’s that brought about a big change, and they now account for roughly two-thirds of all window installations. Then there are aluminum windows, which complete the “top three” and represent another viable option if you are contemplating having new windows installed at your property. Want to know how these different types of windows compare against each other? Keep reading to find out.
Just How Good are Vinyl Windows Compared to Wood and Aluminum?
Of the hundreds of window replacement jobs Superior Home Improvements has taken on in the last 40 years, the majority of them involved vinyl windows. This fact in itself is a good indicator of the quality that these windows possess, and we are now going to take a look at the various characteristics of vinyl windows and compare them to wood and aluminum.
Vinyl windows are available in just about every style you can imagine; even in a “wood-type” finish. Wood has been popular for hundreds of years mainly due to its unique aesthetic qualities, but vinyl windows have managed to bridge this gap (we are referring to aesthetic finish here) in recent years. Both of these options are generally considered to be more attractive than aluminum windows, which feature a special coating that has to be carefully maintained otherwise the metal may show through.
This is where vinyl windows really excel, being able to resist scratches, cracks and dents much easier than either wood or aluminum windows. You generally won’t be able to see visible signs of superficial damage, whereas with the other two options this damage is obvious, and more importantly, very difficult to fix.
Vinyl windows don’t just look great and resist damage well, they are also highly capable of insulating your property, trapping heat energy inside your home and lowering heating and cooling bills in the process. Wood is considered to be a good natural insulator, and while it’s still a good choice with regards to energy efficiency, it can’t match the performance of vinyl windows, which are as much as 5x more energy efficient. Aluminum windows are well known for being poor insulators as they allow heat energy to escape via conduction (they are usually hot/cold to the touch depending on the outside temperature). In order to prevent this from happening, it vital that you have thermal breaks installed with aluminum windows, but consequently this drives up the cost of your window replacement.
This is something that many people overlook initially, only to realize later that the windows they chose need maintaining regularly to remain aesthetically pleasing and energy efficient. If you are looking for a “hands-off” option, vinyl windows are your best bet, as the only maintenance they require is a quick clean from time to time. With wooden windows you have to re-stain the surface periodically to protect the wood from local weather conditions and the paint on aluminum windows will often crack and start peeling, at which point it’s important to apply a fresh coat of paint. The cost of not carrying out these maintenance tasks can be very expensive, since wood can rot and aluminum will rust.
Wood is by far the most expensive type of window replacement you can choose, and this combined with their high maintenance requirements are the main reasons why vinyl windows have “taken over” the industry in recent years. Aluminum windows are the most affordable type of windows and are an option you might want to consider if you are on a real tight budget, while vinyl windows typically fall in the middle.
You can probably now see why so many homeowners in Scarborough, Richmond Hill, Markham and Durham (the areas that we serve) have opted for vinyl windows in recent years. They offer all-around performance, are easy to maintain, typically outlast other options and look great too.