The eye is the window to the soul, or so they say. But and the window? Well, that’s the window to the world. You might not notice them all too often, but your windows have a huge say in the overall impression that your home makes, both inside and out.
For centuries window design has been crucial in setting the tone for a property, unifying the design of a property. In more recent years though, window style has taken something of a back seat as things like noise isolation and thermal properties.
Today, the demands we put on our windows are immense. They have to be secure, thermally efficient, quiet and – of course – beautiful.
Those demands have meant that the materials we choose for our windows are more important than ever. Today, we’ve largely settled on two competing materials: aluminium and uPVC. But what are the key differences between them?
Durability is a key concern when it comes to your windows. Why? Well, windows are expensive and, ideally, we don’t want to worry about repairing or replacing them.
The good news is that, compared to traditional wood window frames, both uPVC (unplasticised Poly Vinyl Chloride) and aluminium frames boast tremendous durability. The typical lifespan for a uPVC ranges from 20 to 30 years. That’s far longer than most people live in a single home, but it doesn’t have a patch on aluminium.
Aluminium frames are something of a durability champion with around 45 years of life before they need to be replaced. Even better, they don’t suffer from bleaching from the sun and will never rust.
Windows with good energy efficiency ensure that your home is cool in summer and warm in winter, saving you bundles on your energy bills. But what separates aluminium windows and uPVC windows on that front?
These days, not a lot. Aluminium windows of yesteryear were considered weak on this front thanks to aluminium being highly conductive. However, new manufacturing methods now mean that both uPVC and aluminium window frames are capable of up-to A++ rated thermal efficiency.
Window design is crucial to the overall aesthetic of your home, and so your choice of frame is equally important.
uPVC windows, although able to be skinned in different colours and to create wood-style finishes, are typically white with reasonably thick frames. Aluminium, however, can be finished in any number of colours and, thanks to its stronger materials, allows for much thinner frames.
This makes them more suitable for modern properties or homes with beautiful vistas which uPVC windows may obscure.
The most important thing with any window is your security, and thankfully, there’s no real difference between uPVC or aluminium on this regard – both are highly resistant to forced entry and both will feature high-quality locking and latching mechanisms which make them a nightmare for thieves.
Windows can be a huge investment, of that there’s no doubt. From the glass cost to the frames and installation, you can be looking at a sizable bill to replace all the windows in your home. It’s worth it, of course, as it increases the monetary and aesthetic value of your home.
But between aluminium and uPVC, which is cheaper? It’s a tough question to answer because of variables like window size, type of glazing, locking mechanisms, colour, finished and quality of aluminium used. However, in general, it’s fair to say that uPVC is the more affordable of the two.
Aluminium frames are dropping in price year-on-year, however, so it’s always worth taking a look to see if they’re achievable for your home.