If you’re trying to decide between aluminium and PVC-U windows for your home or development, choice will probably come down to the style of your property, your budget and ultimately how sustainable you want the windows to be.
As a material, aluminium is inherently strong, so you have the reassurance that frames can never be bent or broken, unlike timber or PVC-U. All modern windows – no matter what material they are in have to comply with a minimum security standard known as PAS24 (2012 or 2016). There is also an additional police preferred specification known as Secured by Design for windows with enhanced security features, which you can look out for if you want an extra level of reassurance.
Again, both aluminium and PVC-U windows will deliver very similar levels of warmth and insulation, even though an aluminium frame might feel cooler to the touch than a frame in PVC-U. Windows are given an efficiency rating from A++ to C under a scheme run by the British Fenestration Ratings Council (BFRC) and, while the frame does have some influence on that rating, the biggest impact comes from the glazing and whether the window is double or triple-glazed.
You can expect aluminium windows to last for upwards of 30 -45 years while PVC-U windows have a life expectancy of only 25-30 years. For both materials, the only real maintenance required will be a quick wipe with a cloth and occasional attention to the locks and hardware. However, aluminium won’t warp, fade or yellow as PVC-U can sometimes do, and it will never corrode so you can have complete peace of mind.
In general, aluminium frames are much slimmer than PVC-U so are ideal for contemporary projects or where you want to a contemporary slim sightline to modernise your home or are seeking to replicate the look of traditional steel windows. There will generally be a bigger ratio of glass to frame in aluminium windows as well, so they are ideal where you want to make the most of a view or bring more daylight into your home.
If you want to replicate the look of a timber window, you can choose the newer flush style aluminium window, which is a modern and durable alternative to flush timber frames.
Both aluminium and PVC-U windows are available in a vast range of colours, although aluminium has a wider range of finishes – from smooth to metallic.
There’s a perception that aluminium windows are more expensive than PVC-U and that is sometimes true depending on the size and style you choose, but they are arguably also a better long-term investment and a very desirable asset that will add value to your home.
Ultimately, PVC-U windows are made from plastic which in turn is derived from oil. There is a shift taking place now towards the use of recycled materials in the manufacture of PVC-U windows but ultimately, they still can’t compete with aluminium which is a truly sustainable resource.
Aluminium windows can’t just be recycled once but over and over again, with absolutely no deterioration in their quality. It’s interesting to note that almost 90% of all aluminium now used in building has been recycled at least once, using just a tiny proportion of the energy which was required to make it in the first place.
If you are looking to replace the windows and doors in your home, aluminium is a fantastic choice!
Join us as we take a look at five fantastic things that you should know about aluminium, and why it is the perfect choice for your home improvements.