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What are Aluminum Windows?

By Ken Black
Updated May 16, 2024
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Aluminum windows are windows where the casing, or frame, is made of aluminum rather than wood, vinyl or some other material. They are among the most popular types of windows, especially for commercial and industrial buildings. While these windows offer a number of benefits, they also have a number of drawbacks. They may or may not be the best choice, depending on the situation.

With the exception of wood, aluminum was one of the first types of materials used in the creation of windows, especially in home environments. Other materials have come along that are perceived to be better choices, for one reason or another, but aluminum is still in wide use.

Aluminum windows may be the best choice when designing a building where large windows will have a key element in the look. They can be used in houses and even skyscrapers to create this special look. The result is often a stunning picture-window look that may appear as if one or multiple sides of the structure are made nearly entirely of glass. This is one of the hallmarks of aluminum casings.

The advantages of aluminum windows are numerous. They have a good ratio when comparing strength versus weight. This allows the windows to be formed into a number of custom designs, which is very helpful for those who have specific needs or are trying to achieve a specific look in building design. Also, they are good at resisting moisture.

They also have other functional benefits. Aluminum windows control noise better than most window types and therefore they are widely used in schools. Further, they are economical, not only in the initial acquisition costs but also the maintenance costs in the future. The windows need very little maintenance to maintain peak performance.

While these may be good benefits and encourage many people to choose aluminum windows, there are some drawbacks as well. They do not do as good of job protecting against the heat or the cold, depending on the weather outside. Therefore, other types of windows may be more energy efficient.

There are engineering elements that can be added to an aluminum window that will help it achieve better performance. Adding a strip of foam or vinyl to separate the inside and outside of the frame, for example, can help achieve better energy performance. These are known as thermally-improved aluminum windows.

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Discussion Comments

By GulfHoust — On Oct 11, 2012

Sometimes the type of windows that one should have depends a lot on the location. But maintenance does play a great role in preserving the beauty of your windows.

By indigomoth — On Jul 30, 2011

@KoiwiGal - Really, I think if you take care of wooden frames they last just as long as aluminum frames. And they look so much nicer.

All you have to do is paint them every few years to keep them in good condition.

I personally really don't like the look of aluminum windows most of the time. In a sun room or something like that, they are OK, but they tend to look quite stark when they are fitted with a single window, rather than a series of them.

Plus it kind of takes away from the window if you don't have a window sill to put things on. I like putting a little vase of flowers on mine, for example.

By KoiwiGal — On Jul 29, 2011

Honestly, I have wooden window frames at the moment, and aside from the look, I'm not sure why anyone would pick them over aluminum windows.

Mine are old and they've just about had it. They rattle, the paint is flaking, they let the wind in... I would fix them myself, but I'm in a rental place and I'm not sure if I could get in trouble for that.

I guess if you take care of wooden frames you won't have those problems, but it would be even easier to just get aluminum frames in the first place. Particularly if you are going to be neglecting your house!

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