Aluminum windows, or more precisely, aluminum window profiles, are gradually becoming as common as PVC systems once were. Panoramic stained-glass windows, sliding systems and simply large tilt-and-turn sashes look fascinating and modern. But there are many myths and misunderstandings that make people cautious about the technology. How warm are the windows? Are they suitable for a single-family home? Will the installation of a beautiful stained-glass window turn into a complicated and expensive service? And how to choose good windows for your home?
Strength and durability
Aluminum is strong in itself, it is the material used to make airplanes and spacecraft. Aluminum profiles for windows with stiffeners are even capable of holding a double-glazed window weighing 300 or 400 kilograms, while remaining thin and barely noticeable.
Aluminum windows are more durable than wooden or PVC frames. Therefore, if you need to make panoramic glazing or install a sliding system with double-glazed windows up to 10 sq. m and more, this is the best material.
But what about durability? An aluminum profile can retain its shape for centuries. But this is not the only detail. Much more important is the quality of the fittings. How long the window design as a whole will last depends on it.
Good manufacturers install fittings that last 30–50 years of intensive use. Yes, it needs to be serviced periodically, but not more often than PVC windows. Polymeric sash seals for any window should be changed after 10–15 years, and not after a year or two, as in the case of lifting windows.
Energy efficiency: how can aluminum windows help you save on energy costs?
The most controversial point regarding aluminum windows is energy efficiency. In practice, the consensus was reached a long time ago.
Aluminum windows can be of two types:
- “cold” – such a profile will not save you from the cold, in winter it will freeze. But such systems are designed for countries with a hot climate and glazing of unheated rooms: balconies, terraces, various pavilions;
- “warm” – the profile actually consists of three parts: two aluminum panels (internal and external) and a polymer chamber connecting them.
Some aluminum systems are superior to PVC windows in terms of heat savings and meet the “passive house” standard. For example, the Aluprof MB 104 PASSIVE has a heat transfer of only 0.4 W /(m²•K)/
In addition, the aluminum frame, due to its rigidity, remains airtight even with hurricane gusts of wind. The source of heat loss, which can cause numerous problems during windy periods with metal-plastic windows, is eliminated. High soundproofing is maintained.
Safety and environmental friendliness: Are aluminum windows suitable for residential houses?
If environmental friendliness is important, and you are looking for the safest windows for your house, then aluminum profiles have no equals. Aluminum itself is covered with a strong oxide film (we all know this material as sapphire). It is an inert material that does not react with cleaning agents or petroleum products. Aluminum does not burn and does not support combustion under normal conditions. Even if heated strongly, it does not emit toxic substances.
Unlike wooden frames, aluminum profiles are not treated with antiseptic impregnation, which, after application, will release harmful substances for some time.
Another argument to install aluminum windows in the house is safety. Aluminum profiles are difficult to open with a crowbar. You can install a window glazing with tempered glass up to 1 cm thick, which cannot be broken with improvised tools.
Design and appearance: how to choose aluminum windows for your house
The high rigidity and at the same time malleability of aluminum cause a considerable variety of forms. Panoramic glazing, skylights, stained-glass windows of round, triangular or complex broken shape. There are different ways to open:
- tilt-and-turn – suitable for small or medium-sized windows;
- sliding systems for large windows, with panoramic glazing of living room, kitchen, bedroom, or terrace;
- “accordion” is relevant for glazing terraces, cafés, and restaurants. Folding window allows maximum freedom of opening, literally one movement to remove an entire wall.
Cost and maintenance: how much do aluminum windows cost and what costs are required during operation?
Aluminum profiles do not require special maintenance. The profile is not electrified, unlike PVC frames, and almost does not attract dust. You can clean it with a regular cloth moistened with water or soapy water.
There is no complicated mechanism and seals that need to be replaced every couple of years, as in the case of lifting windows. It is enough to periodically adjust the sash pressure density. It takes no more than five minutes with a screwdriver.
The cost of aluminum windows is higher compared to PVC or wood profiles. But the final price of ownership is lower due to the longer service life and the absence of operating costs. If you order the system from manufacturers in Europe instead of the US, you can save even more.
Production costs are lower in Eastern Europe. Local window manufacturers produce windows individually according to the specified dimensions without additional payment for exclusivity. For more information, please visit alumglass.eu.