It’s a myth that all kinds of windows have more or less the same impact on a room.
The material mostly makes the difference in this regard. If you’ve started the search for a suitable material for your new home or a long-pending window replacement project, thousands of options might’ve already cropped up online.
And aluminum and wood are indeed among the most popular and effective alternatives. So, if you’ve decided to go for either of these two, we’d say you’ve made the right move.
It’s the choice between wooden and aluminum windows that’s more confusing. There are many characteristics to consider, some of which are beneficial and others disadvantageous.
But don’t worry; we’ve made the task easier for you by curating this extensive guide to wooden vs. aluminum windows. Go ahead and give it a read.
Wooden Vs Aluminum Windows
- Wooden Vs Aluminum Windows
- Other Design Options For These Windows
- Some Important Terms
- Wooden Vs Aluminum Windows Frequently Asked Questions ?
- Wooden Vs Aluminum Windows Final Words
As mentioned earlier, both these materials come with several drawbacks and benefits, so it’s vital to consider some key factors to develop a clear idea about each. Following are the most significant ones:
Like any other fixture in our home, window frames require regular maintenance to retain their visual appeal and functionality. That’s why this factor is crucial to determining how suitable a particular material would be in this regard.
Coming to the use of wood in making windows, know that wood window frames might be affected by warping and weather effects over the years. They are also more vulnerable to paint chipping, water damage, and cracking owing to the high moisture content of the surrounding air. As such, you may need to polish, paint or varnish wood window frames annually to prevent the damaging effects of moisture.
Know that aluminum is sturdier in comparison as it will suffer less wear and tear with time. You won’t even need any paint coat for this metal, so you can rule out concerns about the paint cracking or chipping.
That said, the protective finish on the windows may break down due to abrasives in the air or prolonged periods of high humidity. This can make the window frames prone to corrosion.
While you’re choosing window frame materials and designs, you’ll have to consider how well the windows would go with the rest of the room décor and their overall visual appeal.
You may regard the selection of window frames as a more subjective aspect, but aluminum windows generally fit better into a modern construction style. This style primarily uses materials like steel, glass, and chrome in greater amounts. But wooden windows are more suited for traditional houses and come in different styles.
All in all, while wooden frames provide a timeless look to a home, aluminum is the go-to material for homeowners who prefer modern styles. The latter is more efficient and easier to maintain owing to the use of sturdier construction materials.
It’s no secret that durability plays a key role in choosing materials for any home fixture. And the choice of material will depend on whether you want to go for more long-lasting windows or don’t mind replacing them after a couple of years.
Homeowners who prefer to go for windows with better longevity shouldn’t ideally go for wood since it may succumb to weather effects, as discussed earlier. There’s also the problem of expansion and contraction during the winter and summer seasons. Hence, you might have to replace or repair the window frame after a few years.
Aluminum naturally comes with better longevity, so you won’t have to go for repair or replacement any soon.
Homeowners who want to opt for either aluminum or wooden windows should be aware that the range of styles and designs available is endless.
Firstly, wooden windows offer a natural look, with a huge variety of finishes and colors lending an appeal that perfectly complements your interiors. The same goes for aluminum frames that are available in non-metallic and metallic finishes, as well as different polishes and designs to create the appeal of faux wood.
But the difference between the two materials lies in the ease with which you can modify them later. While it’s easy to modify wood finishes using a new coat, aluminum comes with a powder-coated finish that’s applied after manufacturing and making color changes can be challenging.
Additionally, the availability of custom shapes is a significant aspect when it comes to getting window frames for your home. Aluminum is better off in this regard as it’s moldable and can be used to design unique window shapes. But wood windows are less malleable and comparatively heavier, limiting the options for custom shapes.
5. Energy Efficiency
Though it might sound surprising, windows affect the cooling or heating costs of a house. That’s why it’s important to gauge the energy efficiency of these two materials while making a choice.
Know that the choice is easier in this regard, as windows made of wood are much more energy-efficient than aluminum. Aluminum comes with superior heat conductivity, which results in more heat getting into the room even when the windows are closed. Likewise, wood is a bad conductor of heat, which is why such windows can be useful in keeping a room cool during summers.
Both aluminum and wood windows are available in different varieties based on their functionality.
Sliding windows are the most commonly used type in the case of aluminum, owing to their high functionality, but they do come with a few disadvantages too. For instance, you can’t open the window fully as part of it will remain blocked by a sliding panel.
There might also be issues with the smoothness of the ball bearings, which normally result from rusting or the accumulation of dust or rainwater.
In comparison, wooden windows are mostly applied as casements, whereby you can open them completely or partially as per your needs. These windows also come with a locking mechanism that ensures they don’t close with a banging sound owing to strong winds. As such, you can consider them to be more functional than sliding windows made of aluminum.
Another noteworthy feature of the windows is their ability to bring fresh air to the home since you can wind them to particular angles. Those fixed on the same wall and hinging from a different direction bring in breezes that may have passed otherwise.
7. Pest Concerns
Most homeowners also take into account the pest resistance offered by window materials when choosing a suitable option. And, when it comes to keeping the house free from critters and pests, aluminum is undoubtedly more effective.
You’re surely aware of the termite issue affecting wooden structures. Apart from that, ants and other insects might infest the windows too, which is why you’ll need to adopt efficient pest control measures to prevent such issues.
Remember that rotten wood can also become prone to mold growth or infestation by maggots. So, ensure you don’t ignore maintenance checks or leave the property empty for long periods.
Last but not least, considering the costs involved is essential when you’re buying window frames that you expect to last for at least a few years. Note that aluminum is a cheap material as its manufacturing procedure makes it stronger than wooden alternatives at much lower costs.
As a raw material, wood is more expensive, especially the varieties like teak, timber, and others. Even applying a less costly type would cost you more on the whole.
Other Design Options For These Windows
Apart from casement windows and sliders, homeowners have the options of awning and hung windows, with the former operating through hand cranks and the latter sliding vertically.
Hung windows, in turn, can be of two types, viz. double hung and single hung windows. While single-hung windows slide up just from the bottom, the double-hung ones come with moving slashes both on the top and bottom. That’s why you can open the latter by sliding them into the middle.
Both these types of hung windows help create air convection and enhance the ventilation from a particular window.
Notably, if you want to design the windows to pick up winds so that there’s a cross-flow, you won’t need to make all the windows operational. Homeowners on a fixed budget can install fixed windows in a few places and spend the extra money on perfecting the quality.
Some Important Terms
Here are some additional terms you’ll need to keep in mind while shopping for windows:
This value indicates how quickly heat is transferred from warm to cold areas — the lower the value, the lower will be the speed of heat transfer. As such, you’ll have to look for lower numbers.
The R-value is another important aspect in this regard, as it’s the inverse of the U-value. So, if you can’t find the U-value, simply check this one — the higher it is, the better the insulation will be.
2. Low-E Coating
It means Low-Emissivity coating and refers to a film of metal oxide that lets the rays of the sun pass through but reflects infrared rays at night. Such coatings reduce the heat and light entering the window, but the losses aren’t severe compared to the heat loss when the nights are cold.
To ensure higher performance in a window, it might get two or even three low-E coatings. A well-insulated frame along with internal films will fetch you an overall high performance of around R20, which is quite commendable.
3. Energy Rating
Up next is a term that takes into account the design, construction, and all other performance values of the product to provide a rating somewhere between 0 and 50. Note that this will give you an idea about the resultant performance of the window.
4. Coefficient Of Solar Heat-Gain
Lastly, this coefficient measures the amount of solar heat entering the room through a glass pane and is gauged on a scale of 0 to 100. The higher this value, the better will be the solar gain.
Wooden Vs Aluminum Windows Frequently Asked Questions ?
What are double and triple-glazed windows?
Glazing refers to the use of glass panes in windows and gives rise to window types, namely, double and triple-glazed. While double-glazed windows have an interior cavity generally filled with krypton or argon gas, the triple-pane or triple-glazed variety offers another interior cavity. Note that using two cavities naturally increases the cost of the latter type, and it’s also heavier.
That said, triple-pane windows offer greater thermal protection, and you’re likely to recoup the additional cost in the form of energy savings. This implies they’ll keep you more comfortable while also reducing the chances of moisture damage owing to condensation.
Furthermore, experts have devised certain new technologies in the design of windows, whereby you get interior films instead of glass, reducing the weight and cost of the windows.
They might even come with double interior films that would create three distinct chambers. Plus, the gas-filled chamber of double-pane windows will offer an R-value of around 3 or 4, which would never exceed 5. These chambers will then add up to R12, which is why you’re sure to get better insulation.
How is the size of a window measured?
To measure a window in a residential space, note the height and the width of the opening at its bottom. Remember that the height and width are measured from one edge to another and are generally expressed in decimal or fractions.
As for the unit of measurement, it’s generally meter, feet, or millimeter. A popular practice while taking measurements of a window is to note the height and width in three different parts ( the center and the corners).
Are aluminum windows an eco-friendly option?
Aluminum comes with a low carbon footprint, which is why it reduces carbon emissions considerably. So, you won’t need to worry about its effect on the environment.
What are aluminum-clad wood windows?
Aluminum-clad windows use the combination of a protective shell of aluminum on the external part and natural wood on the internal surface. These windows are perfect for homeowners who prefer maintenance-free options but also don’t want to compromise on the insulation value. Moreover, they’re suited for harsh climates since they won’t dinge or dent, unlike many other window materials.
Wooden Vs Aluminum Windows Final Words
By now, we hope you’ve figured out the better alternative between the two. It’s time to complete your new home with the right window frames, so go ahead and get in touch with a reliable seller. But don’t forget to do your research before making an ideal pick, as the choice of window frames would affect the comfort of your rooms and their longevity too.
We’d also like to share a pro-tip with you before bringing down the curtains. After you finalize the framing material to go for, the next thing would be to pair them up with the right curtains or blinds to make for an effective window treatment.
That’s why it’s important to be equally careful while making a choice in this regard. Ultimately, this will safeguard the privacy of your home and facilitate proper light control.
Till next time, take care!