If you have made the decision to replace your windows, it’s important to have as much information as possible in order to make the right choice for your home, budget and lifestyle.
It’s likely that your current windows aren’t performing at their best, so upgrading to aluminium or uPVC windows could be the answer. Both materials have different characteristics and benefits, so we have put together this guide to help you decide which material is the most suitable for you.
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uPVC stands for Unplasticised Polyvinyl Chloride and it’s the material you’re most likely to see framing the windows of homes across the UK.
It’s a durable, very strong, and relatively cheap material that is known for its energy efficiency. It has very low thermal conductivity which stops heat escaping easily.
It is also fire resistant and recyclable, making it a great choice for homeowners looking to replace their windows.
uPVC windows are a popular choice for homeowners as they have many benefits including:
- uPVC is very energy efficient, so you will save money on your household bills.
- They are low maintenance and easy to clean.
- They keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
- New windows are attractive to potential buyers, so they are an investment.
- They waste less heat, so they are better for the environment.
- Various colours and finishes are available, including wood effect.
- They are very safe and secure, as they have multiple locking points.
- They help with soundproofing.
Aluminium is another option available, when choosing the material you would like for your window frames. They are a stylish choice for many types of home and as aluminium is a very durable material, your windows will last for many years to come.
It is made from ore, which is readily available, but the production of aluminium is not environmentally friendly and results in the production of multiple pollutants.
If you have large windows, or windows that are a non-standard design, a professional window installer will most likely recommend aluminium as it can be moulded to almost any design.
The mass production of uPVC has meant the popularity of aluminium windows has decreased, but there are benefits to this style of window:
- Aluminium is extremely durable, making them very cost effective.
- They are very strong.
- Aluminium has a larger range of colours available.
- They are very secure.
- Aluminium can be recycled.
- If your home is a more bespoke, aluminium is more suited to more complex window designs.
- Homes with panoramic views will benefit from aluminium windows, as the frames are slimline so take up less space than uPVC frames.
U-Values of windows
When researching your new windows, you may have come across the U-Value, but what does that mean? The U-value measures how effective a window is as an insulator of heat.
The lower the U-values, the more energy efficient the window is and the better it insulates.
The Uw- value is particularly important when choosing the material for your frames, as it shows the insulation quality without glazing.
Average U-value of uPVC windows
The numbers are calculated with a mathematical formula, but as a general guide, the average U-value of current uPVC windows is between 1.8 – 0.6
Average U-value of aluminium windows
For aluminium windows it is around 1.5 – 0.8. The lower the number, the less heat the windows will lose.
Each manufacturer is different, so check with your local window installer to get more detailed advice.
What are the similarities?
The similarities between uPVC and aluminium windows are:
- They can both be recycled multiple times.
- There is little difference between them when it comes to energy efficiency – both are excellent.
- They are both resistant to rot and will not warp.
- Both materials are very secure.
- Both have many different colours to choose from, although aluminium has more options.
- Aluminium and uPVC are both low maintenance.
- Both are weather resistant.
- Both can hold double and triple glazing.
What are the differences?
It’s essential to know the main differences between the two materials, so you can make an informed decision that’s right for you. The most notable differences are:
- Aluminium will last longer than uPVC.
- uPVC can discolour when exposed to intense sunlight, aluminium will not.
- The production of aluminium is more damaging to the environment.
- Aluminium is suited to more complex homes, as it does not need any supporting structures or reinforcement.
- Aluminium windows are more popular in commercial properties.
- Due to higher manufacturing costs, aluminium is more expensive than uPVC.
- uPVC has thicker frames than aluminium.
- uPVC has better soundproofing.
- Aluminium is considered a more stylish choice, adding more character to the home.
- As aluminium is so strong, it can handle larger and heavier glass panels.
What are the differences in costs?
The total cost of replacing your windows is a big factor in which style, material and glazing you choose. There are differences in the costs of uPVC and aluminium windows, including aluminium being around 30% more expensive than uPVC.
You should consider the following before you decide:
Get quotes from window installers
Once you have decided which material you will be using, you need to get quotes from local window experts. They will be able to use their specialist knowledge to answer any questions you may have and give you the best advice.
An expert window installer will have lots of experience in installing aluminium and uPVC windows, so you’ll know the work will be completed safely and professionally. Go online and search for local companies who will be happy to give you a quote today.