Choosing Vinyl vs Aluminum Windows

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The main differences between aluminum and vinyl windows are their cost, durability, and appearance, and each choice comes with pros and cons. Before you invest in new windows, make sure you understand which option will be best suited to your needs. 
With greater options for stylish and low-maintenance windows than ever before, it can be tricky to figure out the best choice of window for your home. Do you prioritize modern looks? Or is energy efficiency your priority? 
To ease your decision-making, auto and home insurance super app Jerry has compiled a guide of all of the factors to consider.
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Vinyl vs aluminum windows: What to consider

The low maintenance and durability of vinyl and aluminum windows have made them the top picks for window installations and replacements. While both are great options, vinyl and aluminum windows do differ in their appearance, cost, and energy efficiency, among other factors.
To understand what you can expect with each window choice, review the factors below.

Appearance

The appearance and style of different window types can play a vital role in your decision-making process. Typically, aluminum windows as the sleek, modern choice, while vinyl windows offer a more conventional look.
The thin framing and metallic silver finish of aluminum windows are stylistically fitting for contemporary homes. However, aluminum cannot be painted over, so be sure you like the window’s appearance without any additional paint or coating. Additionally, the thin framing can be susceptible to weathering and rusting over time.
Vinyl window frames, on the other hand, have a thicker, wood-grain texture, and can be a great option for homeowners who prefer a traditionally styled window. These windows tend to look plain, but they can be painted over to rejuvenate their appearance.

Cost

Vinyl windows are significantly less expensive than aluminum—often33-58% less. While the window manufacturer, quality, and size all contribute to the cost, you generally will pay less for the purchase and installation of vinyl windows. On average, the cost of one aluminum window is $350 more expensive to purchase and install than one vinyl window. 
A 48-inch vinyl window ranges between $520 and $730 with installation fees averaging around $250. Aluminum windows of the same size can cost anywhere from $720 to $930 with higher installation costs of $350 per window. 

Durability

Aluminum windows are typically more durable than vinyl. The flexible material of vinyl windows can warp and stretch under extreme weather conditions while aluminum windows maintain their shape regardless of weather exposure.
Keep in mind, however, that your aluminum windows may corrode over time—a problem you won’t run into with vinyl windows.

Maintenance

Vinyl windows are considered virtually maintenance-free apart from occasional caulking needed to prevent airflow and temperature-induced warping. 
Aluminum windows are also fairly low maintenance, but they may require more care than their vinyl counterparts. For example, you may need to clean the aluminum with a special cleaning solution and manage the condensation buildup on aluminum windows to prevent rusting and molding over time

Installation

Installation of vinyl windows is typically easier and faster than that of aluminum windows because of the material’s flexibility. The rigidity of aluminum windows makes for a difficult installation process and requires greater attention to specific measurements.
Keep in mind that it is possible to install windows on your own, but it is generally recommended that homeowners avoid the risk of an improper installation and opt for a professional’s help.

Energy efficiency

While aluminum and vinyl windows are comparable in some categories, vinyl windows are the clear choice for energy efficiency. Vinyl material minimizes heat transfer and light penetration thereby improving insulation and regulating the temperature of homes.
Aluminum windows are heat and cold conductors, making them a less energy-efficient option. There are thermally improved, advanced aluminum options available that work to prevent thermal energy loss, but these do come at a higher price point.
Key takeaway Vinyl windows are less expensive, more energy-efficient, and easier to install than aluminum windows. Aluminum windows, however, are the better option when it comes to durability and modern appearance.

Does home insurance cover windows?

Window replacements are covered under most standard insurance policies if the damage was a direct result of a peril named in the policy. 
If a covered peril—such as a fire, windstorm, hail, falling objects, or vandalism—caused damage to your windows, your policy will take care of the repairs. On the other hand, if your windows need to be replaced due to regular wear and tear or poor maintenance, your policy will not cover the cost of repairs.
You’ll have to pay a deductible before your insurance will cover the costs of your window replacement. If the cost of your deductible exceeds that of the replacement, you won’t have coverage from your policy.
If you need clarification on the perils covered by your insurance or have any questions regarding your policy, contact your insurance provider for more information.

Find the right home insurance

With all of the options available, choosing the right windows can be overwhelming—but choosing your home insurance shouldn’t be that hard! 
Fortunately, the home and car insurance app Jerry makes insurance shopping easier than it’s ever been. In just 45 seconds, Jerry will compare quotes from top providers to find you the best deals. Jerry can even cancel your existing policy for you! 
 “Jerry was wonderful! I used it for my auto and renters policies. I trusted it so much that I signed up my homeowners insurance under Jerry as well. All of the agents are amazingly nice and knowledgeable.” —Mary Y.
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FAQs

Aluminum is the stronger window, with a higher impact ratio and greater ability to withstand extreme weather conditions.
Aluminum windows are typically more expensive than vinyl, with the average cost of 10 48-inch windows sitting at $7,700-$9,800 for vinyl and $10,700-$12,800 for aluminum.

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