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Aluminium window guide

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If you’re looking for new windows, you may be considering other window frame materials as an alternative to the popular uPVC type. Each material has its own properties of course, and will give your house a very different look. Material type will also affect factors such as the cost and insulation, both in terms of heat and noise.

In this guide, you’ll learn about the different styles of aluminium windows, the various glazing options that are available for this window type, the pros and cons and, importantly, windows prices. Let’s dig in.

What is an aluminium window?

Lightweight and more durable compared with other popular window-frame materials – such as uPVC, wood and composite – metal window frames made from aluminium have many advantages that make them a popular choice for homeowners. Aluminium window frames are low-maintenance, strong and long-lasting, all while offering a stylish and modern aesthetic.

As aluminium is a strong yet lightweight metal, it enables thinner window frames to be manufactured, without compromising the structural integrity of the window. These window frames are also able to resist rot and rust, and are thus the perfect choice for properties near the sea or those that are exposed to extreme weather conditions.

Aluminium windows are often used due to their aesthetic appeal; they have a modern appearance that complements contemporary property styles. Aluminium windows are versatile when it comes to design, as they can be powder coated in practically any colour and have various finish options to suit the design of most properties.

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What styles do aluminium windows come in?

Aluminium window styles
Aluminium windows come in all the typical styles, and you can even mix and match different types, such as fixed and casement windows (Adobe)

Aluminium windows are available in a range of window style options, with the most popular being:

Here, we take a closer look at the key features of each style of aluminium window.

Casement aluminium windows

Casement aluminium windows are a popular and minimalist style of window. The window can be opened outwardly like a door, on hinges on either the left- or right-hand side of the window. Casement windows allow uninterrupted views and, when open, provide optimal ventilation inside a room.

Sash aluminium windows

Sash aluminium windows complement both modern and traditional properties, thanks to their minimal design. A sash window offers varying opening options, with two vertically sliding windowpanes that can be opened in various configurations.

Aluminium windows manufactured in the sliding window style are often seen in more modern properties. This style enables the windowpanes to open by sliding them horizontally along a window track, making them a great option for saving space. This type of window allows for varying levels of ventilation inside a room.

Bay aluminium windows

Bay aluminium windows protrude from the main wall of a property, usually with three windowpanes, including a larger pane in the centre and two smaller windows on either side that are positioned at either 30-, 45- or 90-degree angles to create an angular or rectangular shape. Aluminium bay windows create additional space within a property, add to its character and aesthetic and offer panoramic views from inside.

Bow aluminium windows

Similar to bay aluminium windows, bow aluminium windows also protrude from a property’s main wall but typically have between four and six windowpanes, arranged at smaller angles to create a consistent curved shape. Bow windows also provide panoramic views and additional internal space.

Aluminium tilt-and-turn windows

Aluminium tilt-and-turn windows offer a unique combination of two inward-opening options. The first option is an inward opening like that of a door, whereby the window opens on a side hinge inwardly to the property, allowing good levels of ventilation and the option to easily clean both sides of the window from inside the property. The second opening option allows the window to open inwardly, tilting from a hinge at the bottom of the window to enable a smaller opening at the top of the window. Aluminium tilt-and-turn windows are popular due to their security benefits and ventilation options.

Aluminium fixed window

Also known as an aluminium picture window, an aluminium fixed window is a style of window that has no openings, and is often used within a combination of other window styles to allow for ventilation. Fixed, or picture, windows provide uninterrupted views and allow for the optimum amount of natural light to enter a room.

Aluminium awning windows

Awning windows manufactured from aluminium have a hinge at the top of the window, allowing the window to open outwardly from the bottom. They offer great ventilation on rainy days, as the window can be opened without letting any rain into the property.

When choosing the right style of aluminium window for your home, consider factors such as opening options, ventilation and views in addition to specific design requirements.

Glass options for aluminium windows

The most popular types of glass for aluminium windows are:

  • Double glazing 
  • Triple glazing
  • Decorative 
  • Frosted 
  • Tinted 
  • Low emission

Below, we’ve summarised the features of each of the above options.

Double-glazed glass

Double-glazed windows are manufactured with two panes of glass that are separated by an air-sealed space. It’s a popular glass option for aluminium windows, due to its energy efficiency and benefits in terms of reducing exterior noise. Double glazing also helps to keep the indoor temperature more comfortable, compared with single glazing, by limiting heat transfer from windows.

Triple-glazed windows

Triple-glazed windows are manufactured in the same way as double-glazed ones but with an extra pane of glass and an extra air-sealed space between the second and third panes. Triple glazing offers greater energy efficiency and allows for even less exterior noise to enter the home. However, due to the additional pane of glass used, triple glazing does come at a higher cost and reduces the natural light entering a room.

Decorative and frosted glass

Decorative glass can be configured to meet practically any design requirements to add a desired aesthetic to the home. Popular types of decorative glass for use in aluminium windows include leaded, stained or patterned glass.

Normally used in bathroom windows, or in windows in rooms that require additional privacy, frosted glass is available in a range of different pattern options, from modern to more traditional patterns. It obscures the view from both sides of the window while allowing natural light to enter the room.

Tinted glass

Tinted glass is used in aluminium windows to reduce the amount of light and heat transmitted via the window. This glass type is a popular choice for windows that encounter a high amount of glare from the sun, as they can help to reduce the strength of UV rays entering a room via the window.

One of the most energy-efficient glass types for aluminium windows is low-emission glass, which has a thin layer of film within the glass to reduce the amount of heat escaping from a window during the colder months by reflecting heat back inside the property. The film used within low-emission glass reduces the strength of UV rays entering a property, which also impacts how much natural light comes through the window.

To decide which type of glass is most suitable for your aluminium windows, consider what your preferences are regarding privacy, design, energy efficiency, noise reduction and UV ray reduction.

How much do aluminium windows cost?

Cost of aluminium windows installation
The cost of installing aluminium windows depends on a number of factors (Adobe)

A number of factors will influence the cost of aluminium windows, including the type of windows required, the glass option chosen, the window manufacturer used, the property’s location, additional design or security requirements and, most importantly, the quantity of windows required and their individual sizes.

The style of window will impact the cost of aluminium windows. For example, in the UK, the average cost for an aluminium casement window is between £450 and £650. In comparison, the average cost of an aluminium bay window is between £1,500 and £1,700. The same can be said for the type of glass opted for, with the average double-glazed aluminium window in the UK costing between £400 and £700 and the average aluminium low-emission glass window costing between £800 and £950.

Costs for aluminium windows will vary based on the supplier used and the property’s location. It’s likely that there will be fluctuations in the cost of aluminium windows in certain regions within the UK where labour and general business costs are higher. Suppliers also have varying costs when it comes to supplying and installing aluminium windows, so it’s recommended to obtain several local quotes from reputable local suppliers to ensure that you get the best value quote for installing aluminium windows in your home.

Additional and bespoke design features, in addition to any added security or window hardware requirements, will add to the cost of aluminium windows. Thus, consider any design or security requirements prior to requesting a quote for aluminium windows, so that these are included in the costs you receive. 

Two of the main factors that can impact the overall cost of adding aluminium windows to a property are the number of individual windows required and the size of each of these windows. The higher the quantity of windows and the larger the individual windows, the higher the cost is likely to be. The average cost of an individual aluminium window in the UK is £500.

Aluminium windows pros and cons

There are a number of advantages and disadvantages to aluminium windows:

Advantages

  • Durability and strength
  • Design options
  • Modern aesthetic
  • Low maintenance
  • Recyclability

Disadvantages

  • Upfront cost
  • Thermal efficiency 
  • Noise transmission
  • Condensation

Let’s look at some of the advantages in more detail.

Durability and strength

Being both strong and lightweight, the strength of aluminium allows you to achieve windows with stylish, slim profiles that are still as structurally sound as wider window frame equivalents made from other materials. Aluminium has properties that make it highly resistant to rust and rot, so this is a durable material that’s particularly useful in coastal areas and areas exposed to extreme weather.

Design options

A key advantage of aluminium windows is the number of design options available. Not only are these windows available in many window styles, they can also be powder coated in practically any colour, and a range of finishes are available, making them suitable for most styles of home.

Low maintenance

Requiring very little maintenance, aluminium windows can last between 20 and 40 years on average, so they’re an excellent choice for homeowners who are looking for a long-lasting and low-maintenance option. They’re easy to clean and rarely require work, unlike other frame materials, such as wood.

A popular choice for owners of modern and contemporary properties, aluminium windows are renowned for their design versatility, modern aesthetics and slim profiles. Also, they provide unobstructed views by allowing for a wider glass area.

Eco-friendly

Aluminium windows are an eco-friendlier window frame option. They’re one of the longer-lasting window frame material options, and even when they do need to be replaced, you can recycle the frames, as aluminium is a widely recycled material.

Now, we’ll take a look at some of the disadvantages to consider when deciding if aluminium windows are the right choice for your home:

Cost

Aluminium window frames tend to be one of the more expensive window frame options, incurring a higher upfront cost compared with uPVC windows, for example. While the initial cost is higher, it’s important to note that aluminium windows typically last longer and have fewer maintenance requirements compared with other materials, which may result in cost savings in the long term. Other ways to save money could be utilising a double glazed window grant but you must check eligibility first.

Noise transmission

Aluminium windows may not be the best option for homes in built-up urban areas or noisy areas, such as those next to a busy road. This is because aluminium transmits noise more than other window material options and may lead to higher levels of external noise entering a property.

Thermally inefficient

Aluminium windows are not typically the most thermally efficient window material option, as aluminium is a good thermal conductor, which can lead to thermal loss and gain via the aluminium window frames. However, this can be remedied with insulation and thermal breaks.

Prone to condensation

Aluminium windows are more likely to experience condensation during colder weather, which could potentially lead to issues related to moisture around the window if not properly maintained.

Homeowners are advised to address their own individual window requirements and consider the advantages and disadvantages of aluminium windows when making any decisions regarding installing aluminium windows at a property.

What to look for in an aluminium window quote

When requesting quotes, homeowners should look for specific items in the document; the quote should reflect the desired design and style specifications, include the supply and installation costs involved and identify guarantees and warranties offered. Also, ensure that the company giving the quote is reputable.

It’s advisable to have an idea of the number of aluminium windows required and what style you seek in addition to the preferred hardware, design, security and glazing options prior to obtaining an aluminium window quote. This will ensure that the quotes received are a true reflection of your desired specification and that what is being quoted for is in line with your expectations.

Supply and installation costs will most likely vary depending on the companies chosen to provide a quote and their regional location, so examine the supply and labour costs in order to find the best value quote.

The cost of aluminium windows is a key factor to look at, but the reputation of the company that is quoting to supply and install aluminium windows is just as important. A reputable company is more likely to supply good-quality windows and install them properly.

It’s recommended to always look at any guarantees and warranties that are offered by the companies providing quotes for aluminium windows. These should apply to the window itself as well as the installation. Guarantees and warranties offer protection should the window or fitting fall below the expected standard and could maximise the longevity of new windows.

We advise that when considering new aluminium windows for your home you obtain multiple quotes from local window installers to find the best value and to get a more accurate idea of the cost of aluminium windows to meet your own specifications.

Frequently asked questions about aluminium windows

Yes, aluminium windows do tend to be a more expensive option compared with other window materials, such as uPVC or composite. The overall cost of aluminium windows will vary based on window sizes, the number of windows required, window style and any design or security features added.

The additional costs for aluminium windows are generally due to material cost, manufacturing processes and design flexibility.

The material cost of aluminium is higher compared with alternatives such as composite and uPVC. In addition, aluminium has properties that make it more durable and hard-wearing than alternatives, which contributes to the higher cost of aluminium windows.

The manufacturing and production of aluminium windows requires a more detailed process to be followed than for alternative materials, adding to the overall cost of the window.

Aluminium windows are easy to customise, allowing for design flexibility, which comes with a higher price tag. It should be noted that the costs of standard aluminium window sizes, styles and designs can be only marginally more expensive than cheaper alternatives, but more bespoke requirements will normally incur higher costs, and obtaining multiple quotes is advisable to find the best price.

When considering the cost of aluminium windows, keep in mind that while they typically have a higher up-front cost, they may work out to be more cost effective in the long run due to their durability and low maintenance.

On average, good-quality and well-installed aluminium windows will last between 20 and 40 years. If they’re well maintained, they can last even longer.

How long aluminium windows last for is dependent on the window’s manufacture, installation and maintenance and the weather conditions they’re exposed to.

If aluminium windows are manufactured in line with industry standards, are made from good-quality materials and have appropriate protective coatings, they’re more likely to last longer than aluminium windows that aren’t made from high-quality alloys or those that are uncoated and therefore more prone to corrosion.

The long-term performance of aluminium windows is largely dependent on the quality of installation. Well-installed aluminium windows will endure wear and tear over time much more effectively than poorly installed windows.

Proper care and maintenance of aluminium windows will prolong their lifespan. Gentle handling of windows, especially those that are frequently opened and closed, is advised, as is regular cleaning, lubrication of window mechanisms and swiftly addressing any operational issues. While aluminium window frames are very long lasting, hardware, such as handles and other mechanisms, is likely to require maintenance or replacement over time.

If an aluminium window is subjected to extreme heat or cold weather conditions over time, this can affect its longevity, as will exposure in coastal areas, where salt can cause corrosive damage.

As the lifespan of aluminium windows is largely dependent on their quality and installation, it’s wise to only source aluminium windows from reputable suppliers.

Both aluminium windows and uPVC windows are popular with homeowners, with each material having its pros and cons. Ultimately, it comes down to individual requirements when deciding if aluminium or uPVC windows are the best choice for your home.

The cost of uPVC windows will generally be lower than the cost of aluminium windows because of the lower material costs and simpler manufacturing methods. Aluminium is a more expensive material to source, requiring an intricate and costly manufacturing process. It should be noted that the cost difference is not normally significant when looking at standard window sizes.

A key feature of aluminium windows is their design flexibility and slim profiles, which complement modern properties and contemporary architecture. uPVC windows, while having lots of design options to choose from, are not typically seen as being as stylish as aluminium alternatives.

Both aluminium and uPVC window options are considered to be durable and easy to maintain, with aluminium windows able to withstand extreme and corrosive weather conditions over time and uPVC more resistant to superficial damage, such as staining and scratching. 

uPVC windows are the more energy-efficient choice. uPVC is not a good heat conductor, so less heat escapes from the window compared with aluminium-framed windows. For this reason, many homeowners who live in particularly cold regions or who are concerned about energy efficiency and reducing heating costs tend to opt for uPVC over aluminium.

Other factors to consider include the fact that aluminium windows are more prone to condensation. Condensation on aluminium windows can often result in moisture building around a window over time, which should be addressed periodically to ensure that no damage is being caused by the moisture. Also, aluminium windows are widely recycled, which can make it a favourable material choice for homeowners wanting a more environmentally friendly window option.

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Liz is a distinguished author and a leading voice in the realm of home improvements. With an unwavering dedication to sustainable living, she brings a wealth of expertise as a home improvements connoisseur, specialising in energy-efficient enhancements.

With a particular emphasis on reducing energy consumption, Liz’s passion shines through in her advocacy for upgrades like double glazing windows. 

Through her insightful writing, Liz empowers homeowners to embrace greener lifestyles without compromising on comfort or style. Her articles, guides, and expert opinions provide practical, step-by-step advice for those eager to make a positive environmental impact. Whether you’re a DIY enthusiast or a homeowner seeking to curate a more sustainable space, Liz offers a wealth of knowledge to inspire and guide your home improvement journey.

Molly Dyson

Editor

After growing up with a passion for writing, Molly studied journalism and creative writing at university in her home country of the United States.

She has written for a variety of print and online publications, from small town newspapers to international magazines. Most of her 10-year career since relocating to the UK has been spent in business journalism, writing and editing for admin professionals at PA Life magazine and business travel managers at Business Travel News Europe and representing those titles at conferences around the world.

Now an Editor at the Independent Advisor, Molly is an expert in a broad range of consumer topics, that include solar panels and renewables, home improvements and home insurance, and consumer technology such as home security and VPNs.

In her free time, Molly can usually be found exploring the outdoors with her husband and their young son or gardening.