In this article, writer Karen Lawrence looks at the pros and cons of the latest products in window design.
By Karen Lawrence
You might remember the aluminium window frames of old – perhaps your home still has them now?
The lacklustre grey metal with basic double glazing was a popular choice a few decades ago for both windows and sliding patio doors, but their poor thermal efficiency left a lot to be desired, leading to cold spots and condensation.
New technology has now changed the way aluminium windows are made, and they have become the go-to choice for architects and homeowners alike. So are they right for your home?
Older aluminium windows were manufactured in one piece, allowing heat to be conducted easily throughout the window frame. As aluminium is such a good conductor of heat, these windows offered little insulation against cold weather or summer heat.
The feature that makes modern aluminium windows perform so much better is the ‘thermal break’ or thermal barrier. This is designed to prevent heat transferring from the inner frame to the outer frame, and is achieved by making the window frame in two halves. High strength polyamide, an insulating material that doesn’t conduct heat, is used to mechanically join together the two halves, maintaining the strength and rigidity of the frame.
The latest thermally broken aluminium windows and doors offer much better insulation and energy efficiency, with the added benefit of also being more soundproof due to reduced vibration between the inner and outer frame.
When considering replacement windows or extending your home, the other main window options are timber and uPVC.
Aluminium is a great choice because it’s strong, durable and virtually maintenance-free, doesn’t need to be stained or painted, and won’t rust or corrode. It is also an extremely stable material that won’t expand or contract – unlike timber and uPVC, which can distort when the temperature changes, making doors and windows harder to open and close.
If you have an eye on the budget, aluminium is an extremely cost-effective choice, generally beating both timber and uPVC on price.
Improved technical performance is not the only reason to choose aluminium windows and doors.
As Kelley Malcher, Refresh Renovation Specialist in the south of England, says: “Architects love to design with aluminium windows and bi-fold doors, which have become so trendy recently. Because the frames are much slimmer, more of your window will be glass, which is a massive benefit for most homes”.
Aluminium is very strong but lightweight, which means the frames can be very slim even when supporting large windows and doors. This enables you to maximise the glass area, allowing in more light and offering better views.
Another highly attractive feature of aluminium windows is the range of colour options available. The 200+ shades on offer include muted, natural tones, bright primary colours, pastels and metallics, in gloss, satin and matt finishes, and you can even choose different colours for the inside and outside of your frames.
The range and flexibility of design options mean that aluminium windows are a good choice for older, period homes as well as more modern architecture. Aluminium casement windows and French doors are available and cleverly designed, slim window frames can almost disappear, if desired, ensuring that original features remain the star of the show.
Of course, aluminium is also the perfect replacement for mid-century steel framed windows; so you can retain the trendy aesthetic while benefitting from modern levels of performance.
If you have an upcoming home improvement project, contact Refresh Renovations to find out more about selecting and installing windows that will enhance the comfort and beauty of your home.
You may also be interested in checking out this article on window dressing prices and options
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If you would like to find out how Refresh Renovations can support you with a high quality, efficient home renovation, get in touch today. Your local Refresh consultant will be happy to meet with you for a free, no obligations consultation.