|Aluminum Picture Windows|
Aluminum windows have slim but durable frames combined with insulated glass units. Architects and builders have long appreciated aluminum windows for their overall strength, lasting value, and ability to configure into large combinations to maximize views. This is especially important in case of Eichlers, where unobstructed view is among the most prized features. Thin aluminum frames make windows invisible, as if your Eichler’s roof is flowing in mid-air. However, for all their benefits, aluminum windows have some considerable drawbacks.
First, while aluminum frames do a good job at keeping the rain and wind out, where they lack is keeping the heat in. Aluminum or metal frames conduct heat easily, earning them a high U-value (the higher the U-value, the more heat a frame loses). This means that your heater and air conditioner will work more and consume more electricity. The U-value of aluminum frames can be as high as 2, compared to vinyl or wood frames which have low U-values (0.3 to 0.5). Aluminum frames also tend to feel cold to the touch and are prone to condensation. Condensation creates the most pleasant environment for mold and mildew and can endanger your health!
Moreover, aluminum corrodes and therefore needs to be protected from the elements by various sealants and coatings. This is especially problematic for less expensive windows because their frames are joined by screws. This joints oxidize and corrode first, allowing moisture trough the frame and into your home. More expensive windows feature fusion-welded frames, which prevents corrosion.
Finally, aluminum windows are among the most expensive on the market. That is, high-quality windows are expensive. Their high price can be an overkill to your remodeling budget, but if you want to install aluminum, buying high-quality product is the only way to go. Remember, quality of aluminum windows differs drastically and while buying the best (and the most expensive product) is not always an option; cheap aluminum windows will simply waste your money.