Best Aluminum Windows
When people talk about the best aluminum windows, there are two very different frames types in the discussion. The first is an all aluminum frame, also known as a thermally broken aluminum, which is a very strong window, but is very energy inefficient compared to other frame types. The second is an aluminum clad window, which is a wood interior and aluminum exterior, typically the most expensive window frame with solid efficiency numbers.
Top Thermally Broken Aluminum Windows
Thermally broken windows are very strong and can stand up to very warm temperatures, making them ideal for warm states like Texas and Oklahoma, but beside avoided in colder climates.
Don Young 8200 Series
My top aluminum window is probably the 8200 series from Don Young. The company has a number of manufacturing plants in Texas and Oklahoma and should have plenty of coverage out there. Typically, their aluminum window series are priced out fairly and Don Young enjoys a good reputation in the industry. This would be the first place I would look for thermally broken aluminum windows.
NT Twinsulator Series
My second favorite aluminum window is the Twinsulator from NT Windows. A solid performer and like most well made aluminum windows, tough as hell. NT is a Texas based company that should have coverage throughout the state.
Gerkin Aluminum Windows
Gerkin is a smaller, more regional window manufacturer that enjoys a good reputation by most contractors who know the brand. They are often mentioned as for aluminum windows, allow we have no specific performance numbers
Milgard Aluminum Windows
Milgard is considered a good mid range window company that makes a good product at reasonable prices. The same seems to apply to their aluminum windows, although we haven't found any specific reviews on their aluminum frames. Read additional Milgard windows reviews.
Jeld Wen Aluminum Windows
Jeld Wen is a larger manufacturer, although they get mixed reviews from contractors; some thing their products are not the greatest of quality, while others like the customer service they offer and feel they are a decent value for the cost of the windows.
Top Aluminum Clad Windows
Marvin Ultimate is a wood interior, aluminum clad exterior that comes in a whole host of options - lots of color, siez and hardware options. Interior wood choices include white oak, mahogany, douglas pine, fir, and cherry, which offers easy customization for a unique but classic look. With a lot of upgrades and custom options offered, Marvin windows can cost $1000 per window. The window offers decent numbers; DP50 rating, U-value 0.31.
Loewen's main line of windows is a wood clad that comes in several styles: bay and bow, picture, access, specialty, and transom, awning, and the more traditional casements and double hungs. The interior can be either Douglas Fir or mahogany, and the exterior features extruded aluminum cladding and a Kynar finish. Loewen offers two separate color lines for the exterior finish, either standard colors or the architectural color collection. A Low-e2 glass package comes standard.
Thermal Enhanced Aluminum Windows Question
Dear Sir; I have noticed that a few window companies are now making "thermal enhanced" aluminum replacement windows. This being done to mitigate the metal transfer problem in cold/hot weather climates.
[Site Editor's Answer]
Gary, a thermal enhanced or thermally broken window is a big improvement over single pane aluminum windows from the 1950s. However, they still don't come anywhere close to vinyl/fiberglass/composite in terms of energy efficiency. They are used in most commercial applications as they are much stronger than these materials. In the residential market, they are used in very hot climates like Dallas where their strength and ability to handle heat outweighs their downsides.
Wow, thank you so much for all the fine information you sent. I will take your advice and eliminate the thermal aluminum makes as not a good idea for WI winters and a few really hot summer weeks per year.
[Site Editor's Answer]
Gary, there is contraction with vinyl, although much less these days as they have gereatly refined the materials and process. You will find the Okna rep in your area pushing a composite frame, which is an excellent option...but it is quite expensive. Marvin sells a great fiberglass window in the Elevate, but again it is quite expensive. I still think a high quality vinyl window is the most cost effective option for many consumers. If you can afford to spend the $900 plus per window that you would be looking at and you plan to be in your home long term, then it is an excellent investment.