Compare Aluminum vs Wood Windows

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Aluminum vs Wood Windows

If you are deciding between aluminum vs. wood windows there are 4 main factors to take into account before making your decision. Aluminum is a strong material that is more modern looking, but lacks the energy efficient qualities that make it ideal for most homeowners. For those who love the look of real wood and don't mind an expense and maintenance required for wood clad windows, then this is a great option.

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Aluminum windows are extremely strong, which is why they are used in schools and businesses. In the resiential market, most aluminum windows will actually carry a rating to let you know what applications they are rated for. Wood windows are not nearly as strong, although any well made wood clad window is sufficient in strength for 99% of all homes. At the end of the day, strnegth is much less important than the quality, design and workmandship of the frame, glass ,seals, hardware, spacers etc.


It's tough to argue that a beautiful wood window doesn't blow every other frame type out of the water...unless you like the commercial look of aluminum windows (or steel but there are so few manufacturers that they will be a complete custom job and probably very pricey). Most wood clad windows come with an exterior vinyl or aluminum so they will take on the look of these materials from the outside. On the inside, the wood can be stained or painted to take on any number of looks. Most people will protect it with some stain, but will generally keep them looking as natural as possible to see the natural wood grain and texture.

Energy Efficiency

Thermally broken aluminum windows are not very energy efficient when compared to other frame types. This is the big knock on the material and the reason that most homeowners opt for vinyl or fiberglass. Wood windows provide decent performance numbers, but they really can't touch high end vinyl or fiberglass. Vinyl vs Fiberglass Windows In general, neither of these two materials is super energy efficient, but aluminum is on the bottom of this category.

Cost & Value

Comparing the cost of aluminum vs wood windows is an interesting conversation considering that many wood clad windows use aluminum on the exterior to protect the windows. In this case, there is no cost difference since they are the exact same thing; $500 to $1500 installed. This is a huge range because high end manufacturers like Andersen and Loewen make incredibly beautiful and expensive products. The Marvin Integrity, for instance, can have a wood interior and fiberglass exterior and should run something like $650 installed and is a very nice window from a very well regarded manufacturer. Thermally broken aluminum windows on the other hand use aluminum on both the interior and exterior. These windows are less expensive than the wood variety - the replacement window cost is more expensive than fiberglass windows; think $500 to $750 installed.

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