The Pros and Cons of Aluminium Windows and Doors
Aluminium enjoys immense popularity as a material for window and door frames. It can be seen on countless homes and buildings around the country. New construction projects often choose it over other options due to its highly desirable properties. Major renovations may involve the replacement of old fixtures with aluminium variants. Of course, no material can be said to be perfect for every occasion and this one is no exception. Sometimes it is undoubtedly the best given the requirements but at other times it is unsuitable given its own drawbacks. Here we list the pros and cons of aluminium windows and doors:
Appearance - Aluminium is an excellent fit for those who are going for a modernist aesthetic. The frames look simple yet functional. They often come with straight lines with little to no embellishments. However, they can take on a wide range of colours to match the rest of the building. This may be done through powder coating or through regular painting. Builders should use a good brand of paint that can endure harsh weather. Constant exposure to the glaring heat of the sun along with the pouring rain can cause cracking and chipping. The blemishes could become quite an eyesore.
Durability - Resilience is one of the important criteria when choosing building components. By this standard, aluminium reigns supreme over other framing materials like vinyl and wood. Its inherent strength results in products that are structurally sound. There will be no need to worry about breakage. The frames are also resistant to corrosion and decay. Unlike wooden variants, they will not rot away rapidly over time. Moisture and insects will not be able to eat away into the material so everything stays pristine for many years. In fact, aluminium doors and windows are known to last for generations.
Design - Aluminium can be adapted to suit a wide range of projects. In large buildings, designers will usually go for this material as its strength-to-weight ratio is outstanding. They can create huge windows all around the structure without worrying about the loads. The frames can also be made thinner than other options which make them seem sleek and stylish. Vinyl is not nearly as strong so frames using it have to be made thicker to support the glass and withstand pressure. The same is true with wood, though some decide to overlook this flaw when going for a classic style.
Sustainability - The construction industry is notorious for generating a terrible amount of waste in every project. Different ways have been explored to minimise the impact on the environment including the use of sustainable materials and recycling. Aluminium is a perfect fit for the green movement as it is infinitely recyclable. The metal can be melted and used to form other products without any degradation of quality. This makes it unnecessary to mine so much ores every year. Instead of disposing old frames for the landfill, they can be taken to a recycling facility at the end of their long lifespan.
Conduction - The number one problem with aluminium is that it is highly conductive. In other contexts, this would be an ideal property. When it comes to doors and windows, however, this is quite a headache. High conductivity means that the heat from the outside gets easily absorbed by the frames which in turn transfer it to the inside of the building. In the summer, it will take a lot more energy to cool down the rooms. In the winter, it will be harder to keep things warm. The solution to this is to use frames that have thermal breaks. These serve to insulate the interior from the outside temperatures. Vinyl is typically utilised for this purpose. Note that these special frames come with higher price tags.
Condensation - Related to the conductivity problem is the phenomenon of condensation. In humid areas, droplets may form on the glass or the frame because they are colder than the dew point of water. This is not only an aesthetic issue but one that concerns the health of the whole family. The constant moisture can lead to the growth or fungi and bacteria. Those that have allergies can suffer from frequent breakouts which are dangerous, inconvenient and costly. In order to fix this, the entire window may have to be replaced with one that has thermal breaks. Sometimes only the glass needs replacement with low emissivity options. Using a dehumidifier will help as well.
Maintenance - Aluminium windows are often bare. The moving components are allowed to rub against each other since they are virtually indestructible. However, the friction of metal on metal can create problems over time. Panels could get jammed or perpetually stuck. It is better to avoid these from the start by lubricating the surfaces that make contact. This should be done on a regular basis to ensure smooth transitions. It is especially necessary for painted frames so as to preserve the colour. In comparison, vinyl doesn't need as much maintenance but wood demands a good deal of attention to avert premature breakdown.
When it comes to doors and windows, people have three main choices: wood, vinyl and aluminium. Wood has been used for ages and is considered as a safe bet for most applications. It lends a natural glow to a room particularly when the grains are exposed. However, it is not as durable compared to the other two. Extreme heat and cold will take its toll on the material relatively fast. Vinyl is quickly becoming a favoured option thanks to its excellent insulation though it still lags behind in terms of durability, strength and versatility. Meanwhile, aluminium is considered the best when it comes to longevity and cost-effectiveness.