uPVC frames and aluminium frames are two of the most popular window options for Melbourne homes. Wondering which is the best solution for your home? To answer this question, we must consider the advantages and disadvantages of each window frame type.
uPVC window frames are constructed from a particular type of PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride). uPVC, unlike PVC, has been treated to create a rigid, durable, and sustainable composition. On the other hand, aluminium windows have frames manufactured from lightweight but robust and stiff metal. While both types of windows are widely used, they each have their own set of pros and cons.
There are several benefits to investing in uPVC windows for your Australian home or office. We can start with the fact that they are very affordable, with a lower buy-in price when you compare against the closest performance equivalent in aluminium windows, which is represented by the thermally-broken aluminium windows.
uPVC windows are also highly energy-efficient and can significantly reduce your heating and cooling bills because of the excellent thermal insulation they provide. This means that they can do an excellent job in the hot months at keeping the temperature in your home well regulated–and the same is true for the cold months too.
Thermal insulation isn’t the only aspect of your neighbourhood they can keep outside. Thanks to being a multi-chambered system (see photo), uPVC window frames also provide exceptional noise insulation, allowing you to enjoy the view without the noises that might disturb or distract you (especially in commercial or urban areas).
uPVC windows are highly durable. You don’t need to worry about mould growth or termites because they are naturally non-porous and highly resistant to corrosion, condensation, warping, fading, peeling and rot. In addition, unlike their aluminium window frame counterparts, uPVC windows are easy to clean and maintain. In the vast majority of cases, there are no special cleaning products needed, and they can usually be cleaned with a soft cloth and soapy water.
For those in areas where bushfires are a danger, uPVC windows work very well. uPVC frames are naturally flame retardant and fire-resistant. In fact, double-glazed uPVC windows are recommended for zones where the risk is BAL 29 (Bushfire Attack Level -19 to 29kW/m2), and thanks to being galvanised steel-reinforced, these window frames can withstand the requirements for BAL 40 (Bushfire Attack Level – 29 to 40kW/m2).
uPVC windows are 100% recyclable, with some recyclable up to 10 times, and because they reduce energy bills, they are a highly sustainable, environmentally friendly option. Finally, uPVC windows have become popular to the point that they’re now a high-demand product.
There are cons to uPVC windows as well. One of the significant limitations lies in how lightweight they are. While lightweight window solutions may be the perfect choice for some installations, they are unsuitable for others, such as high-rise buildings.
uPVC windows have a reputation for limited colour customisation, but the available options for these windows are rapidly advancing. They can be customised with durable, attractive laminating foil (see photo) that can enhance your home or office aesthetic. uPVC windows also tend to have bulkier framing, but some slimline options are available depending on the seller.
However, there is a double-edged sword, so to speak, when it comes to the growing popularity of uPVC windows: there can be issues with availability. But, again, this speaks to how satisfied people like you have been with their investments in these windows.
Now that we’ve reviewed the pros and cons of uPVC windows, it’s time to take a look at aluminium windows.
Aluminium windows are known for their lightweight and durable design. They don’t have the issues with bulkiness that uPVC windows can have, and less material is needed to provide the same level of stiffness. Additionally, their weight makes them easier to install, and their lightweight aspect also means that they offer a very slim profile.
Aluminium frames are weather-resistant and far more corrosion-resistant than other options such as wood frames. These frames also contribute excellent durability, long life, and warp resistance. Overall, aluminium frames make for a good, cost-efficient investment.
Suppose you’re concerned about the aesthetic and beauty of your home. Aluminium windows come in a wide range of highly durable colours. Aluminium frames are also easier to shape into complex geometries than other frame materials, such as timber. Lastly, aluminium frames have a slim, modern aesthetic that you might find very appealing.
Another benefit of aluminium frames is their environmental friendliness and recyclability. However, they don’t have the same ability to reduce your energy bills that uPVC possesses, which means they aren’t as sustainable.
One of the primary drawbacks of aluminium frames is metal, which means they have a higher thermal conductivity. This means that aluminium windows don’t provide the same level of insulation that uPVC frames can. Unfortunately, aluminium windows aren’t as efficient and can’t reduce your energy bills to the same level as uPVC frames.
Their thermal conductivity also means that aluminium frames are more susceptible to condensation, leading to potentially problematic and dangerous mould development. Mould development also makes them a bit more challenging to clean. Aluminium windows not only lack thermal insulation but also don’t insulate well against noise either.
It’s good to keep in mind that aluminium frames are susceptible to some types of corrosion that can impact appearance, durability, and safety. They are extremely vulnerable to saltwater and air, making them highly inappropriate for use in beach areas. While they aren’t difficult to maintain, they are more challenging than their uPVC counterparts.
Finally, these windows are more challenging to keep clean than their uPVC counterparts. Additional cleaning is required to remove oxidation once it has developed.
Both uPVC windows and aluminium windows can enhance the beauty of your home, blending with various architectural styles and available in durable, weather-resistant colours. They both can be used for new construction or customised to coordinate with remodelled homes and are available in BAL-rated designs suitable for bushfire-prone areas. However, choosing which one you should invest in depends on the goals you have for your home or office.
We specialise in double-glazed uPVC windows at Windows For Life that provide outstanding energy efficiency, low maintenance, and beauty that easily lasts for 35+ years. Contact us today for a free measure and quote, and start enjoying the benefits of uPVC frame windows.