Vinyl and Wood and Aluminum, Oh My!

Things to Consider When Choosing Window Replacements

Replacing the windows in your home can give you a one-two punch, providing both an update and upgrade to your home’s appearance, as well as possibly lowering your energy costs.

Old windows — peeling, warped, loosely hung, thin, single hung, or cracked — make a distinct, and not necessarily positive, first impression on visitors (and potential buyers). Fresh, updated windows, neatly installed and sparkling clean, are a great way to add to the curb appeal and overall appearance of your home. Not only that, but according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs Value Report 2010-11, you can anticipate recouping about 70% of your investment if you’re planning on selling in the not too distant future.

That’s before you consider that the U.S. Department of Energy estimatesthat replacing your old windows can save you from $27 to $465 a year on energy costs. Once you decide to replace your windows, the choices can seem overwhelming — wood, vinyl, composite, aluminum, or clad? Very briefly, here are some highlights of each type of window:

  • Aluminum— the least expensive option, it is also the least energy efficient, as metal (aluminum) conducts heat and cold. Double-paned aluminum windows are still significantly more efficient than any type of single paned window.
  • Vinyl — generally only slightly more expensive than aluminum windows, vinyl windows offer greater variety in color availability and also conduct less heat than aluminum.
  • Wood — although far higher maintenance than aluminum or vinyl, wood windows are simultaneously a superior natural insulator against heat or cold and more susceptible to the weather and may swell or shrink or decay in response to the elements or pests.
  • Clad— combining the best of all worlds, clad windows are wood windows overlaid with vinyl or aluminum.
  • Composite — a relative new-comer, composite windows are comparable to wood windows in terms of temperature insulation while having many of the weather-impervious qualities of vinyl or aluminum.

For more information on your window choices and how to choose what’s right for you, visit

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About realestatemarkonline

Originally from center city Philadelphia Fairmont section now called the "Art Museum Area" ( how fancy ) I now live outside the city in Devon. Licensed real estate (selling since 1980) broker with Keller Williams Real Estate in West Chester PA, representing sellers and buyers for single family homes, townhomes, condominiums, investment properties, rentals in Chester, Montgomery, Delaware and Philadelphia Counties. In my free time I can be found at the movies (anything at the Ritz) the gym (spin class) or by the pool at my condo (Old Forge Crossing)
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