Aluminium windows have recently become the material of choice when it comes to finishing modern homes and, more increasingly, renovating period-style properties.
As glazing plays a huge part in defining new builds’ elevations and refreshing an existing homes’ kerb appeal, it’s worth prioritising your time when it comes to designing the way you want them to look.
Sleek and versatile, aluminium windows can come in all sorts of colours (yes, companies offer more than just Anthracite), shapes and sizes but it pays to be savvy in your shopping and look out for the best build quality for your money in terms of finish and security.
Benefits of Aluminium Windows
One of the main attractions to aluminium windows is their slim sightlines that won’t break up or look out of place against a large expanse of glazing but there are many more practical advantages to choosing aluminium frames over other materials:
- Lightweight and versatile but durable
- Resilient to warping, corrosion and flexing
- Thermally efficient
- Although more costly than uPVC upfront, aluminium frames last longer and overall they are more affordable than timber
- 100% recyclable
- Almost completely maintenance free
‘Flush’ is the key word when choosing aluminium as the way the opening and fixed glass elements sit against each other side by side will make an impact of the slick look of the finished product.
Uniform sightlines result in stylish, seamless exterior façades and many architects and homeowners want a system in which all units are identical. Aluminium frames can be prefinished in any RAL colour to suit contemporary styles while black frames are being used more frequently in period properties as they can replicate slimmer traditional styles in Belgian doors and crittall-style heritage windows.
Shop our selection of aluminium windows for your project
When it comes to quotes from different suppliers, first of all make sure you’re comparing like for like (locks, handles, any required pressings and so on), and secondly, remember that buying windows is more than just a pricing game: lead-in times can hugely impact your project.
It is generally advised to get quotes from at least three suppliers as there will no doubt be a huge range in amounts. It’s important to be aware that a cheap buy with long manufacture and delivery times can delay a schedule and impact other aspects of a build.
Don’t forget that, as most systems require specialist fitting, you will need to coordinate with a local approved installation firm if the window company doesn’t offer a fitting service.
Consider the Quality of the Finish
There can be a huge variety in the quality of the aluminium windows themselves. Companies like Origin use prime billets in the manufacture of the windows, rather than cheaper scrap metal.
Good quality aluminium should have a smooth and consistent finish so watch out for pitting from when the profile has been heated during powder coating. A high-quality finish is achieved by polishing the die after each extrusion run to reduce corrosion and avoid contamination on the surface.
What to Look for in Build Quality
The way the window is put together can vary a lot from one supplier to the next. For example, when it comes to composite systems – which combine two materials, usually timber on the inside and aluminium externally – ensure that the external and internal frame elements are distinct (rather than, for instance, comprising a wooden frame clad on to an aluminium skin). Also ask where the key elements originated and where they were actually manufactured.
Most windows and doors manufacturers aim to talk up their products’ security but now, thanks to changes to Part Q of the Building Regulations and the Secured By Design standards, there are measurable ways of ensuring your choice ticks the boxes.
Part Q came into effect on 1 October 2015 and requires accessible windows (basement, ground floor and other easily accessible windows) in new builds to be made to a design that has been shown through testing to meet the security requirements of British Standards Publication PAS 24:2012. Part Q does not apply for projects where initial notice was submitted before 1 October 2015, provided the work is started on site before 1 October 2016.