Despite the rise in the popularity of aluminium windows and doors and some reported statistical decline in sales of PVCu windows, aluminium windows are still subject to myths and incorrect assertions.
This website offers a free service to help homeowners and the trade source the best suppliers of aluminium windows. We can also answer whatever questions you have about aluminium windows and doors.
However it would appear from the diversity of the emails and comments received from members of the public that customers are still being told untruths and are being given wildly inaccurate information by some window companies and their sales people regarding aluminium windows.
Many of these myths leave the customer believing they shouldn’t have aluminium windows.
Some of this misinformation is due to the customer being given information about a perceived high cost of aluminium windows and other negative feedback by the window companies regarding their performance, colour and suitability as a replacement window for the home.
If you are of the opinion that aluminium windows are somehow prohibitive we offer some impartial and independent advice to help you make an informed choice.
Dispelling the cost myths about aluminium windows
We have recently helped customers who contacted the website seeking help having had very expensive prices on aluminium windows for their homes compared to PVCu. Here are some comments from customers we have helped, typical of the kind of information and high prices some companies are providing.
In this comment it would appear the window company in question was either trying to command a high premium for aluminium or the Company was trying to dissuade the customer from buying aluminium on price alone:
I have got quotes for both Upvc and Aluminium – Difference is about 200% in terms of cost £3k for PVC, £9k for Aluminium. It’s a 2 bed house with 9 windows 1 french door!
This comment suggests that the customer was told aluminium windows were not thermally broken. Does this comment also imply that the customer was advised by the window company that somehow aluminium windows didn’t have a thermal break and were therefore illegal?
Do all aluminium frames in the market for domestic use and supplied by local window suppliers have to be ‘polyamide thermally broken’ by law? There is great variation in quotations that I have received, up to more than 100%!!
This customer comment was from a customer that clearly wanted aluminium windows for her house renovation. Yet for some reason, she is being advised to forget about aluminium windows being told they’re unaffordable.
I’ve bought a house that needs a complete renovation and would love to have aluminium windows. I have been told to forget about it since they are unaffordable and I’m finding it hard to get prices on the internet. Can you please point me in the right direction as to where could I find reliable suppliers in my area?
This comment is typical of a frightened a customer thinking she had bought the wrong windows:
Is it true that it has been illegal to sell externally beaded windows since 2004. I have just had a representative from Pembertons telling me that the company that I used 3 years ago shouldn’t have sold them to me. Personally I think there is a possibility that he is not telling the truth.
These types of comments are all examples of inexperienced window companies and questionable double glazing salesmen that are somehow trying to dissuade the customer from buying aluminium. Of course we’re not suggesting that any of these companies deliberately mislead their customers in order to sell a particular product, it’s more likely that lack of experience and/or training are the culprit.
If you have received similar information from a window company you have visited, please contact us and let us help you.
How much should aluminium windows cost?
There are several factors that affect the prices of aluminium windows. For the purposes of this article, using a typical two or three bedroom home requiring a generally “standard” window installation the typical price difference should be an uplift of between 50% to 70% compared to upvc.
We know of many window companies that will have a greater uplift than this. Our information comes from companies such as UK Windows Surrey Ltd, serving the South London, Surrey and Home Counties areas who say:
We regard aluminium windows as an equal part of our overall range of windows and doors and not as a costly upgrade or reason to charge more for the product.
There will of course be other factors affecting prices such as installations considerations, access, trims or special cills required, but generally this should be the price difference between aluminium and plastic windows by window companies that understand and sell aluminium correctly.
Comparing like for like
As with any product comparison what are the differences between the two products? In the same way as a luxury car is substantially more expensive than a budget car, is it a fair comparison when the quality, build and specification are so different?
An uplift of 100% or more for an aluminium window may be accurate if it is being compared with a very cheap upvc window! Therefore it’s important to know want you’re comparing against and is the price comparison fair.
There are vastly different prices between the many PVCu windows available in the marketplace. The rise of the ‘super fabricator’ means that those supplying PVCu windows can buy them faster and cheaper than ever before. Therefore if you are seeing a huge uplift between PVCu and aluminium windows what are the two products you are comparing on price? For example a standard PVCu window will appear substantially cheaper against an aluminium one. But take a premium quality, luxury window such as the Residence 9 product and the price difference should be less.
Therefore, if you are seeing substantial differences between PVCu and aluminium window prices this could be a reason why.
The supply chain will also affect the price you pay.
The other factor that can affect the price you pay for your new aluminium windows is how they are sourced and the supply chain.
In the same way many other domestic, personal or other products are advertised as bought direct from the manufacturer therefore saving you money, the same can apply to windows. The less parties involved in the supply of the product, the cheaper it can be.
The window company that buys its windows direct from a manufacturer will usually sell windows cheaper than a window company that buys their windows from from a supplier that doesn’t manufacture such as a trade counter who bought the windows higher up the supply chain. The more suppliers involved in the supply chain the more mark ups and profit margins will be in place before the consumer receives their final price.
Again if the prices of aluminium compared to PVCu appear very high the supply chain could be a reason why. Contact us and let us put you in touch with alternative suppliers that can could offer better prices.
Are you being dissuaded from having Aluminium Windows?
One has to question the motives of any window company that advises a customer who “would love to have aluminium windows” to “forget about it”. How would any customer feel walking into a BMW car showroom and be told forget about it and go buy a another model!
The majority of window companies are professional, ethical and are in business to do the best they can by their customers. However if you are being dissuaded from aluminium windows with any negative comments our many years experience can give you some reasons why.
Why a window company may not want you to buy aluminium windows
If you are receiving negative feedback about aluminium there may be several reasons why.
- The typical commission only self employed double glazing salesman typical of many double glazing firms simply doesn’t understand the product and wants you to buy the product he can sell. This may not necessarily be the right product for you.
- The window company only offers PVCu windows and in an effort not to lose a potential sale will dissuade you from aluminium.
- Some window companies that sell aluminium perceive the product as deserving of an additional premium or price hike.
- Some window companies whilst offering aluminium do so with an element of reluctance owing to the differences in the ordering process or longer lead times compared to mass produced PVCu. They may try to make their lives easier recommending the product that suits them not you.
- The profit margins on pvcu are generally greater than aluminium owing to how cheap the product is to make and buy in.
Any window company that understands aluminium windows, should demonstrate with professionalism, honesty, expertise and listening to your wishes, the differences between aluminium and upvc and allow you to make an informed choice.
Why are aluminium window prices hard to find online?
Double Glazing like other home improvement products is impossible to obtain recommended retail prices on. If you wish to buy a particular consumer product such as a car or a computer you generally will have an idea of what the price of that product will be. The sale of replacement windows unfortunately does not work in the same way.
The windows you will purchase for you home, whether aluminium, PVCu or timber are all made to order. There are no stocks of ready made windows or doors in warehouses waiting to be shipped. There are many factors that will determine the price you are quoted. This is understandably a source of frustration for the customer.
Obtaining some indication of what new windows should cost is not helped by the larger national home improvement companies either. Some of these companies leave the final price you pay in the hands of the double glazing salesman and the price he feels he can command for the product.
For example a large National company can quote you £3000 for a new front door but give you a 60% discount on it. So is the retail price of the door £3000 or £1200?
By comparison many independent local window companies rightly choose to simply offer the best prices they can avoiding these seemingly fantastic discounts and quotes you the most realistic price they can.
Another reason for not publishing prices online is not to lose the “sales process”. It is not just double glazing that does not provide prices online, other forms of home improvements do as well preferring to give indicative prices and work with you on closing the sale on a one to one basis.
Dispelling more myths about about aluminium windows
There are other myths about aluminium windows that this website can dispel and give you factual answers. All of these can be backed up by technical facts and documentation.
You may hear that aluminium windows are prone to condensation. This was once the case many years ago before the introduction of thermal break technology. Previously thermal break technology was based “pour and cut” or resin thermal breaks.
Today modern windows utilise latest technology polyamide thermal break which has substantially improved the thermal performance of aluminium windows compared to older systems. Another substantial benefit of polyamide thermal breaks is that aluminium windows can now be different colours inside and out.
What is a Thermal Break?
A thermal break is where the aluminium to aluminium contact between the external and internal faces of a window is interrupted to bridge the cold gap that can occur . A thermal break is part of the construction to minimize heat or cold transfer.
Aluminium Windows require hardwood subframes.
This is simply untrue. All modern aluminium window systems are now available with Direct Fix frames (typically 70mm or 75mm front to back) that remove the need for any hardwood subframes. There are however windows available with slimmer depth frames such as 50mm that are designed to fit into existing or new hardwood subframes and importantly to match properties that aesthetically need them.
Aluminium Systems companies are well aware that certain properties lend themselves to having hardwood window surrounds so for those that wish to retain their existing hardwood subframes and hardwood cills, there are new aluminium windows to suit. There are also aluminium windows to suit stone mullions!
Aluminium Windows are available only in white or silver.
Again this is not true. One of the huge advantages of aluminium is the sheer choice of colour. There are over 200 colours available in aluminium windows. One only needs to look at the coloured aluminium doors in shops, offices, retail parks, schools and hospitals. If coloured aluminium is possible for commercial buildings, it is possible for your home.
Aluminium Windows are only suitable for commercial buildings.
Aluminium windows and doors have been used commercially for many years because architects and building designers have long understood the advantages aluminium windows offer in high use buildings and particularly with commercial doors.
Strength, slim light lines, colour choice, structural integrity and the ability to cover large spans are all advantages aluminium offer over upvc. It is rare to see any commercial building with PVCu windows or doors and rarer still to see PVCu facade glazing.
Today’s modern aluminium windows have been designed to accommodate the many different designs typical in commercial buildings compared to the fairly standard type window in British homes.
Aluminium windows for the home not only combine all the advantages offered to commercial buildings, but they are now designed with profiles to match the needs of the homeowner available in contemporary and traditional frames, ovolo, chamfered and profiled sections and many other features that make them ideal for the home.
This also extends to maximum security, high strength and for the modern Grand Designs type home, the ability to create far larger windows than PVCu can. If you are a fan of property renovation programmes like Grand Designs when did you last see a PVCu window or door fitted?
It should be stressed that the vast majority of the home improvement and double glazing industry is highly reputable and professional. However every window company varies in its knowledge, experience and capability.
A company that may artificially inflate prices or give false information shouldn’t instantly be regarded as untrustworthy but one that may not possess the knowledge to talk to you about all windows and doors not just aluminium but PVCu. timber, fibreglass windows, composite windows and steel.
Got a question about aluminium windows? Contact us.
Every year we help thousands of homeowners find aluminium windows at competitive prices. If you are considering aluminium windows or doors for your property and need free, expert advice contact us. We can also put you in touch with expert and professional window companies in your area.