How to Choose the Best Aluminium Windows

There are a lot of choices when it comes to aluminium windows for residential properties.  We receive hundreds of contact forms from this website and the most consistent theme is consumers and installers asking for help in choosing the best aluminium windows.

Whether new windows are required for the replacement of old ones, or for a new installation, most of the major systems companies offer a range of domestic aluminium window products.  Each with excellent features and specifications.

Even with the introduction of a highly innovative twin flush window by Origin, is there a "best" aluminium window?
Even with the introduction of a highly innovative twin flush window by Origin, is there a “best” aluminium window?

Aluminium Windows for the Domestic Market.

In our view, there is no leading aluminium window system.  There are leading systems companies in terms of turnover but figures as to how much window profile is sold are not available.

There are aluminium window systems that are specified more than others for commercial work.  Schuco and Reynaers are exceptional windows and very much favoured by Architects.  However other good names such as SAPA, Kawneer, AluK and Senior Systems are also very proactive in the specification of their products and also offer great choice and diversity.

One constraint for the consumer or small installer is the availability of products in their local area.  These could be considered supply-chain issues.

Aluminium Windows range a lot in price and market positioning. Market positioning will promote windows by Systems Companies mentioned above and others to the more up-market buyer, but this is not to say other window systems are in any way inferior.

What you should know about choosing aluminium windows

Whether you are a customer or window company looking at aluminium windows for the first time it is helpful to have done some research into how aluminium windows are made and marketed.

All aluminium windows will conform to a minimum standard, or specification.  Some of the most important ones are:

Windows are fitted with high quality and durable hardware
Windows such as this by Apeer are fitted with high quality hardware.
  • Extrusions will be of high quality in accordance with recognised industry standards for thickness, type and quality of metal.
  • Windows will feature window energy ratings of C, B and A
  • Aluminium windows will feature a thermal break or insulated profiles.
  • All aluminium window products will be tested to recognised industry standards for security, weather performance, air, wind and water penetration.
  • Aluminium frames will be powder coated by Qualicoat or other industry approved powder coating applicators.
  • The glass in your windows will be of high quality.
  • Your windows will have quality locking systems and handles.
  • All powder coated aluminium windows are available in the full range of colours.

Therefore in the same way that other consumer goods or building products are required to meet set industry standards, be manufactured with quality components and materials so are aluminium windows.

What features can influence your choice of aluminium windows?

It follows that if all aluminium windows on the market meet or exceed industry standards and specifications you have to work out what makes a particular window system stand out?

For a consumer or window company seeking to source new aluminium windows the choice of window system will largely depend upon the following factors:

Aesthetics and the flexibility of the system

Whether these are supplied to the trade or direct to the consumer, each window system will offer its own set of features and specifications.

Houses such as this in Petts Wood, South East London, will often dictate what windows local firms provide.
Houses such as this in Petts Wood, South East London, will often dictate what windows local firms provide.

Examples of this include the diversity of frame profiles available.  Some window systems are designed to meet the characteristics of the old windows which are being replaced as well as contemporary styles.

Some areas of the country, for example, Kent, South East London and Surrey feature a lot of “mock tudor” properties where black frames with white casements are a feature of the original windows. Therefore your choice of system may dictate that your new windows are available in a dual colour, black and white typically and with aesthetics to match your original windows.

Other regions feature original windows with dummy sashes, original steel or Crittall Windows. Other properties feature original hardwood subframes or stone surrounds which are often required to be retained.

A final example are some property types that lend themselves to profiled outer frames with flat sashes, particular designs with internal and external Georgian and astragal bars. Some homes built in the 1970’s featured horizontal sliding windows and those with large panes of glass in their design.  These characteristics of your home that you may wish to retain may not be available with every window provider.

Therefore your choice of window provider again may be determined by whether the product has been designed to appeal to most market sectors, property types and what influences your local market.

Aluminium Window Prices

Property Investors and Landlords are likely to have lesser requirements than homeowner and will often want the cheapest windows.
Property Investors and Landlords are likely to have lesser requirements than homeowners and will often want the cheapest windows.

As with any other product on the market pricing is pitched at a target customer. For example a builder or property investor refurbishing a property to sell will have significantly different criteria to a homeowner building a dream home or looking for the very best products.

The property developer will be looking for the the most functional windows on the market to offer the benefit of “double glazing” but is less likely to be overly concerned about aesthetics or window energy ratings. They simply wish to install windows to complete their project within budget and make a profit.

Other buyers of double glazing and new aluminium windows may simply have a basic and important requirement to have their old single glazed metal, rotting timber or otherwise bad windows replaced.

This customer will either be seeking windows at the lowest possible price because they must simply replace their windows.

Then there are the other types of buyers who will not have budget as their primary consideration. These buyers will be looking for the most suitable windows for their home, perhaps to fit in with a particular design idea.  Or maybe the desire to have the “very best” aluminium windows available.

The window company installing the products

Origin bifolding doors with curved windows in a metallic powder coat finish.
More and more window companies are setting up or branching out to serve the “high end” customer.

In recent years aluminium systems companies and individual double glazing firms will pitch their products at specific market sectors. Also influencing this will be regional variations and considerations.

Recently we have seen the introduction of “high-end” products pitched at the up-market client. It is understood by the wider fenestration sector that market trends are shifting to contemporary glazing, large panoramic screens and sliding doors and a shift to open plan modern extensions in homes. The bifolding door is an excellent example of this shift in customer requirements.

High property prices in London and the Home Counties are good examples where buyers have properties with rising prices and equity in their homes. This market is targeted by the high-end window companies offering bespoke installations.

Consider that the owner of a high value property looking to move up the property ladder will have substantial outlay in estate agent fees, stamp duty and other charges. This for many people is reason to improve the home rather than move to a new one for the obvious reasons and benefits.

What are “high end” windows and doors?

In recent years there have been many window companies that have set up new businesses or added to their existing portfolio of products with a range of high end windows targeted at the upper value buyer. These companies either individually or in co-operation with systems companies have introduced aluminium window and door products sold as premium quality products.

The Origin Window is of course intended to complement Origin Doors as well.
High end windows are today marketed at the discerning buyer who is seeking something different in terms of design and quality.

It is important with these premium aluminium systems to do your research carefully. Many of these products are existing windows and doors that are actually rebranded to create a new brand name.

The investment in designing, extruding and manufacturing a new window system is substantial. Design costs, tooling and extrusion costs, the laying down of aluminium dyes, testing and bringing to market a range of products can only be carried out by those companies with the budget to do so. Many don’t and therefore partner with existing systems companies and resell their products.

Therefore be aware that there may be inflated prices for a premium brand that is actually a rebranded standard window system available generally.  However if you are seeking an up market aluminium window with impressive specifications, engineering, advanced features or even something specific that you have in mind for your home, contact us and we can help.

Windows and Doors are Badge Engineered.

Polyamide has been used for many years already and is a nylon that contributes greatly to well insulated aluminium windows.
A window sold as premium, luxury or bespoke, may often be a customised or rebranded existing product.

The rebranding of products is nothing new. Car companies have been operating in this way for years under what is termed by the motor trade as Badge Engineering; even though little engineering actually takes place.

Examples include the VW Lupo and the Seat Arosa, the Fiat Punto with the Alfa Romeo Mito, and the Peugeot 107, Citroen C1 and Toyota Aygo all being essentially the same car. Even vans undergo this process as the Renault Trafic, Vauxhall Vivaro and Nissan Primastar are the same vehicle.

Some window companies such as Everest and those specialist window companies in the replacement of steel windows often take an existing established window system and work with the systems company to customise it in some way to make it unique to them.

They will enter agreements whereby that special window extrusion cannot be sold to any other window company enabling them to market their product as unique. Economies of scale are important here which makes it worthwhile for the systems company to allow its products to be rebranded.

Therefore, if you are seeing a high end aluminium system, quite likely it is a rebranded product unless your research tells you it is unique to that company.  A close examination of similar images of high end homes, technical drawings with identical part numbers and even brand logos used across the thousands of double glazing websites also indicates the rebranding of established systems.

Individual features of that window compared to another

The final consideration in choosing an aluminium window will be what makes that window different to the consumer in terms of its specifications. Products are now designed with specific features to make them stand out from others. Examples of these include:

  • The new Origin window that offers a flush sash inside and out and a unique insulation material.
  • Windows and doors designed from the same profiles such as those by Greenways Architectural.
  • Unique features such as automatic or sensor controlled operation offered by Schuco
  • Windows that can be customised to meet specific client requirements.
  • New design elements such as the all glass appearance from Apeer.
  • Windows available in colours outside of the standard colour swatch such as metallic colours, textured finishes and even woodgrain aluminium windows.

So today consumers and trade buyers of windows have many products to choose from.  So whilst there is no “best” aluminium window, what you do have is choice.  The national double glazing firms do not offer a high end range of windows or a portfolio of aluminium windows with versatility, scope or choice offered by many independent window companies. Neither do they have the expertise.   Here you are likely to pay over the top for what is essentially a standard product.

Even your average local double glazing firm may not even be aware of, know where to source or wish to sell many of the advanced aluminium windows available on the market. This is where our website can help.  Therefore, if you would like our assistance in finding the right window product, please contact us for advice.