What is the difference between UPVC and aluminum window frames?
- The material they use and its characteristics
- The process behind manufacturing them
- Their eco-friendliness
If you’re someone looking to put up or reconstruct a home or building, you might have heard of the words UPVC and aluminum when it comes to your windows. You might be wondering what the difference is, and which kind to choose. In this article, we tackle the UPVC vs aluminum window frames debate to help you decide: which one’s better, aluminum or UPVC?
First off, let’s look at what makes them different.
The material they use and its characteristics
UPVC and aluminum are, of course, the materials that make up each of these windows, respectively.
Unplasticized Polyvinyl Chloride or UPVC is a low-maintenance substitute for painted wood, especially when used for doors and windows. It is also used as a building material for other fixtures, having almost entirely replaced cast iron as the material for plumbing and drainage pipes.
Aluminum, on the other hand, is a naturally-occurring element that is also the most widespread metal on Earth. Aluminum windows are ones where the frame is made of the same material rather than wood, vinyl, or something like UPVC. Aluminum is also used for other fixtures in the building, especially in the case of commercial and industrial buildings.
Because they are two different materials, aluminum and UPVC vary in their characteristics as well. Here’s a short list of ways in which they differ:
Strength and durability
Aluminum as a material is much stronger than UPVC. Because of this, aluminum windows tend to last longer—up to 45 years in contrast to UPVC’s 20 to 30—and, as another key factor, they can have a slimmer frame. This slimmer casing means they allow a larger glass surface area, making them very popular for commercial and public buildings, or even for homes that want to have a nice, wide view.
The versatility of design and the range of available colors
In terms of the aesthetic value of the windows, both window types are quite advantageous. Both UPVC and aluminum can be molded according to the client’s tastes, allowing for multiple styles of window frames. Both powder-coated aluminum frames and UPVC frames come in a wide array of colors.
However, in addition to a cleaner and more minimalist window frames, aluminum casings can also accommodate larger panes of glass. That means you don’t have to divide large windows into multiple window frames, which of course results in an uninterrupted view and better lighting.
Generally, aluminum as a material tends to be pricier than UPVC, so you can expect UPVC windows to be cheaper. However, if you take into account the superior durability and weather-proof nature of aluminum windows, and their extended lifespan compared to UPVC, you’ll likely realize that aluminum comes out more cost-efficient in the long run.
Level of maintenance
UPVC and aluminum are quite evenly matched when it comes to being low-maintenance. Both materials are quite resistant to warping, they don’t rot, and they are very easy to clean with a quick wipe-down every few months.
However, aluminum does have an added benefit for people who live in the Philippines, where we are beset by storms every so often. Since it is a sturdier material, it is less likely to be damaged by harsh winds or torrential rain. It is less prone to being harmed by the elements.
Even on its own, UPVC is a great insulator. This is because it does not conduct heat. Some UPVC window frames come with multiple-point locks, which allow for better sealing and soundproofing.
If this is your concern, however, know that aluminum windows can achieve the same effect thanks to thermal breaks—barriers preventing aluminum-to-aluminum contact from the inside of the windows to the outside. Thus, these barriers can keep heat in or out of your home more effectively.
The process behind manufacturing them
UPVC frames are made by putting molten PVC through a molding machine, which creates long sections of frames. These are cooled almost immediately before being cut to the desired length and joined together to form the shape of a window.
On the other hand, aluminum frames are manufactured through extrusion, which is a process wherein an aluminum alloy billet enters a tooling die to create a window profile. A protective layer of powder coating is then applied via a spray gun to give it both color and curing.
Between the two, aluminum as a material has an invaluable feature: it is indefinitely recyclable. That means that when you recycle it, it creates very high-quality new aluminum through a process that only takes 5% of the energy needed to initially create the metal. This makes it far more eco-friendly than UPVC.
Aluminum and UPVC windows differ in many ways, but in the end, it’s still up to you to choose which one you will use in your home, office, or building.
If you’ve decided to opt for aluminum window frames, which are what we promote and stand by here at AMC Aluminum, you’ve come to the right place. Contact us now for a quote from the best aluminum manufacturer of powder-coated aluminum windows in the Philippines.