Steel Windows vs Aluminium Windows: Which is Better?

25.08.2021

Choosing the best windows for a home is not an easy task as windows have a crucial role to play in the aesthetic appeal of the house or property. Windows, apart from the beautification of space, also improvise the energy efficiency of a home by managing the amount of natural light and ventilation entering a space.

Metal-framed windows first emerged in the 1880s and quickly became the most popular in the art deco era. As old-fashioned windows, these sorts of windows are making a resurgence nowadays.

Windows are one of the most expensive elements of an architectural project, the prices of which depend on the option you go ahead with. With a wide variety of materials, colours, styles, and features to choose from, the selection of a suitable choice becomes challenging. Some of the efficient choices in metal-framed windows steel windows and aluminium windows with each having its own advantages and disadvantages.

Where steel framed windows have been ruling the market for the past 160 years, aluminium framed windows have also advanced as an alternative. Steel windows impart stunning aesthetics with an authentic feel to the whole space. On the other hand, aluminium windows give a modern look and can replicate steel framed windows.

The qualities of both types make it overwhelming to make the right decision. Here is a comparison between the two that will assist you in choosing what suits you the best.

Frame Design

Steel windows win over the aluminium windows when comparing the frame and sightlines. Since steel is thrice as strong as aluminium, it offers thin frame sightlines. Steel has the strength to hold large glass panes which offer wide panoramic views to the outside and welcome a good amount of natural light into the space.

In contrast to aluminium frames, steel frames would be advantageous for achieving the narrowest sightlines since less metal is required to keep the glass in position.

When compared to steel, the aluminium production process is more simple and streamlined since the crimped frames feature mechanical joints, permitting the frames to be simply fitted and fastened together.

Window Sizes

Aluminium’s slim, lightweight, and adaptable nature allows it to be easily moulded into a variety of forms and sizes. Steel’s appeal stems from the fact that it is among the most powerful and long-lasting building materials available. Steel window frames are generally elegant and thin due to their remarkable strength.

Modern steel windows are frequently styled with precision, crispness, and creativity. Double-glazed or fully weather-stripped options are available.

Thermal Performance

Generally, steel framed windows don’t come with a thermal break in their frames. In simpler terms, that means if the window frame is comparatively cooler on the exteriors, the cold will transfer to the interiors and it will form condensation. This might lead to damaged fabrics and furniture placed near the windows.

Aluminium framed windows, however, are manufactured with the latest thermal break technique. The installation of thermal breaks in aluminium windows offers a good amount of thermal insulation as compared to steel windows.

Colour and Finish Options

The selection of colours is an important part of the design process. You may choose whatever colour and finish you like for your aluminium windows; go crazy if you really want to! There is a wide range of colours available for the same.
With steel, though, this is less of a possibility with finishing options. Steel is available in a wide range of RAL colours but rust is a major concern for any builder or homeowner.

Maintenance

Steel frames demand a lot of upkeep since they need to be treated and examined on a regular basis. This is necessary to prevent the inevitable development of rust and corrosion, which steel is prone to if not properly protected.
Aluminium does not require any more maintenance when it has been powder coated and finished in the appropriate colour. It just demands regular cleaning with minimal effort and resources.

Cost

The major advantage of aluminium windows over steel windows is the cost factor. It is a cost-effective product in terms of its material and the manufacturing process.

As steel follows a complex manufacturing process in order to develop a solid steel framed window, high costs go into the development and in the end, the product is much more expensive than aluminum framed.

As steel is significantly costlier, the high cost would weigh into the cost of the entire project.

Aluminium and Steel Windows Comparison Table

It’s difficult to determine which choice is ideal when replacing your windows and doors. Should the use of present steel models be continued or shall a move be made for a refreshing look with Aluminium? Here is a comparison between the two to be considered while deciding between the two.

FeatureSteel windowsAluminium windows
Strength 3 times stronger than aluminium Stronger than timber
SecurityMeets all standardsMeets all standards
ManufacturingFully-Welded Crimped and Mechanical Joints
Sight LinesNarrow Sight-linesNot as sleek as steel
GlazingDouble or Triple glassDouble or Triple glass
Life ExpectancyMore than 60 years without a paint finishAbout 30-40 years without a paint finish
Thermal PerformanceB and C energy ratingsA energy-rated product is available
ColoursFull RAL colour choice

Full RAL choice
Anodizing colour options

RecyclableYesYes
RustYesDoes not rust
Residential and Commercial UseYesYes

From the comparison, it can be inferred that steel offers a large glass size due to its strength that allows it to have sleek frames.

The right choice

With individual features, both aluminium windows and steel windows hold a good position in the market. The decision, however, should be made by the homeowner considering the architectural needs and budget as well. Both materials offer unique properties, each of which can enhance the aesthetics of the house.