There is no more of an immediate uplift to a tired and old looking property or building than replacing the windows. As well as making it look more attractive, a new window installation project will contribute to increasing the building’s energy efficiency, and overall market value.

There are three main window types available, and choosing between the three of them can pose a dilemma. Depending on the angle that you are coming from, aluminium, wood or PVCu all provide different qualities that can add to the look and function of the property.

To help you in your choice, we have highlighted the advantages and disadvantages of all three. 

Advantages and disadvantages of PVCu

The two key advantages of choosing PVCu windows over and above any other material is their price and durability. Price wise they do tend to be significantly cheaper, and over the last few decades have grown in popularity to become the go to materials for all windows and doors. 

An average PVCu casement  window costs between £250 to £500, including the glazing, and professionally fitted. As PVCu has evolved over the years, the design of the windows has become sleeker and more refined. Advanced extrusion and manufacturing methodology has created products which do not have to compromise strength for aesthetics. 

PVCu windows require very little maintenance. A simple wipe down with a damp cloth and an occasional oiling of the hinges is all that is required to keep the windows functioning. 

PVCu has had a reputation for yellowing in the past, but that is an issue that has been addressed and eliminated. Previously, the more expensive PVCu meant that yellowing could be avoided, but as the technology has evolved, then yellowing is less and less of an issue for standard windows. 

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The other key issue that has affected the plastic window industry is their effect on the environment. The windows have a life span of on average 35 years. When old windows are replaced, they are taken to a recycling plant where they are broken down and reprocessed into granules that can be reused for a wide range of other products, such as street furniture. Research has indicated that this recycling process can be carried out up to ten times without the PVCu losing its integrity. This means that the majority of plastic windows currently being manufactured are using profiles extruded from recycled raw material.

Advantages and disadvantages of wooden windows

Wooden windows are expensive but tend to be required if you are renovating a period property with strict building regulations – normally grade 1 or 2 listed. The cost of the average wooden sash window is £1250 – up to four or five times more expensive than their PVCu cousin, which is why PVCu is more popular.

They also require significantly more maintenance – they will need treating and repainting at least every three to four years.

But if maintained properly, they can last for several decades, and are superior in terms of overall aesthetics.

Advantages and disadvantages of aluminium windows

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Traditionally aluminium windows have been used for larger commercial building, however modern designs are now being incorporated more and more into the domestic environment.

Aluminium is almost completely maintenance free, and are resistant to corrosion, warping and flexing. The slimmer profiles are far more aesthetically pleasing, and fit well with modern architect designed buildings. They are also available in a wide range of colours making them much more versatile for different types of design and build projects.

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Comparatively an aluminium window sits between PVCu and wood, at around the £600 mark.