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Advantages and disadvantages of pvcu and aluminium for replacement windows?

Which one is best?

2 Answers from MyBuilder Window & Door Fitters

Best Answer

In recent years, the use of un-plasticized Polyvinyl Chloride or uPVC has grown hugely in popularity and is now one of the most recommended and most widely chosen materials used by the biggest double glazing companies. Below the advantages and disadvantages to using uPVC over its alternatives of aluminium, is outlined and explained.

Value For Money

One of the factors considered will inevitably be the cost of the materials and this will probably influence decisions one way or the other. When it comes to pricings, however, uPVC is usually the cheapest material on offer after things like aluminium and timber. This is far from uPVC’s greatest attraction, but its relative cost effectiveness is certainly a bonus that makes a difference.

Low Maintenance

Another hugely appealing feature of uPVC is that it is remarkably low maintenance. Aluminium is resilient, but still needs attention every now and then. On the other hand, uPVC never rots, flakes, rusts or fades. Apart from a quick wipe with a cloth to keep it clean, uPVC requires virtually no maintenance making it very convenient and time-saving.


Un-plasticized Polyvinyl Chloride is also the most durable of the materials available. Aluminium can pick up rust whereas uPVC is strong, tough and resilient. It is highly unlikely uPVC will need to be changed and some companies even offer up to 10 year guarantees on uPVC double glazing.


Due to its resilient and robustness, uPVC is very reliable and trustworthy when it comes to security. Their frames are constructed to the utmost hardness making it extremely difficult to break through or damage. Aluminium is similarly if not more secure, however, and is considered to be almost totally burglar-proof due to its strength. But uPVC is not far behind.

Insulation/Sound Proofing

Insulation is another feature of the uPVC material that surpasses aluminium. uPVC was created to be a very competent insulator and provides the best heat and energy insulation available. It is a very good insulator compared to the alternative of aluminium and this ability to keep heat in and sound out is largely responsible for its popularity.

Visual Appearance

The major shortcoming of uPVC is undoubtedly its aesthetic value. In many people’s eyes, its simple, white plastic look is far from attractive and some consider uPVC frames to look unstylish or plain when compared to aluminium. With some larger companies, different colours of uPVC are now available, but when replacing windows whilst trying to keep the character of the home, uPVC may not be ideal. In fact, for listed buildings and those within conservation areas, local planning councils would be likely to insist on timber or aluminium frames


Answered 17th Feb 2011

UPVC or PVCU is the cheapest option and haas a life of about 15-20 years although it does look 'tired' after relatively few. Aluminium has a much longer life span and should last 20-30 years. All windows with double glazing will require some maintenance and possible the replacement of the sealed units sometime after 10 years.
You should also consider modern wooden windows, they have a warranty for 30 years against rot or decay, and should last at least 60 years. The modern paint systems have a ten year warranty and when you come to re-paint them you simply wash with soapy water and paint microporous paint straight on, the paint will not flake or peel. In the right property they will also increase the value. Woodene windows and aluminium are about the same price with UPVC cheaper.
Hope this helps



Answered 17th Feb 2011

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