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Steel or Aluminium Windows & Doors: Which Should You Choose?

It’s becoming an increasingly popular decision to trade out older, more outdated steel windows and door frames for newer, more stylish, modern and affordable options. The most commonly opted for material when replacing steel frames tends to be aluminium. We’re going to be taking a look at why this is the case here. Finding out how making the switch to our aluminium windows and doors could be a smart decision for you.

Traditional Crittall Style Windows

One of the major benefits of making the change to aluminium framing is that it can accurately act as a “steel look” material. This means that building projects, both residential and commercial, can maintain the stylish and traditional look that steel windows have provided for hundreds of years – especially those in the highly desirable Crittall style.

The Crittall Windows company has been producing top-quality steel windows for projects around the world for over 160 years, and the famous grid-styled windows and other such heavy black-framed doors and windows have become synonymous with the design. 

steel, Steel or Aluminium Windows & Doors: Which Should You Choose?

Recent years have seen a resurgence of the Crittall-style windows in all kinds of construction projects around the world, but why is this?

As galvanised, powder coated products, these trademarked windows are resolute against any weather conditions, and also will not require maintenance for at least 25 to 30 years. They can be double and even triple glazed and, being made from steel, can be 100% recycled at the end of their 60+ year lifespan. 

However, whilst new builds, renovations and plenty of other projects all continue to opt for the Crittall style windows, many are choosing to stray away from the traditional steel frames, and are instead implementing newer, more modern aluminium steel look doors and windows into their projects.

How is aluminium a true alternative to steel?

Aluminium is a cheaper material than steel. It has a cheaper manufacturing process, is 100% recyclable, and requires impressively little maintenance over the course of its lifespan. When the time comes to replace aluminium frames, they can be almost completely recycled and reused once again as window or door frames. 

Modern aluminium frames are much slimmer than they once were, meaning the stylistic differences between steel and aluminium are no longer what they used to be, with steel being the far slimmer and sleeker product. 

Since aluminium can provide buyers with a cheaper alternative, that can look very similar to steel and perform in a very similar fashion, it is clear to see why more people are continuing to turn their backs on the authentic option in steel.

Is aluminium a better alternative to steel?

Whilst many people believe that aluminium is absolutely the way forward for windows and door frames, large groups still would argue that you can’t replace the traditional look and feel of what steel frames provide. 

One of the biggest, and most obvious, draws of choosing aluminium is that it is an overall cheaper material to purchase and work with than steel. As a raw material, steel is more expensive than aluminium. This, paired with the significantly more costly manufacturing process, makes steel a pricier option than its aluminium counterpart. 

You can expect modern steel windows to be both incredibly secure and impressively thermally efficient, meeting and in many cases exceeding regulations, whilst also available to be double glazed.

Aluminium Windows and Doors: Why You Should Choose Them

What to think about when Buying Architectural Glazing

What is Minimal Glazing?

As a material, steel is 3 times stronger than aluminium, however, all aluminium windows and doors still absolutely meet all security regulations with no questions asked. Aluminium can also provide an additional layer of glazing to become triple glazed. This could make your home a more secure, thermally efficient and even more comfortable environment, due to the noise-cancelling abilities of triple glazed windows.

Is triple glazing as good a benefit as it sounds?

Whilst double glazing is the cheaper option, triple glazing is significantly more efficient and provides homeowners and other owners of construction projects with a far lower u-value. A U-value is used to measure a building’s thermal performance, and in the long run, can save significant amounts of money in bills.

With an expected life span of up to and beyond 60 years, steel windows will be an option that stays with you in your house for a long time. Whilst aluminium windows and doors will only last between 30 to 40 years, the material itself is completely resistant to all weather conditions, requires little to no maintenance, and can be 100% recycled at the end of its life span. One significant benefit of aluminium as an alternative to steel is that it does not rust.

Steel windows and doors have always been a popular choice due to their impressive, ultra-slim style. They have always looked stylish and sleek, whilst also allowing great amounts of light into the house and retaining energy to produce impressive thermal performances. Whilst not always the case, modern aluminium windows can provide a slim style whilst also retaining impressive amounts of energy. 

Aluminium windows are fitted with what is called a thermal break as a standard installation. A thermal break is what windows and doors use to ensure that no external cold passes through and into the property, lowering the temperature of the interior. This id more than likely incurring an increase in heating bills to counteract the poor thermal efficiency. This is how aluminium products can ensure such great thermal performance, whereas steel products do not come fitted with the thermal break as standard.

steel, Steel or Aluminium Windows & Doors: Which Should You Choose?

So – should you choose steel or aluminium steel look alternatives?

Ultimately, the pros and cons must be weighed up by the buyer. Aluminium comes at a notable cheaper cost than steel, and there is a recognisable reason for this. Trademarked Crittall windows, and other Crittall-styled windows are the real, genuine deal. They provide slim lines, heavy-duty capabilities, and the benefit of being hand-made on top of all of this.

Modern aluminium windows, whilst not the authentic and traditional material used for such a style of window or door, provide an alternative that is barely distinguishable from the steel options.

What will ultimately be the deciding factor in many people’s choices is the lower cost of aluminium windows for a product which matches performance. In some instances such as energy efficiency, is a better choice than steel. 

Take a look at our offering of Art Deco windows and doors to see the full line of steel look options.

With a profile that is just 47mm wide, these modern, stylish windows have been designed with the traditional Crittall style in mind. Whilst also ensuring that they are thermally efficient as well as attractive. 

With multi-point locking, our offering provides not only a more efficient home, but also a significantly more secure one. Any project looking to capture a traditional heritage or modern art deco feel could be transformed by our modern offering of windows.

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