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Hi Aleric Stone,
We are a vinyl window replacement company located in Ontario, Canada. Of course, our weather is much different than that of California. I can however tell you a few pros and cons with Vinyl vs. Aluminum.
Aluminum windows are well known for being lightweight and overall, very durable. Since they're aluminum, they are very malleable. Meaning they can really be tailored for almost any frame shape you can think of. Vinyl windows, however, carry the same qualities but are significantly better insulators. So when the temperatures in California get on the hotter side you can crank your A/C up and the cold air will stay in and the hot, outside air will remain outside. The Polyvinyl Chloride, otherwise known as PVC does not require painting, meaning maintenance is kept to the absolute minimum.
Not to mention, vinyl windows are significantly cheaper than aluminum options. You'll find that vinyl windows are much more popular in home builds and less popular in commercial. Aluminum is undoubtably much more popular in commercial builds, and less frequently seen in home renovation.
In the end, my suggestion would be vinyl - all the way!
If you have any further questions, pelase feel free to reach out, firstname.lastname@example.org.
This is a great question as we get this all the time. Let's compare the two
Vinyl windows are more attractive and has more options for finishes, but they are thicker than aluminum.
Aluminum has a thinner frame that give it a modern look.
Vinyl Windows are durable and don't dent easily.
Aluminum windows are a little better at resisting to scratching and cracking, but they do dent easily.
Vinyl Windows are better period. They are specifically designed to provide the very best in energy efficiency.
Aluminum Windows are like radiators, when it's hot outside, it will bring in the heat inside the rooms. It goes the same for the cold weather. Yes, Southern California has pretty much nice weather year around, but think about it's one of those times when it gets super hot or super cold. You can keep your condo at a comfortable level without having to use an air conditioner or turning on the heater.
Vinyl windows is the best in thermal breaks. It minimizes heat transfer from the outside to the inside rooms.
Modern aluminum windows come with thermal breaks that are made of vinyl. It does help in making them a little more energy efficient, but overall vinyl beats it.
Vinyl windows are a better value and less expensive than aluminum.
Another benefit of vinyl windows is the noise reduction. They are more effective than aluminum. Something you might take into consideration if you live by a busy area. Of course every homeowner is different but overall vinyl windows are better in many situations. Here is a blog giving better details on the difference. Hope this helps https://www.sandiegobestwindows.com/blog/vinyl-vs-aluminum-windows/
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