Aluminum Windows vs. Wood vs. Composite vs. Vinyle
Our house was built in 1988. We live in St. Louis, MO. We need new windows. We currently have aluminum windows. I like the look and minimal amount of window frame as well as the no maintenance of an aluminum window. The only thing I haven't liked is the condensation in the winter time. I figured that would be taken care of with new aluminum windows because the new ones would have a thermal break in them. Well, we were informed by a very knowledgeable window guy that our current aluminum window frames actually have a thermal break.
So, my first question is this: Is there an aluminum window out there that has enough of a thermal break that it can handle normal winter temperatures in the 20's - 30's with occasionally getting down into the teens?
Second question: Does aluminum insulate for noise? I hear more noise from the outside than I'd like. Is that because of my aluminum windows or because of the way the house was built? If it's the aluminum windows, what window would decrease the noise?
Third question: Out of all the window choices out there, what is a "best" quality choice---both specfic window model as well as general type of material for a window? Just as I've seen other posters comment, I am extremely overwhelmed from the info I've read concerning all the negatives of so many windows.
Thank you so much for your input. As I just commented, I am just overwhelmed with the complexity of this decision.