Aluminum vs Vinyl Windows
Please forgive my rather lengthy post.
We have home that was built in the late 70s. It has T-111 (plywood) siding. The existing windows are single pane aluminum framed windows. Our house is somewhat "modern" in that there are some clerestory windows and some triangle shaped windows that mimic the peak of the roof. The interior side of the windows do not include any mouldings, just sheetrock to the aluminum window frame. The exterior side of the windows does have wood trim surrounding the windows.
We are in Northern California, so rarely it might get below freezing in the winter. Summer can get into the 100s. But, we are pretty much in a temperate environment.
We are researching replacing the windows because they are single pane, because some of the seals around the glass are failing, and because the sliding glass doors are getting increasingly difficult to open and close.
We have had a few window replacement companies come out and give us quotes on new windows. None are interested in quoting for replacing the aluminum windows with new aluminum windows, but instead are suggesting that we go with replacement vinyl windows.
They say that the vinyl windows are so much better than the aluminum. The aluminum transfers the heat and cold more readily than the vinyl. Nobody says how much better the vinyl is than the aluminum.
We do see that the construction of the vinyl window includes metal (I assume aluminum) to separate the panes of glass, and in a more expensive window model, was within the vinyl channel that forms the window frame.
We see that the replacement vinyl windows would make the glass area smaller and would create additional detail around the interior window openings, with the white vinyl frame showing. We do not think that this would be appropriate for our house, as there is no moulding or detailing around the interiors of the windows now.
We think that it would not be too difficult to remove the existing exterior window trim, remove the existing window, replace the window with a new construction aluminum double pane, and replace the exterior trim, but no one seems to be willing to do that.
Also, we think that if we go with new aluminum windows, we would not need to replace all the windows, but only replace select operable windows, and not the fixed clerestory windows and other fixed windows that have odd shapes. If we went with vinyl, all the windows would have to be replaced because any that were not replaced would stick out because they would not match the new windows.
So, my questions are:
Is vinyl that much better than aluminum, if so, how much better?
Why are the contractors so hard sell with the vinyl windows? Are they that much easier to install? Is there a greater profit margin?
Has anyone else replaced their windows with new aluminum frame windows, and if so, how has that worked out? Do you regret your decision?
Any information anyone could post would be most appreciated. Thank you.