PVC, aluminum or wood window: which material to choose?

PVC, aluminum, wood or even mixed, you can find different window materials on the market, all of which have their advantages and disadvantages. Insulation, brightness, budget, dimensions … Choose the windows adapted to your home thanks to the advice of our two experts.

PVC windows: the most efficient in terms of thermal insulation

PVC windows offer good value for money. “PVC windows are ideal for renovations or for homeowners renting out their apartment or house,” says Marie-Jeanne Houdusse, joinery product manager at Franciaflex because they combine excellent energy performance and reduced cost. ” At equal dimensions, they are in fact the ones that offer the best thermal performance. “Consumers often choose PVC windows because they mostly change their windows to reduce their heating bill and this material is the best compromise between thermal performance and final cost”, confirms Sébastien Gérard at Tryba.  

To measure these thermal gains, the coefficient Uw is taken into account, which indicates the performance of the thermal insulation of a window as a whole. It is calculated according to the thermal performance of the frame (frame + sash, equal Uf) and glazing (Ug) and is expressed in W / m2.K. To put it simply, remember that the lower the Uw value, the better the insulation. “When a standard window displays a Uw around 1.2, the Uw of our best PVC windows allows coefficients close to 0.8 to be reached, adds Philippe Brucher at Tryba. 

PVC windows: many advantages

Another advantage is that PVC windows also offer good acoustic performance, especially if they are fitted with double or triple glazing. To compare the glazing, the Ug coefficient, which judges the thermal performance of the glazing, is taken into account. The most insulating glazing is here also the lowest value: for a good double glazing, plan an Ug coefficient of 1.1 W / m2K, the triple glazing can reach a coefficient of 0.5 W / m2K for maximum performance . Also important is the thermal performance of the window frame expressed by the Uf coefficient in W / m2.K. The lower its value, the more insulating the frame, which is often the case with PVC frames.  

The PVC models, however, withstand the passing of time without risk of deformation, especially if their frame is reinforced by metal frames. They are not afraid of bad weather and can be easily cleaned with a sponge. On the aesthetic side, manufacturers have also made a lot of efforts to offer more designer and colorful products. “The range of colors is narrower than with aluminum,” continues Marie-Jeanne Houdusse, “but thanks to the color films, we can now decide on colored PVC windows. PVC can also be lacquered to be offered in color, but that costs more. ” Finally, PVC windows do not pollute more than other materials because they are 99% recyclable.  

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