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Window Replacements

How Long Do Aluminum Windows Last?

October 3rd, 2012 | 2 min. read

How Long Do Aluminum Windows Last?

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Aluminum WindowAre you considering new replacement windows for your home? Researching the different options out there? One popular option is the aluminum window, but many people have asked the question: How long do aluminum windows last? Here are some facts to consider regarding aluminum windows.

Types of Aluminum Windows

There are two different types of aluminum windows: aluminum and aluminum-clad (aluminum over wood).  Typically, higher end aluminum-clad windows come with a 15-20 year warranty on their finish, while a builder’s grade single pane aluminum window has a much shorter life span. Window technology is always evolving, though, so the aluminum window on the market today lasts longer than the aluminum window of the previous decade.  Furthermore, as with all products, no two windows are created equal.

The specific amount of time that each aluminum window will last depends heavily upon how it was made. There are varied strengths of aluminum windows with the stronger material obviously lasting longer.  Furthermore, there are two types of aluminum-clad windows: the extruded aluminum and the roll-formed aluminum.  The extruded aluminum is the thicker of the two, therefore lasting longer than roll formed. It’s important to note that with any aluminum-clad window, water can seep in behind the cladding and cause the wood underneath to rot, ultimately shortening its life.  Recently, there was a class action law suit filed against a large manufacturer of aluminum-clad windows due to this specific issue.


My Personal Experience with Aluminum Windows

I personally replaced the aluminum windows in the home I bought five years ago.  The existing aluminum windows had been in the home for about 12 years and they looked horrendous.  Much of the hardware and seals were broken, the grilles were dislodged, the glass was discolored, and the joints had split.  Some of the windows had a factory-installed finish and were showing severe signs of discoloration; the others were the original oxidized aluminum and were just plain UGLY.  By assessing the condition of the windows, I would say they lasted much less than 10 years.  Perhaps they were a poor grade or may not have been installed correctly; regardless, they needed to be replaced earlier than I would have liked.


The life span of aluminum windows are ultimately determined by the manufacturer and the model. Regardless of which type of window you choose, I urge you to read the fine print in the warranty literature.  Most often, the warranty for aluminum windows applies to specific components of the window, leaving you without coverage for typical wear and malfunctions common to these types of windows.