Part 4 of a 4 part series | How much do Replacement Windows Cost? | Aluminum Clad-Wood Windows
How much do Aluminum Clad-Wood Replacement Windows Cost?
This is a question we get asked quite a bit from our customers so my goal is to try and answer it with as much info as possible.
Aluminum Clad-Wood Window replacement cost will generally be more than vinyl or fiberglass windows, of course that can differ depending on the brand and options. For example, Pella offers a really inexpensive wood-clad line called Pella Proline or 450 series which can cost less than one of the quality vinyl brands. Andersen offers a part fiberglass (sash only), part Fibrex (a wood/vinyl composite material) (frame only) that costs as much as many of the premier aluminum clad-wood window lines including Andersen’s own E-series window.
Even though Aluminum Clad-Wood Windows are generally at the top end of the budget for window replacement projects, they do have a high Return On Investment of 72-74%. To learn more about the ROI of aluminum clad-wood windows, check out Remodeling Magazine’s Article, “Why Are Wood-Clad Replacement Windows Top Payback Winners?”.
Aluminum Clad-Wood Windows vary greatly in price depending on different factors such as:
- Construction of the Window or How it is made
- Warranty Included (Both material & labor)
- Exterior Finish
- Selections or Features & Size of the window
- Installation Methods
Construction of the Window
- The Cladding (How the Aluminum is made)
Aluminum Clad-Wood Windows are a wood window that has an aluminum cladding on the exterior to protect the wood. There are two types of cladding used for an aluminum clad window:
- Extruded Aluminum Cladding - Think of a Quarter
Extruded Aluminum is about the thickness of a quarter. This type of cladding is structural because of how thick it is. Extruded aluminum is not likely to dent or to lose its shape when hit such as in a hail storm.
- Roll-Form Aluminum Cladding - Think Soda Can
Roll-Form Aluminum is thin like a soda or pop can. This type of cladding wraps around the wood and is not structural. Roll-form cladding dents very easily which can cause the cladding to pull away from the wood and let water in. One aspect about roll form cladding, however, is that if the cladding does get damaged it can be exchanged for new cladding. This needs to be done quickly before water has a chance to get access to the wood behind the cladding.
2. Joint Construction
The joints or construction of the corners of the window are available in two different ways
- Mitered Corners - Corners come together at 45 degree angles
Pella Proline Mitered Corner
- Butt Joint Construction - Corners come together at a 90 degree angle (like a traditional wood window)
Marvin Ultimate Butt Joint
Warranties on Aluminum Clad Wood Windows vary greatly between manufacturers. Most manufacturers offer a 20-year warranty on the glass packs & 10 years on the hardware and non-glass components. The exterior cladding, wood, interior finish and service/ labor warranties are where many manufacturers differ in their warranties.
Exterior Cladding warranties differ greatly because of a couple of reasons
- Windows constructed with extruded aluminum generally have a longer cladding warranty than those constructed with roll-form aluminum. This is because the exterior finish lasts longer on the thicker extruded aluminum.
- Different manufacturers use different paint finishes on their aluminum cladding. AAMA, American Architectural Manufacturers Association, has different ratings for coatings (finishes) on aluminum extrusions (the cladding). They test these different coatings in South Florida for color retention, chalk resistance, erosion, etc. The three AAMA ratings include 2603, 2604 & 2605. A 2603 rating shows “slight fading” after 1 year on the South Florida fence test, whereas a 2605 rating must meet standards for a minimum of 10 years. An AAMA 2604 rating means the paint finish must meed standards for a minimum of 5 years. For the AAMA Specifications, click here.
Paint Fence in South Florida
Windows that have an AAMA 2603 rating will have a shorter cladding warranty around 2 years where as a window with a 2605 AAMA rating will have as long as a 20-year exterior cladding warranty. It is really important to consider the AAMA ratings if you are considering dark colored windows such as black, dark grey, bronze, etc. because the dark colors will fade much more quickly and unevenly on windows with a AAMA 2603 rating vs. the longer lasting 2605 rating.
8 Year old Window with an AAMA rating of 2603, original color- Bronze, significant & uneven fading present
Wood warranties also vary between manufacturers. Some manufacturers offer a limited lifetime wood warranty on their windows. This warranty is generally only to the purchaser and non-transferable. Other manufacturers offer 10-year wood warranties that are fully transferable. Some big questions to ask with the wood warranties are:
- Will the manufacturer pay for the labor to replace the sash, frame or window? If so, how long into the warranty?
- Will the manufacturer pay for the staining or painting of the new sash, frame or window? If so, how long into the warranty?
- What happens if the manufacturer sends a new sash and the color of the cladding of the new sash doesn’t match the frame because of fading?
These are all important questions to ask when evaluating warranties.
The length of the labor or service warranty from the manufacturers is also a component to consider when purchasing new windows. These generally last anywhere from 1-5 years. This warranty is the length of time before you have to pay for any service related issues with your windows. What this means is if your glass becomes foggy between the panes of glass (seal failure) after 10 years, the manufacturer will send you new glass but you have to pay to have it replaced.
Just like with fiberglass and vinyl windows, the size of the windows, selections and options you choose will also greatly affect the price of your new windows. Options such as grids, hardware finishes, blinds or shades, just to name a few, also affects the price of the windows.
The installation method you select will also affect the price of your window replacement project. An insert replacement method is more cost effective than a full frame replacement. It is important to understand the different replacement methods and choose the one that is best for your home and budget. To learn more about different installation methods, Check out "Window Installation: What is the best method for my home?"
So as far as the big question, how much do aluminum clad wood windows cost, it has a pretty broad answer. It depends. I know that is not the answer you are looking for, but it really does depend on so many factors. To at least give you a starting point, you can expect to pay anywhere from $1000 an opening for an entry level, roll-form aluminum clad window with a 2603 rating to $2000 an opening for an extruded aluminum window with a 2605 finish. The options, features and installation method you choose will ultimately affect the overall project and your window replacement cost.
Here is a break down of the cladding types & AAMA ratings for some of the more popular aluminum clad-wood window lines.
Would you like even more information about replacing your windows? Download this free Window Replacement Guide presented by This Old House.
Click Below to Download
Read part #1 in the series, How Much do Vinyl Replacement Windows Cost?
Read part #2 in the series, How Much do Vinyl Replacement Windows Cost?
Read part #3 in the series, How Much do Fiberglass Windows Cost?