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What is the difference between aluminium and steel windows?

4 August 2023 | General

Steel look window interior view

When it comes to choosing replacement windows for your home, the material you choose plays a crucial role in how they’ll look, as well as their overall durability and performance. Among today’s popular choices are aluminium and steel – but what exactly is the difference between the two?

Material properties Aluminium is a lightweight metal with a low density, making aluminium windows easy to handle during installation. They boast excellent corrosion resistance, making them suitable for coastal or high-humidity environments. While not as strong as steel, aluminium windows still offer satisfactory structural integrity. Steel is a robust and heavy metal, providing exceptional strength and durability. Steel’s high strength allows for slimmer window profiles, maximising the glass area and improving natural light intake. However, steel is prone to rusting, necessitating proper coatings or galvanisation for corrosion resistance.
Thermal performance Historically, aluminium was less thermally efficient than steel, but advancements in thermal break technology have significantly improved aluminium window performance. Modern aluminium windows with thermal breaks offer good energy efficiency and can meet or exceed building energy codes. They are also fitted with double or triple glazing to enhance insulation. Steel has a higher thermal conductivity compared to aluminium, which means traditional steel windows are not as energy-efficient. Steel windows with thermal breaks can achieve better energy efficiency, but they may still lag behind aluminium in this regard.


Design flexibility Aluminium’s malleability allows for intricate designs, making it a popular choice for contemporary and modern architecture. The material can be powder-coated in various colours, providing a wide range of design options. Slim profiles and expansive glass panels are achievable with aluminium windows, offering a sleek and minimalist look. Steel windows are renowned for their elegance and timeless appeal, making them suitable for both modern and traditional architectural styles. Steel’s inherent strength allows for slender frames and larger glass panes, providing unobstructed views and increased natural light. The slim sightlines of steel windows create an aesthetic that many architects and designers find desirable.
Maintenance Aluminium windows are relatively low maintenance and do not require regular painting or sealing. They are resistant to corrosion, ensuring their longevity even in harsh environmental conditions. Steel windows require more maintenance compared to aluminium windows due to their susceptibility to rust. Regular inspections and touch-ups of paint or protective coatings are necessary to prevent rust formation.
Cost considerations Aluminium windows are generally more cost-effective than steel windows, making them a popular choice for budget-conscious projects. Steel windows are typically more expensive than aluminium windows due to the higher cost of materials and manufacturing processes.
Applications Aluminium windows are well-suited for residential, commercial, and industrial projects and are commonly used in modern and contemporary architectural styles that emphasise clean lines and large glass surfaces. Steel windows find their niche in historical restoration projects, luxury residences, and commercial spaces where a classic or industrial look is desired. They are often specified in applications that demand superior strength, security, and durability.


What are the benefits of steel-look aluminium windows?

Large custom shaped steel window

It’s clear that both aluminium and steel windows have their advantages – it’s why at Direct Trade Windows, we combine the best of both worlds to offer high-quality and high-performing steel-look aluminium windows to both our trade and retail customers.

Steel-look aluminium windows offer the ideal combination of aesthetics and practicality, making them an increasingly popular choice in modern architecture and home design, and have been designed to replicate the elegant and timeless appearance of traditional steel windows while benefitting from the superior properties of aluminium.

A key advantage includes slim sightlines, providing a sleek and sophisticated look that maximises natural light intake and offers unobstructed views.

Additionally, steel-look aluminium windows are highly durable, corrosion-resistant and low-maintenance, ensuring they’ll last for years to come, even in the harshest weather conditions.

Ultimately, steel-look aluminium windows provide the best of both worlds – the timeless charm of steel and the performance benefits of aluminium, enhancing the beauty and functionality of your home.

How can Direct Trade Windows help you?

At Direct Trade Windows, we manufacture and install high-quality steel-look aluminium windows across homes in the Greater London area.

These include:

For more information, contact our friendly team of installers or visit one of our state-of-the-art showrooms in Slough or Brighton to see our products up close.

Find your next steel-look windows and doors today! Use our handy quoting engine to receive a free, no-obligation quote. You’ll be able to find most of our products with our quoting engine.

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