Replacement Aluminum Windows & Steel Doors

Strength & durability without compromise

Before we dive into the world of aluminum and steel windows and doors, let’s talk about science. Way, way back in grade school, you probably learned about the various conductive qualities of different materials. Materials like foam, fiberglass, wood, and plastic are excellent insulators – meaning that heat and cold don’t transfer through them quickly. That’s why oven mitts, wooden spoons, and foam insulation are so popular. Metal, on the other hand, is an excellent conductor – both heat and cold transfer through, around, and throughout metals like aluminum and steel very quickly.

In the world of windows, insulators vs. conductors are very important to understand. That’s why in a U-Value rating, it’s not just the insulation value of the glass that is measured. The entire performance of the window, frame and all, are measured by how much heat or cold is lost or gained through the total opening.

All that being said, aluminum and steel are still very common window and door materials, especially in commercial applications. Window manufacturers have designed these products to be “thermally broken” so they can perform at their best without suffering from major efficiency concerns.

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What does it mean to create a thermal break?
A means of preventing heat transfer by inserting a non-conductive material between conductive surfaces. Metal, for example, can transfer a lot of heat and cold, so manufacturing with a resin, wood, plastic, foam, polystyrene, or other insulated interior material sandwiched between two pieces of metal will help reduce that transfer. Even air can create a thermal break. It’s used between panes of glass and in blank “channels” in extruded products to improve energy efficiency.

Durability & Beauty Rolled into One!

Aluminum vs. Aluminum Clad Windows & Doors

If you research aluminum reviews online, you’ll learn that in warmer climates where thermal transfer isn’t as much of a concern, full-frame aluminum products are more common. However, here in Wisconsin, aluminum is most often used in two ways: As a cladding material, covering the exterior surfaces of a wood window or in commercial applications.

aluminum windows and doors

What are Aluminum & Aluminum Clad Windows

Aluminum windows and doors come in two different forms:

  • Aluminum Clad Wood Windows – Two great materials rolled into one – aluminum on the outside for protection against the elements, strength and durability, and wood on the inside for aesthetic value. Get more information on clad products.
  • All-Aluminum – Here, the entire frame is made of the metal. The extruded lengths of material are made by pushing heated, softened material through a die, creating cavities, grooves, and profiles for the window frame. These long lengths of aluminum frame material are then hardened, cut to size, and welded together, while scrap material is recycled. A thermal break is created by inserting an insulating material between the interior and exterior frame pieces.

The Benefits of Aluminum Windows

There are many benefits to aluminum products, including:

  • Custom Aesthetics – The ultimate flexibility, aluminum can be formed into just about any shape, giving you the ability to match unique window and moulding profiles.
  • Color Customization – Due to it’s superior adhering qualities, aluminum products can be painted, powder coated, or anodized in more color choices than any other product we offer.
  • Historical Applications – Because many historic windows have large glass openings and a large variety of frame shapes, sizes and profiles, versatile aluminum is often used in historic renovations.
  • Strength & Durability – With proper care and maintenance, aluminum offers excellent performance against the elements, making it a great exterior material choice.
  • Light Weight – Important in a large, commercial application, the light weight of aluminum is appealing to many structural engineers.

Strong & Secure for the Toughest of Engineering Demands

Steel doors

Most commonly used when strength and security are of utmost concern, steel doors offer good insulating value and fire ratings with a lower maintenance finish than wood. Steel is popular in commercial applications, exterior door products, as well as garage doors. It also can offer incredible longevity, making it a common choice in industrial and institutional settings.

What are Steel Doors?

Steel comes with a vocabulary all of it’s own. To best understand how steel doors are constructed, let’s start with these terms:

  • Thermally Broken – As described above, thermal breaks in highly conductive surfaces like steel are essential. Resin, wood, plastic, foam, polystyrene, or other insulated interior material is inserted in a steel frame, improving its energy efficiency. Thermal breaks are important in many building applications, but steel doors top the list!
  • Stamping – The process of “imprinting” a shape or design into a sheet of metal. Often used to create shapes, indentions, or even a wood grain look onto a metal product, stamping can add a decorative finish to a steel door surface.

So, if you look at the insides of a high-quality steel door, you should see layers of materials. Two pieces of steel – either a steel frame for strength or a steel sheet for appearance and durability – on either side, separated by an insulator to create a thermal break.

The Benefits of Steel Doors

There are many benefits to a steel product, both commercially and residentially speaking:

  • Fire Rating Value – Depending on their core material, steel doors have some of the best fire ratings on the market, making them great choices for house-to-garage openings or institutional settings.
  • Secure – While we don’t have hurricanes in Wisconsin, strong impact-rated steel doors can withstand the toughest weather and circumstances.
  • Strength – The strongest material option, steel is often used in large commercial projects where structurally supporting large, thick panes of glass or heavily used doors is essential.
  • Economical – Often less expensive than their fiberglass counterparts, steel offers a cost-effective option, especially for exterior front door choices.
  • Narrow Sightlines – Due to it’s inherent strength, steel door frames can be much thinner than other materials, providing large glass openings and expansive views.
  • Long Lifecycle – With their strength and durability, steel doors have an exceptional lifespan and resistance to warping. Glass can be replaced in this frame more frequently than other materials.