Clad Windows: What is cladding, and why do Minnesota homeowners want it on their windows?

August 27, 2021

Clad Windows - What and why do Minnesota homeowners want it on their windows

When shopping for windows, there are five main considerations: How they look, how much they cost, how they hold up to the elements, how much maintenance they require, and how energy efficient they are. Clad windows perform well in all these areas. What is cladding and how does it provide these benefits?

Clad windows consist of vinyl, aluminum, or fiberglass covering a wooden core. This provides the look and feel of real wood in the interior without the exterior maintenance. Which type of cladding is right for you?

Extruded aluminum-clad windows

If window strength is your top priority, take a look at 1/8-inch thick extruded aluminum-clad windows. Because of their strength, aluminum-clad windows are less likely to be scratched and hold up well against hail and other elements common in Minnesota.

Aluminum-clad windows also come in a wide variety of shapes and colors, typically featuring Kynar paint that is fade-resistant and resists chalking better than other paint products. If you decide you want a change, they can be painted.

These strong, customizable windows don’t break the bank, either, especially compared to wood windows.

Are there any downfalls? Yes. Aluminum windows can be less energy efficient than vinyl or fiberglass because aluminum transfers heat more easily.

Vinyl-clad windows

Vinyl-clad windows are the most popular option when it comes to clad windows, and there are many reasons why.

In Minnesota, it’s important for windows to keep the heat in during the winter and the heat out during the summer, and that’s what vinyl-clad windows do best. This can make things easier on your HVAC system and ultimately save energy, which saves money, as well.

Vinyl-clad windows require very little maintenance and never need to be painted.

They are not as affordable as standard vinyl windows, but are a much more economical option than standard wood windows, while providing aesthetic benefits of wood inside your home.

The PVC material used in vinyl-clad windows can be fused at the corners, making them leak-resistant.

Quality is important when it comes to vinyl-clad windows. Low-end options can fade, chalk, warp, and chip over time. To get the best value out of your vinyl-clad windows, it’s important to review your options with a professional.

Fiberglass-clad windows

While fiberglass-clad windows are not as strong as aluminum-clad windows, they are stronger than vinyl-clad windows.

Fiberglass-clad windows are even more energy-efficient than vinyl-clad windows. Fiberglass has very little expansion or contraction, which is important in climates with drastic temperature changes like Minnesota. Benefits include keeping the windows tightly sealed to minimize air infiltration, while also adding the aforementioned energy efficiency.

Not only do fiberglass-clad windows fare well in extreme temperatures, they also hold up against hail, other inclement weather, and moisture. They will not warp, rot, rust, or fade.

Fiberglass-clad windows come in a variety of styles, sizes, and colors, but there are fewer options than with wood windows. They can be painted, but don’t require it. There is also less maintenance with fiberglass-clad windows than wood windows.

They are more expensive than vinyl-clad windows, but less than standard wood windows.

Roll form aluminum cladding

The last type of cladding is roll form aluminum cladding. It should not be confused with extruded aluminum cladding. It is much thinner than extruded aluminum cladding, which means it is easily bent and damaged. Making roll form even less desirable is the fact that it is covered with a cheaper paint coating which is susceptible to fading, chalking, and scratching.

Deciding factors

To recap, roll form aluminum-clad windows cost the least upfront, extruded aluminum-clad windows are the strongest, vinyl-clad windows offer the best overall value, and fiberglass-clad windows provide the most energy efficiency.

Ready to talk over your options with an expert? Call KeyPrime at 952-522-2802 or visit for a free quote.

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