Both aluminum and vinyl are typically more durable, lower-maintenance, and less expensive than wood, but each material has its plusses and minuses. Wood frames are used on custom homes looking for non-impact window selections. Aluminum frames are more prone to dents, corrosion, and fading but are generally stronger overall.

Vinyl windows require less maintenance than aluminum windows. Vinyl never requires repainting; aluminum can be repainted or re-coated. Vinyl windows excel when it comes to insulation and improving energy efficiency because the vinyl material minimizes heat transfer. Aluminum windows tend to conduct heat and, therefore, are less energy efficient. While there are impact-resistant vinyl windows available, these typically cost 20 to 30 percent more than impact-resistant aluminum windows.