So, when replacing the windows on your house, what exactly is the best route to go down?

Vinyl windows, composite windows, or aluminum replacement windows?

I was sifting through Yahoo Answers today and found this very same question. Here is the answer as provided by BearDown (I’m guessing BearDown is a windows expert given the name, as in “Bear Down the Hatches”) :

Okay, theres a difference between replacement windows (vinyl) and replacing old windows with new windows. Since you mention wood and aluminum as options, I’m assuming you mean replacing the old with new and not actual replacement windows, which amounts to mounting a vinyl sash assembly into the old window frame.

So with that in mind and respect to everyone else who prefer vinyl, in my opinion vinyl is nothing more than a low budget option. Aluminum clad windows are the best option when you factor in looks, functionality, performance, durability and maintainence versus cost. Vinyl, like all polymer based products, degrades when exposed to elements such as sunlight, rain, wind, heat and cold, leaving the vinyl brittle and susceptible to cracking. Not to mention, vinyl windows look really cheap and mechanically, do not function as well as wood or aluminum. If you are replacing old window units with new window units, aluminum clad is the best option.

If you do indeed mean actual replacement windows, I’ve only seen them in vinyl, no wood or aluminum options, just vinyl. But, I’ve been retired a couple of years, and these may be new options that I’m not aware of. If these ARE new options, I’d probably still be inclined to recommend the aluminum for the same reasons stated above.