CE Podcasts

Aluminum vs. Wood Window and Door Systems in Contemporary Home Design

A comprehensive look into the perspectives, perceptions and realities
Sponsored by Western Window Systems
Presented by Dale DeHaan, Shawn Fitzgerald and moderated by Andrew A. Hunt

Learning Objectives:

  1. Discuss the modern trends in windows, specifically design choices in custom and luxury homes.
  2. List the benefits and drawbacks of specifying wood and aluminum framed windows and doors in custom projects.
  3. Explain how manufacturers have addressed the energy efficiency barriers to specifying aluminum framed windows and doors.
  4. Describe how aluminum framed windows and doors can satisfy the design needs for architects and clients when trying to achieve a contemporary look.


0.5 AIA LU/Elective
This test is no longer available for credit

According to the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), vinyl makes up 70 per- cent of the U.S. window market, with about 15 percent of the market comprised of wood and the rest other materials such as aluminum. It’s easy to understand why vinyl is so popular, it is inexpensive, low-maintenance, and for production home builders an easy sell and quick install. Wood remains a “go to” choice when the budget allows, in large part because it has reasonable thermal performance and, well, it’s just what people are used to. But wood can be problematic, especially when it comes to maintenance and areas where extreme wind events are common. Which brings us to aluminum. Lately the trend towards sleek contemporary designs has encouraged architects and designers to reevaluate the traditional choices. The versatility of aluminum along with some new thermal break technologies have resulted in a changing design landscape.

Aluminum Wood

Photo courtesy of Western Window Systems


Dale DeHaan, Architectural Consultant is a 10-year veteran of the construction industry. Before joining Western Window Systems in 2018, he was head of marketing and sales at Indiana-based Kaper's Building Materials. A native of Wheatfield, Indiana, Dale is involved in his church and the Chris Kyle Foundation, benefiting veterans. In his free time, he enjoys lifting weights, running, and biking. He also dabbles in real estate as the owner of rental properties and enjoys attending rock and country concerts.


Shawn Fitzgerald, Architectural Consultant. Before joining the company, Shawn worked in the architectural divisions of Northeast Building Supply, Loewen Windows, and Kolbe & Kolbe. Originally from Bristol, Connecticut, Shawn is active with his church, both as worship leader and bandleader. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, playing and modifying guitars, and creating new blends of coffee.


Andrew A. Hunt Andrew heads the content development team at Confluence Communications producing and delivering multi-media material to clients in both the residential and commercial sector. Andrew has worked for 20 years in the online training field, first helping develop learning management systems, design intuitive navigation elements, implement training programs for commercial clients, and assist clients in meeting internal training goals. Much of this work centered around helping large production home builders provide their employees with relevant best-practice information on new building systems, technologies, and design options. Moving from application to content, Andrew has spent the last 12 years working with media and publishing companies taking his knowledge of green building practices and building science to help craft training courses, articles, videos, podcasts, white papers and reports.


Western Window Systems Western Window Systems designs and manufactures moving glass walls and windows that bring indoor and outdoor spaces together. Inspired by contemporary living, our high-quality products are available in custom sizes, standardized sets, and massive dimensions for unlimited design possibilities in residential, multi-family, and commercial projects. From superior craftsmanship and timeless design to exceptional customer service, Western Window Systems is a preferred choice of architects, builders, and homeowners throughout North America. For additional information, visit www.westernwindowsystems.com


Originally published in September 2021