Increased focus on unique profiles and wood species and an expanding selection of hardware and finishes are making aluminum- and vinyl-clad windows a perennially popular choice with pros and homeowners.

Manufacturers are expanding their collections and getting more inventive with styles and options. Peachtree, for instance, recently introduced a simulated transom window in its vinyl-clad 300 series. It's available with rectangle- and Gothic-shaped tops and in other profiles, allowing pros to create unique patterns without much fuss, says the firm. But the real kicker is that the window costs about 22% less than a two-piece stacked unit, says Jeff Kibler, Peachtree's brand manager.

Arches and transoms on Peachtree's 700 series elegantly frame the view.
Arches and transoms on Peachtree's 700 series elegantly frame the view.

Weather Shield recently introduced aluminum-clad casements that the firm dubs “old-fashioned” and “architecturally correct” to appeal to exacting pros and homeowners, say Dave Koester and Pete Lenar, brand managers at the company.

Andersen and Marvin now offer venting windows that feature fine mesh screens that don't detract from the outside view. The nearly invisible TruScreen insect screen is available on Andersen's clad 400 series windows; Marvin makes an aluminum-clad venting picture window.

“The window appears to be closed from the street, even when in the venting position,” says Anthony S. Head, regulatory product planner for Marvin. Interior wood selections, cladding colors, and distinct hardware finishes are the icing on the clad-window cake. Many window makers offer a blossoming selection of interior woods including pine, mahogany, oak, Douglas fir, cherry, alder, and exotic species.

For Tom O'Reilly, managing partner of Living Color Development in Del Ray Beach, Fla., the interior wood selection is paramount. “I use lots of alder and cherry,” O'Reilly notes. “You can't tell the difference between them because they have a similar grain and the same red hue, but alder is less expensive.”

Meanwhile, numerous exterior clad colors are available. Weather Shield and Marvin each offer 55 and 19 tones, for example. And Jeld-Wen has six standard hues.

Additionally, a handful of firms, including Kolbe Windows & Doors, Weather Shield, and Jeld-Wen, offer anodized aluminum cladding finishes for homes that require a more rustic look or that need protection from hard climates.

Last but not least, window hardware finishes are evolving and expanding. Traditional plated and bright brass finishes remain popular, but hand-forged finishes such as oil-rubbed bronze are on the rise. “Homeowners want hardware patinas and styles to match throughout the house,” Kibler says. — Stephanie Herzfeld. A version of this article originally appeared in BUILDING PRODUCTS , REMODELING 's sister publication.