European or American windows: which one is better?

European or American windows: which one is better?
Composition of different types of windows isolated on white background

In recent years, European manufacturers have increasingly won tenders for the manufacture of glass facades for skyscrapers and shopping centers in the USA. But does it make sense to order windows and doors in Europe when converting a detached or semi-detached house?

Let’s find out which windows are better: American or European. And which ones are cheaper? To get a true picture, we make a comparison based on four criteria.

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energy efficiency

Coincidentally, winters in northern Europe are colder than in the United States and energy prices are higher. In addition, Europeans are more cost-conscious. This led to the emergence of strict building efficiency standards that were adopted at the legislative level.

What’s in practice? Tests confirm the higher energy efficiency of European windows. Low heat transfer is achieved by:

  • Special flat arches in window frames that prevent heat exchange;
  • Double glazed windows with two or even three cameras, which is rarely practiced by American brands;
  • Thicker glass with energy saving coating. It reflects UV and IR rays but does not block visible light.

Due to the tight clamping of European windows, the tightness reaches 900 Pa, which is higher than the lever shutters common in the USA.

Comparing the design as a whole and not just the frames, the heat loss of European windows is 15-20% lower than that of a comparable US window classification system.

durability

Reinforced plastic and aluminum windows are mainly used in Europe. In the US, PVC and wood windows are used. Aluminum frames are less common.

Aluminum profiles are the most durable of all materials, manufacturers give them a 50-year guarantee. PVC is guaranteed for 20 to 30 years, subject to quality processing. Wooden profiles have to be replaced in 10 to 15 years.

The fittings of European windows are more complicated, together with gaskets they last 10-15 years. Sash windows are more commonly used in the United States. Clicks and fasteners rarely fail, but seals need to be replaced every year.

security

As for the reliability of the locking mechanism, both European and American windows are equally reliable in the closed position, it is impossible to open the sash from the outside without breaking the glass. Everything changes in ventilation mode.

With European systems, the tilt and turn sash can only be fully opened from the inside. But American windows, when ajar, can be easily opened from the outside. There is enough gap to put your hand through.

An additional argument for windows from Europe is the possibility of installing tempered glass. It’s quite difficult to break them even with a rock or a small crowbar or a hammer.

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Price

Given the reduced energy consumption and durability, European windows are already more competitive, part of the investment will pay off in the form of savings on repairs and heating bills. With all the advantages, the EU manufacturers set lower prices. When buying a whole house window set these are cheaper in the EU even when shipping across the Atlantic.

In the US, manufacturers are conservative and produce windows in standard sizes. It is difficult and expensive to reconfigure equipment to produce non-standard stained glass windows. In Europe, the market works differently.

There are manufacturers of profile systems and fabricators who assemble windows for customers. Thanks to this, in Eastern Europe, where production costs are lower, you can order high-quality glass windows from Aluprof (Poland), Reynaers (Belgium) or Schuco (Germany) profiles and save a lot. Find out more about the options available and get advice on the alumglass.eu website.