Aluminum Basement Window Insert: Product Review and Installation Guide

Unravel the benefits and drawbacks of an aluminum basement window insert, equipping you with all the necessary information to make the best choice for your home.

Key takeaways:

  • Aluminum basement window inserts are lightweight and easy to install.
  • They provide increased natural light and a modern aesthetic.
  • They have good thermal performance and can improve energy efficiency.
  • Aluminum window inserts are durable, low-maintenance, and long-lasting.
  • While initially more expensive, they offer long-term value and cost savings.

Benefits of Aluminum for Basement Windows

benefits of aluminum for basement windows

Aluminum window inserts excel in strength-to-weight ratio, making them an ideal choice for basement applications. Their lightweight nature simplifies installation and reduces strain on house foundations, a crucial consideration for any basement structure.

Additionally, aluminum’s inherent resistance to corrosion ensures longevity even in damp basement environments, a typical concern for below-ground spaces.

The material’s slim profile allows for maximized glass area, affording homeowners increased natural light in an otherwise dim setting. Furthermore, the minimalistic aesthetic of aluminum frames complements modern interior design trends.

With impressive thermal performance through thermally broken frames, these inserts can improve a home’s energy efficiency, leading to potential savings on heating and cooling bills.

Given aluminum’s recycling potential, selecting this material aligns with eco-friendly building practices, reducing the environmental footprint. Its durability and ability to withstand extreme conditions ensure that aluminum basement window inserts remain functional and aesthetically pleasing through years of service.

Characteristics of Aluminum Window Inserts

Aluminum window inserts boast inherent strength, providing sturdy frames while maintaining a slim profile. This allows for maximized glass area, offering better outdoor views and increased natural light — a significant advantage for typically dim basement spaces.

The thermal performance of these inserts has evolved over time; modern aluminum designs often include thermal breaks. These breaks are barriers that reduce heat transfer, meaning the inserts are no longer the cold-conducting culprits they once were, and can help in maintaining consistent indoor temperatures.

Additionally, aluminum’s natural resistance to corrosion ensures longevity in the damp environments that can characterize basement areas. Its resilience against warping, rotting, and termite damage contrasts sharply with wooden alternatives that could deteriorate under similar conditions.

A versatile material by nature, aluminum permits a range of finishes and colors. Painting or anodizing allows these inserts to align with diverse aesthetic preferences, enabling homeowners to align their basement windows with the overall style of their home.

The lightweight nature of aluminum inserts simplifies handling and installation — a critical consideration when dealing with the constraints of a basement setting, which can be restrictive and sometimes difficult to navigate.

Installation Process

The proper installation of an aluminum basement window insert is critical to ensure its performance and longevity. Begin by measuring the existing window frame accurately to ensure the insert fits precisely. Next, clear the area of any dust and debris before applying a bead of waterproof, exterior-grade sealant along the inside edge of the window frame where the insert will sit.

Once the insert is in place, press it firmly into the sealant. Secure the insert with screws, anchoring it into the surrounding material—whether wood, metal, or concrete. It’s essential the screws are appropriate for the material and long enough to hold the insert securely, yet not so long they penetrate to the outside environs.

Afterward, apply expandable foam insulation around the edges of the insert between the frame and the opening to eliminate drafts and improve energy efficiency. Always ensure the foam has dried before trimming any excess with a sharp blade for a clean finish.

Finally, it is advisable to check the moving parts of the window and apply a silicone-based lubricant if necessary, allowing the window to open and close smoothly. This routine also stands as a good practice to follow periodically as part of ongoing maintenance.

Maintenance and Durability

Aluminum window inserts outshine their counterparts when it comes to low maintenance. Notably impervious to rust and resistant to corrosion, these units withstand extreme weather without warping, cracking, or rotting—common issues in materials like wood. Their finish, whether anodized or powder-coated, minimizes the need for repainting. To clean, a simple wipe with a damp cloth suffices in most cases, occasionally employing mild detergent for tougher grime.

In the realm of durability, aluminum excels with a commendable lifespan that often exceeds 30 years. Its inherent strength supports thicker glass options for enhanced security and better insulation. Though initial costs may be higher than other materials, such longevity presents a cost-effective solution in the long run, withstanding the humid, variable conditions typical of basements with minimal deterioration.

Cost Comparison With Other Materials

While aluminum may initially seem more expensive than alternatives like vinyl or fiberglass, it’s important to consider long-term value. Here are a few points to illuminate this cost comparison:

  • Vinyl Window Inserts: They are less costly upfront but may warp or degrade faster, leading to extra costs for repair or replacement.
  • Fiberglass Inserts: Fiberglass typically costs more than aluminum and offers similar durability, yet it may lack the slim profile that aluminum provides.
  • Wood Inserts: Wood can be comparable or more expensive than aluminum and requires frequent maintenance, which adds to the total expense over the years.
  • Energy Efficiency: Aluminum inserts often come with thermal breaks, reducing heat transfer and potentially lowering heating and cooling costs.
  • Resale Value: Investing in aluminum can enhance a home’s value due to their longevity and modern appearance, offering a better return on investment.
  • Unified Look: Because of the range of finishes, matching aluminum window inserts to existing windows is easier, potentially saving on customization costs.

Remember, the upfront cost is just one factor. Considering performance, maintenance, and life span gives a more accurate depiction of value.


Are window inserts worth the money?

Window inserts can be a cost-effective, DIY-friendly solution, although the suitability depends on the specific window shape and project goals.

Can you add a window to a concrete basement?

Absolutely, you can add a window to a concrete basement, either by securing the window frames directly into the concrete or using steel bucks as a housing for window inserts or sashes.

What is the best style of window for a basement?

The best options for basement windows are awning or gliding styles, due to their shapes which are suitable for areas with limited above-ground space, and the fact that gliding windows are available in sizes that meet egress requirements.

What factors should be considered when selecting the type of window insert for a basement?

When selecting window inserts for a basement, factors to consider include the level of insulation needed, the amount of natural light desired, privacy concerns, the basement’s moisture levels, the style of the house, and budget constraints.

How does the installation process for a basement window in a concrete wall differ from other materials?

The installation process for a basement window in a concrete wall involves drilling into the concrete to create holes for the window frame, which is not required when installing windows in walls made of other materials like wood or drywall.

Can energy efficiency be significantly improved with the use of aluminum basement window inserts?

Yes, aluminum basement window inserts can significantly improve energy efficiency due to their good thermal performance.