I wanted the look of my home to be industrial yet rustic, so I decided to combine modern aluminum windows with 100-year-old hemlock-and-cedar siding. Aluminum frames tend to be poor insulators and can cost upward of $140,000 for a three-bedroom home, but then I found a window contractor who promised to deliver custom-made triple-paned aluminum windows and doors for $60,000. His frames use a special insulating technique that makes them 50 percent more efficient than vinyl ones, so I'd save money on heating and cooling costs. The technology was great; the workmanship not so much. As of press time, my home is still without doors. Plastic sheets cover missing windows, rain puddles collect beneath the windows that were installed, and the contractor is stalling on repairs. I've purchased wooden doors instead of aluminum, but I'm stuck with empty frames, and I can't install the drywall until the job is finished. My advice, especially where custom work is concerned, is to get references.