Wood Vs Vinyl

Windows / 09.08.2014

Wood vs Vinyl Windows: Comparing Apples and Oranges?

Many people looking for new construction or replacement windows eventually run up against the basic debate: wood windows or vinyl? Wood windows used to be the only option and many older homes have wooden windows and doors. For a long time, vinyl windows got a bad reputation because the earliest ones didn’t always offer the highest quality. Today, it is harder to choose because vinyl windows have come such a long way. They offer a range of styles and price points and often offer very good quality and convenience.  At the same time, wood windows are traditional and offer a rich, warm beauty.

So what’s right for you and your home?

It can be like comparing oranges and apples, so let’s take a closer look at each type of window:

Vinyl Windows

Vinyl windows are extremely popular and if you have a budget they can also be one of the most affordable options. One reason these windows are more affordable is because they are made from high-quality extruded polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which is less expensive than wood. Many vinyl windows also have a sash mechanism that is made from plastic or metal.


In the past, these types of windows got a bad reputation for being unattractive and for offering fewer choices. Today, it is possible to buy vinyl windows in different colors, although most are white.  Keep in mind, too, that vinyl windows cannot be painted. These windows also come in just about every size and style and can easily be customized if you are looking for something specific.

In addition to being affordable, vinyl windows are low maintenance. They will not need to be sealed or painted and the color will not peel. Since vinyl does not conduct heat or cold easily, these windows are fairly good at insulating. However, the frames can be hollow, which can affect your energy savings. If energy costs are a concern with your window installation, look for energy-efficient vinyl windows which will help you keep your home comfortable while saving you money.

Wood Windows

If aesthetic appeal is important and you have an older or historic home, it’s hard to beat the natural beauty of wood. You will end up paying more for quality wood windows, but for some homeowners the look of wood windows is simply the most important thing.

Most wood windows are made from Douglas fir or pine and the exterior wood part of the window is typically coated with PVC, extruded aluminum, or fiberglass to protect the frame. The frame can be painted any color you wish, which can make these windows more flexible in appearance than vinyl windows. You can also choose to leave the natural wood look or use a stain. If you decide to redecorate, you can generally repaint the windows to match.


One drawback with wood windows, however, is that they do need more maintenance. They will need to be sealed and painted when installed and regularly sealed and painted after that, unless the windows have an external aluminum cladding.

Another challenge is that wood windows are more expensive than other types of windows. In part, this is because fewer companies are making these products and fewer customers are demanding them. Generally, the cost of wood and other materials can also be more expensive. When budgeting, you will also need to consider the cost of maintenance.

Wood windows can help you with energy costs, however. Wood is excellent at insulating and will keep hot air out in the summer and cold air out in the winter. Wood frames are also solid, which further can help these windows be energy-efficient.

The Bottom Line

When you go take a look at windows, many sales people will steer you towards vinyl, simply because that is what most customers are looking for. However, depending on your needs you may find that vinyl is not what you are looking for. Before you shop, carefully consider your home and needs so that you can ask for the type of window that best suits you and your home.

Do you need more help deciding on the right windows? Contact us at any time for a quote and honest windows advice.

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