Learn More About Wood Vs. Vinyl Windows


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Wood Vs. Vinyl Windows

In the battle between wood vs. vinyl windows, here are four key places to compare and contrast these very different window frame materials - cost and pricing, style and aesthetics, strength and durability, as well as energy efficiency.

Costs & Pricing

Wood clad windows are the most expensive windows on the market; certainly more expensive than vinyl windows. A mid range wood window with installation will cost around $750, while a mid range vinyl window will run $425 installed - this is quite a difference in terms of price. Wood windows will also require periodic painting or staining of the interior wood, which will add some cost for the materials and/or labor if you hire someone to stain the windows.

Style & Aesthetic

Wood clad windows are the best looking windows on the market, stunning in the beauty. They can add rich visual appeal to a home that will also add some nice value to the home's future sale price. This beauty comes at a price, as we detailed in the cost section above. Wood clad windows also require staining and painting, which will help them maintain their attractiveness for years to come, but takes effort and/or additional costs on the part of the homeowner.

Strength & Durability

Wood and vinyl fall into the mid range in terms of overall strength and durability. Well made wood windows typically use an aluminum or fiberglass cladding on the outside to protect the exterior - see Andersen windows for example. Well made vinyl windows will also offer nice durability and can easily last 30 years or more - see Sunrise windows for example. What is also true is that poorly made wood or vinyl frames will not offer the best strength over time - this is seen when there is warping or bowing in the extrusion.

Energy Efficiency

A well made vinyl window will offer better energy efficiency numbers and performance than wood. Vinyl extrusions can be constructed in such a way as to offer tighter and stronger welds. Wood, while a natural insulator, can offer some decent numbers at the showroom, but can decline over the years as the wood expands and contracts. When properly taken care of, wood windows will offer decent energy efficiency, but will typically not compare to its vinyl counterparts after 10 years or beyond.

Bottom Line

Wood windows are both a very attractive and expensive home window option. Vinyl is the less expensive and less attractive option, and honestly, is probably the right call for the majority of homes. Wood should be reserved for homeowners who must have the beauty of wood and are willing to pay the upfront cost and do the maintenance necessary to keep these beautiful windows looking great for several decades.

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