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Wood vs Vinyl Windows

Sep 06, 2019

Whether you’re building the home of your dreams, renovating the home you love, or just realize it’s time for replacements, there’s no doubt that your window choice makes a difference in your home’s aesthetic value inside and out. There are many ready-made styles and sizes from which to choose or you can have custom windows built as well. One decision to be made is whether or not you’ll install wood or vinyl windows.

There are pros and cons to each choice and knowing them will help you choose whether wood or vinyl windows are best for you.

Knock on wood

There is no doubt that wood-framed windows are the more expensive option when considering wood or vinyl windows. However, the difference in price isn’t astronomical. But, if you’re on a tight budget, it could bear some weight on your decision.

It’s recommended that professionals install wood windows as they must be fitted securely into the frame of the house. This makes them harder to install so labor costs may be higher as well.

What they provide

Wood windows offer a traditional appearance. Stain or paint them any color and make them an eye-catching addition to both your home’s curb appeal from the outside and the decor of the inside room as well.

Moreover, well-maintained wood windows add to the resale value of your home. They’re durable, long-lasting, and energy-efficient. Pine is the most common wood used. It’s also the least expensive. However, there are other wood choices, such as cedar often chosen for its durability or for the fact that it deters termites. Mahagony is a high-end option chosen by homeowners looking for that extra element of style.

Although wood windows carry Energy Star ratings, the wood must be well-maintained to remain energy efficient. To keep windows functioning at their best, scrape away any peeling paint or stain periodically and repaint or restain the wood to protect it. Another option is the cladded window. The wood is exposed in the interior of your home, but the outside is covered with a weather-resistant material making them even more energy-efficient and resistant to the elements.

Additionally, replacing missing or cracked caulk maintains the windows energy-efficiency. If you overlook window maintenance, over time the wood splinters, warps, or rots creating spaces for heat and cold to pass through.

If properly maintained, wood windows will last for decades. However, they aren’t fire-resistant and will spread flames to other parts of your home.

Putting your money on vinyl?

Manufacturers use PVC, a plastic material, to produce vinyl windows. They were first developed in the 1970s to compete against more costly wood windows. Even though they have only been on the market for about fifty years, today vinyl windows account for approximately the same market share as wood windows.

They remain less expensive than wood windows while at the same time add a bit more resale value to your home than their competitor. They don’t require any maintenance other than replacing the caulking. A quick wipe down leaves them looking good as new.

They’re only expected to last for about 20 years though because as a whole, vinyl doesn’t hold up to the elements as well as wood that has been well maintained. Conversely, vinyl is still a relative newcomer to the window industry. Manufacturers continue to improve its functionality, such as making thicker windows. Some believe the improvements may make them more durable.

We’ll have to wait and see.

Vinyl windows were designed to pop into the frame of your home easily making them less of a problem to install than wood windows. This makes it more tempting for avid DIY’ers to tackle a replacement window project themselves.

Notably, balancing on ladders while fitting a window can be tricky and might best be left to a professional. The stat’s a little old, but between 1990 and 2005, 2.1 million people went to the hospital due to an accident involving a ladder. Moreover, a whopping 97% of them happened in “nonoccupational settings.”

Safety first, guys.

The heat factor

Like wood windows, vinyl windows rate for energy efficiency also. However, over time they lose their effectiveness due to exposure to the elements. The PVC material expands and contracts and is likely to warp eventually. This allows air to pass in and out of the home. There’s no fix for the problem other than replacing the window.

Vinyl windows don’t burn or spread flames like wood windows do, however, the vinyl melts when exposed to heat. As a matter of fact, even exposure to direct sunlight can cause vinyl to melt. On the other hand, they never splinter or rot making them extremely water-resistant as long as no warping occurs.

There’s really no gambling

Both wood or vinyl windows make an excellent choice for new construction, renovation, or replacement windows. They both offer added value to your home, are energy-efficient, affordable, and come in a variety of styles and sizes.

All things considered, deciding factors hinge on things like your budget, whether or not you prefer low maintenance over properly maintaining the integrity of wood windows, and, of course, overall appearance.

Our knowledgeable staff can answer any questions you have about choosing wood or vinyl windows. If you still can’t decide which way to go, we’ll be happy to help you see your way clear.

Seriously.

You’ll hear the smile on our representative’s face as you chat. Besides that, they really know their stuff. If by chance you stump them, you can bet they’ll find your answer and get back with you pronto.

Whichever you decide to install, make sure you throw considering impact resistant glass in the works. Even if shattered to smithereens, they don’t come apart! They’re rated for hurricane resistance and energy efficiency, offer UV and home invasion protection, and reduce outside noise levels.

They’re pretty amazing.

Ultimately, your home is your sanctuary and the windows you choose will be a reflection of that. They not only contribute to how you see the world outside, but how the world sees you.

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