How to Choose between Wood and Vinyl when Replacing Windows

Wood and vinyl are the two most popular choices in replacement windows today. Although vinyl is known for being relatively inexpensive and durable, wood is classic and provides a certain elegance and style. The best way to choose between the two for your replacement windows is to look at the pros and cons of each.

How to Choose between Wood and Vinyl when Replacing Windows

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Wood Windows – The Pros

Perhaps one of the best things about wood windows is their insulation factor. Wood is one of the best insulators available in terms of window materials, and this means that you can stay cool in the summer or warm in the winter without worrying about heating or cooling loss. The other major benefit to wood windows is the appearance; no other material can duplicate the intricate patterns of real wood grain.

The Cons

While there is simply no denying that wood is the better insulator and that it offers charm that other materials simply cannot, there are some serious drawbacks. First and foremost, wood windows are incredibly expensive. In fact, you might find yourself paying nearly double the cost of other materials for high-quality wood windows. To put this in perspective, nearly half of all North American homeowners chose wood for their replacement windows between 1995 and 2005. In 2005, this number dropped to about a quarter of all homeowners because of the cost.

Vinyl Windows – The Pros

Originally, the popularity of vinyl windows soared due to their low cost. These days, though, the overwhelming majority of homeowners choose vinyl because of the value. Over the last couple of decades, the technologies used in manufacturing vinyl replacement windows have improved dramatically. This means that today’s vinyl is a great insulator at a great price, and thanks to these new technologies, you can buy it in a variety of colors, textures, and sizes. What’s more, most of today’s manufacturers provide you with a transferable warranty on your windows, which can help boost the resale value of your home.

The Cons

The cons associated with vinyl windows are few and far between, and they are actually situational, at best. A decade or so ago, many homeowners steered clear of vinyl due to the lack of colors and textures. These days, though, things are much different. You can now find vinyl replacement windows in a variety of styles, and some manufacturers will even custom-create them to your unique specifications. Although wood does insulate a bit better than vinyl, the truth is that vinyl can also insulate well when it is made properly. With welded edges and other technologies, it is possible to keep your home cool or warm depending on the season.

If you are still struggling to decide which type of window to buy, consider the maintenance factor. You must regularly refinish wood window frames in order to seal out moisture and keep them looking like new. With vinyl, all you have to do is spray the frames down with water here and there to keep them looking like new, and many of these windows come with limited lifetime warranties, as well.

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