In the last 25 years or so, wood windows dropped from almost half of all windows sold to less than 20%. Â Guess which material took wood’s place? Â Vinyl.Â That doesnâ€™t necessarily mean that wood windows are lower quality than vinyl or more difficult to deal with.Â Both wood and vinyl have strong points. Â Wood windows possess a classic charm that vinyl can only hope to imitate, yet for most homeowners, vinyl’s low cost is a charm that beats wood’s aesthetic allure.
Letâ€™s take a look at them side by side, and weigh the pros and cons:
|Vinyl Windows||Wood Windows|
|Defined||Vinyl windows are made largely of high-quality extruded polyvinyl chloride (PVC) Some metal and other types of plastics are used for the sash mechanism.||Wood windows are usually wood on the inside (typically pine or Douglas Fir). Â Exteriors are wood covered with extruded aluminum, PVC, or fiberglass.|
|Colors and Finishes||Most vinyl windows come only in white and other light colors.Â Rich, dark colors that do not fade have traditionally been hard for manufacturers to achieve.||One chiefÂ value of wood windows is that the inside frames can remain a natural wood color, or be stained if desired. Â Exteriors and interiors may be any color.|
|Maintenance||Vinyl replacement windows never need painting or sealing. Â The industry has a saying for this: Â vinyl is final.||Wood-exterior windows need painting or sealing throughout their lifetime. Painting wood windows is a task that must be done frequently. Â Wood windows with aluminum cladding never need painting, but will require care on the interior.|
|Insulating Factor||Excellent. Â Vinyl is a poor conductor of temperatures.Â With no metal to conduct hot and cold, vinyl tends to keep a constant temperature.||Excellent. You’ll find that wood-framed windows are also excellent at inhibiting the transmission of cold or heat from the outside.|
|Cost (Window Only, No Labor)||Vinyl windows are about 25% to 50% cheaper than wood windows.Â Depending of course on the grade of either, but vinyl will always have a lower price tag.||Wood windows are simply more expensive. Â Call it the law of supply and demand, the price of beauty, or just the fact that fewer companies make wood windows–but you will pay more for wood.|
|Appearance||Good. Â Vinyl windows are no longer the pariah of home renovation. Â With the advances made in frame and color, vinyl windows are considered more attractive than they have been in the past.||Excellent. Â The point of wood windows is usually to keep the interior natural or stained, with sealer on top, thus keeping the wood grain visible. Â Vinyl cannot easily duplicate this.|
|Turnaround||Excellent. Â Vinyl windows are available from many different manufacturers, so it isÂ not difficult to obtain them on schedule.||Fair. Â Wood has dwindled to a 16%-17% market share, so manufacturers and retailers do not prioritize them. Â It is usually slower to obtain wood windows over vinyl.|
|Resale Value||Good. Â Within the right context, and if they carry an Energy Star rating, buyers gladly accept that vinyl windows will be part of the home.||Excellent. Â Well-maintained wood windows catch the attention of buyers.|
|Bottom Line||Do not be deterred by vinyl windows lack of coolness during your next conversation with your neighbors. Â They may have bought wood windows because of wood’s cachet, but they also spent more money than you did. Â Plus, every few years they must haul out the paint can; you don’t. Â If you’re happy with a simple, well-functioning window, vinyl is for you.||You’ve heard the arguments in favor of vinyl but you just can’t bear to inflict plastic fenestration on your 1902 Craftsman home. Â Yes, you will pay more for your wood windows, but you will also maintain high resale value with your historic home.|
In summation, there are good reasons to go with either product.Â It comes down to a question of personal taste, and also budget.Â At Glass-Rite we manufacture our own line of energy efficient vinyl windows right here in Albuquerque.Â Our Energy Quest line comes standard with high efficiency Low-E glass and Argon gas between the two panes.Â We do also carry 3 different lines of Jeld-Wenâ€™s wood windows.Â From the simple W-2500 line, to the top of the line Custom and Epic Vue catalogs, we have choices for every home-owner.
Come visit us at our shop and showroom to see examples of our products and take a hands-on look at how windows are made.Â Please also feel free to call or e-mail us with any questions, or to set up an onsite free estimate to get your window project going!