Wood and vinyl are the most popular building materials for windows. They differ in crucial aspects such as aesthetics, maintenance, durability, cost, and energy efficiency. Each option has its benefits and shortcomings that can affect your home's overall appearance, comfort, and even its resale value.
Choosing the best window material depending on your unique needs and preferences is crucial. Here is a brief comparison of wood vs. vinyl windows to help you make an educated decision.
Wood vs. Vinyl Windows: Construction Materials
Wood is the traditional and most popular building material for windows. Most wood windows are made from Douglas fir or Pine. However, you can find high-end models made from hardwood species such as mahogany. Some wood windows also feature exterior coverings made of PVC, fiberglass, or extruded aluminum.
Vinyl windows are relatively new, dating back to the 1970s. They are made of high-compact extruded polyvinyl chloride (PVC). They also feature metals and other types of plastic in their sash mechanisms.
Wood vs. Vinyl Windows Differences
Some of the most important factors to consider when choosing between wood and vinyl windows include:
Wood is the most aesthetically appealing building material for windows. Natural wood's grainy appearance and texture give wood windows a natural, authentic look and feel. Wood windows' exterior can also be painted in any color, albeit the interior is covered using a transparent sealant to maintain its natural appearance.
Vinyl windows look sleek and have a smooth texture. However, they cannot match wood windows' natural aesthetic appeal. It is also worth noting that vinyl is only compatible with a limited color range, hence why most vinyl windows are white.
Windows require regular maintenance to keep them looking good and enhance their durability. Vinyl windows are generally easier to maintain than wood windows. Ideally, you will never need to repaint or re-seal your vinyl windows, but you should clean them regularly.
Wood windows require closer care and maintenance than vinyl ones. They should be repainted and re-sealed regularly to protect the natural wood from harmful elements such as moisture, direct sunlight, and pests. You may also need to hire a professional if you cannot do it yourself, and the costs can add up to considerable amounts throughout the windows' lifetime.
Windows serve several practical purposes, including maintaining your home's temperature. Wood is a better insulator than vinyl, making wood windows more energy-efficient than vinyl ones.
Vinyl windows are also good insulators, but it depends on their design. Vinyl windows with hollow frames let cold and hot air pass through. Experts recommend insulated vinyl windows with foam-filled frames for better energy efficiency.
Wood is more durable than vinyl, and wood windows can last for more than 50 years with the proper care and maintenance. Interestingly, many manufacturers and retailers offer 50-year warranties on their wood windows. Vinyl is also durable, but vinyl windows last only about 20 years with the proper care and maintenance.
The cost of wood windows vs. vinyl is the first thing most people consider when choosing between the two options. Unsurprisingly, wood windows are more expensive than vinyl ones because wood is harder to source than PVC because of environmental concerns – their advantages over vinyl windows also justify the extra cost. Professional maintenance services for your wood windows also add to the cost.
Fortunately, vinyl is considerably cheaper than wood. Vinyl windows can cost between 20% and 50% less than wood windows. They are also cheaper to maintain.
Which is Better: Wood or Vinyl Windows?
Overall, wood windows are better than vinyl ones based on the factors discussed above. However, your ideal option depends on your unique needs and preferences. For example, wood windows are better if you are concerned about aesthetics, but vinyl ones are preferable if you are on a tight budget.
Do you prefer wood or vinyl windows? Natale Builders can help you find a beautiful home customized to suit your unique needs and preferences, including your preferred window materials. Get in touch to learn more about how we can help.