Wood or Vinyl Windows? The Great Window Debate

If you’re a home owner, one question is constantly at the back of your mind, nagging you to make a decision. “Should I install wood or vinyl windows in my house?” This torments you day after day because you’re not sure which will best suit your needs. Fortunately for you, the professionals at Acre windows have taken it upon themselves to compare and contrast the two leading types of replacement windows to help you decide which one is the right choice for your home.

There are many questions you need to ask yourself before deciding on a window material. Will it improve my home’s energy efficiency? Will it update my décor? How will it add value to my home? These are all things you need to consider when shopping for replacement windows. To start, we’ll give you a quick overview of both window types, and then show you a side-by-side comparison. Let’s get started!

Wood Windows

Considered the best type available, wood windows are offered by virtually every company within the industry. Available in composite or aluminum-cladded models, they are some of the most beautiful, durable and energy-efficient windows you can buy. What else could you want?

The wood interior improves the aesthetics of your home, drastically raising its resale value. If you have something specific in mind, many companies offer custom product lines that have hundreds of color, style, grille and hardware configurations to match your home. The E-Series by Andersen is a good example of this.

Most importantly, wood windows normally include a warranty of up to 50 years. This is transferrable from owner to owner, so whomever you sell your home to can also reap the benefits. However, damage should be the least of your worries as these windows are extremely durable. Their exterior cladding prevents weather damage, stops contortion caused by extreme temperatures and seals in hot and cold air. Now, many manufacturers – like Andersen Windows – carry wood windows with Fibrex exteriors, making them just as maintenance-free as vinyl windows.

The only downsides are if you don’t pay for extra cladding on the outside, you will have to repaint the exterior every couple of years to keep it looking fresh. On top of that, they are more expensive than vinyl because they are harder to manufacture and feature more added benefits.

Want to Learn More About Wood Window? See our Wood Window Options.

Vinyl Windows

Made out of a plastic material called polyvinyl chloride (PVC), vinyl windows were actually developed in the 1970s to compete with wood windows. Despite a later entry, they now account for roughly the same market share as their wood counterparts. Originally, vinyl windows only came in white, but within the past few decades, more color variations have emerged.

As the most affordable window type, they are now one of the most popular. In fact, some brands offer them for as much as half the price of wood windows. Although they’re not as durable, they can still last over 20 years. They will also save you money on energy bills because the insulation in the frame is extremely energy efficient.

Additionally, vinyl windows require little maintenance. Since they’re composed of plastic materials, they aren’t subject to chipping or peeling, so you won’t need to worry about painting or scraping. Just think about it: all that time you would spend maintaining your windows could be put towards other tasks.

Overall, vinyl windows provide the greatest benefit at the lowest price, but wood still remains the gold standard within the industry. This is likely due to the fact that they’re not as durable and are limited in design options.

Want to Learn More About Vinyl Windows? See our Vinyl Window Options.

Let’s Review and Compare

Factor

Vinyl Windows

Wood Windows

Maintenance

Maintenance Free

Maintenance Free (if cladded*)

Energy Efficiency

Energy Efficient

Highly energy efficient. Low E4 glass offers highest efficiency.

Price

Very affordable. Sometimes half the price of wood.

More expensive than Vinyl Windows. Price varies by brand and product line.

Design Options

Limited. Mainly white, but you can get different colors at additional costs.

Highly customizable. Can create hundreds of color, hardware and grille combos.

Durability

Varies based on type and installation method. Not as durable as wood. Typically last 15–20 years.

Extremely durable, especially with composite cladding on the exterior of the window. Can last 30+ years. Usually include 50 year warranty.

Which is the Right Choice for You?

That depends really. It comes down to what’s a bigger priority in your life: price or quality? If budget is your primary concern, then you should go with vinyl windows. They’re cheaper and will still get the job done in terms of increasing energy efficiency and cutting down maintenance costs.

If you’re looking for longevity, beauty and increasing your resale value, then wood windows are the way to go. They are more customizable, look better, are more durable and are a bit more energy efficient.

Still need help deciding which window type is best for you? Schedule an in-home consultation with one of our product specialists. Call Acre now or fill out our online form to get your free quote today!

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