Vinyl Windows versus Wood Windows

The Pros and Cons of Vinyl, Wood and Vinyl Clad Windows

By Mark J. Donovan

There are pros and cons to both vinyl windows and wood windows. Vinyl windows without a doubt are easier to maintain and are less expensive. Vinyl windows are also less susceptible to water and ultraviolet damage. Compared to wood windows, however, vinyl windows can look and feel a bit lower quality. There are few vinyl windows that can beat the look and charm of a quality built wood window. A quality wood window, however, comes at a steeper price.

Vinyl clad wood windows blend the best of both worlds. With vinyl clad windows, the exterior of the wood window frame is sheathed in a vinyl clad that helps protect it from the elements and makes maintenance easier.

The inside of the widow frame is exposed wood to provide the elegance and beauty that only wood windows can provide.

Wood Windows

Wood windows offer tradition and beauty not matched by most vinyl windows, though they are typically more expensive than vinyl windows. Wood windows also require painting or staining on a regular basis. On the plus side of this, however, is the fact that you can paint the windows to match or complement the rest of your home’s exterior paint job.

Even with the best painting and maintenance plans, however, sun and moisture do eventually take their toll on wood windows, though it can take decades to become an issue. This said, if you do not maintain wood windows regularly, rot and checking of the sills will occur faster than you could ever imagine.

On the other hand, quality wood windows provide high thermal resistance (R-Values) and are not prone to condensation problems as is often the case with lower quality vinyl windows. In addition, they usually include excellent weatherstripping to prevent cold air drafts from entering the home. They are also great from a sound proofing perspective.

Vinyl Windows

Besides their economical prices, vinyl windows require little to no maintenance. An occasional cleaning with a moist cloth is typically all that is required. In addition, the hinges and locks may need to be occasionally maintained. With vinyl windows, painting is not required.

Depending upon the quality of the vinyl window, it may have more or less insulation in its core.
With more insulation in the vinyl window’s core, the higher the R-value of the window, and the better the thermal and sound resistance.

On the down side, vinyl windows and vinyl window replacements are limited in color options so if they do not match your house siding, you may have no choice but to go with a wood window. In addition, lower quality vinyl windows can be prone to condensation issues.

Installing a New Window Ebook

Vinyl Clad Windows

Vinyl clad windows are wood framed windows with vinyl cladding adhered to the exterior of the wood window frames. Vinyl clad windows provide the best of both worlds as it relates to vinyl and wood windows. On the inside of the window you have the warmth and charm of wood windows, and on the outside of the window you have the durability and low maintenance of vinyl windows. They also have high thermal and sound resistance for keeping out the weather and street noise. Vinyl clad windows are often the best solution when replacing old windows.

If you need more help on choosing the right window replacement for your home, contact one of our pre-screened window installation contractors. They can help you select the replacement windows that are right for your home and budget, and perform the installation.

For more information on Installing Replacement Windows and Interior Window Trim

  • See the Installing a New Window Ebook from  The Installing a New Window Ebook provides easy to understand, step-by-step instructions, on how to remove an old window and install a new one. Pictures are included for every key step in the process.
  • See the Installing Interior Window Trim Ebook from  The Installing Interior Window Trim Ebook provides easy to understand, step-by-step instructions, on how to install interior window trim around a window. Pictures are included for every key step in the process.

Related Information

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