Vinyl vs Wood Windows | Which Is Better For My Home?
Updated: Jun 15, 2021
Vinyl, wood, aluminum, and fiberglass are the most common types of window frames used for homes in Dallas-Fort Worth. However, since vinyl and wood are the most common choices for homeowners, let’s take a look at the key differences between the two, so you can decide which is better for your home.
What Are Vinyl Windows?
Vinyl windows are built with a plastic material called vinyl or PVC (also known as Polyvinyl Chloride). Vinyl is the world’s third-most widely produced synthetic plastic polymer and the most versatile plastic.
According to the British Plastic Federation, it is derived from 57% common salt and 43% ethylene, which is a natural gas.
Vinyl windows come with many benefits that many homeowners enjoy. They are cost-effective, easy to maintain, flexible, durable, and energy-efficient.
The main question and answer every homeowner would like to know is-- Are vinyl windows budget-friendly? The simple answer is yes, and they are the #1 selling window option because of their cheap appealing price point.
Vinyl windows are easier to clean by just using soft cloth and non-abrasive cleaners. They also don’t need to be repainted, since they can retain their color nicely.
Flexibility and Durability
Vinyl windows have more flexible material, which contributes to a smoother installation. That means vinyl windows could be adjusted at any moment when newly installed or replaced. They are also very durable because they’re highly resistant to dents, scratches, corrosion, and decay.
Vinyl windows provide great energy savings by thermal insulation. Unlike metal, they don’t conduct heat easily, which is why heat transfer and energy is reduced.
Vinyl windows come with many benefits. However, let's look at some of the disadvantages that come with choosing this option.
They have the tendency to sag due to hot weather and stain from fungi growth. Since they are flexible, they can warp when placed under extreme heat. Moreover, the development of mold could be possible if dirt is built up in windowpane corners.
Limited Size and Color Options
Vinyl windows also do not come with a wide variety to choose from. They have size restrictions so your options as a homeowner are very limited to a few choices. They also cannot be repainted if you ever wanted to change the color. The smooth and gleaming surface of vinyl makes it repel the new paint.
What Are Wood Windows?
Wood windows are made of wood and are classified into two categories-- hardwood and softwood. Hardwood has greater density, higher resistance to fire, and more expensive cost. Some of the examples are mahogany, oak, maple, and walnut. Meanwhile, softwood has lesser density, lower resistance to fire, and a less expensive price. Examples of softwood include pine, spruce, cedar, and redwood.
Wood windows have several advantages. Aside from their stylish and beautifying aspect, they are more energy-efficient, ecologically friendly, and durable.
One of the main benefits of wood windows is the decorative appeal for modern and traditional homes. They hold an aesthetic value that could uncover the classic beauty of your interior.
Can be Repainted
Unlike vinyl, wood windows have the options to be painted or repainted. If you wish to change the colors, you could possibly replace them. It’s convenient when changing the style and outlook in your home.
Wood windows are very much eco-friendly. Their wood material is natural, and they cause no harm to the environment.
Wood windows can inhibit the transmission of heat or cold, which helps in energy savings. If you are looking for energy efficiency, wood windows are also a great option.
Wood windows possess sturdy attributes. If they’re well-looked-after, they could last longer than other window types.
Now that we’ve gotten some insight on how wood windows could be favorable, let’s talk about the drawbacks.
Wood windows require a lot more maintenance than vinyl windows. That means since they are usually harder to maintain, the higher the expense will be.
Mold growth and Insect Infestation
Wood windows contain porous material, which means they’re vulnerable to swelling, mold and rot. They also can attract uninvited termites in your house if not properly maintained.
In order to view things better, let’s differentiate the cost, durability, color, installation, maintenance, and resale value of vinyl and wood windows with our table below:
Vinyl windows vs Wood windows
Vinyl windows are less expensive due to lower material, labor, and maintenance costs. According to the Remodeling Calculator website, the estimated cost for new construction is $503.
Wood windows are more expensive due to manufacturing and maintenance costs. According to the Remodeling Calculator, a good estimate would be around $881 for a new window.
Vinyl windows are more durable and resistant to scratches, flaking, rot, and degradation. They can warp if heat is built up in the frame when the weather becomes too hot.
Wood windows are also durable but can immediately deteriorate if not well-maintained. They have the potential of absorbing moisture which could make them disintegrate and decay. They could also serve as a dwelling for insects, especially termites.
Vinyl windows have limited colors to choose from upon purchase. However, they can’t be changed if you wish to repaint them.
The colors for wood windows come natural and are easy to paint.
Their flexibility makes the installation process less difficult.
They have heavier materials that involve more labor when installing, which leads to higher installation cost.
Vinyl windows are much easier to clean and require little to no maintenance. However, they’re prone to discoloration due to fungi growth and extreme heat or cold.
Wood windows demand higher maintenance. They’re more susceptible to getting damaged under severe weather conditions, so they need to be repainted after a few years. Also, they need to be renovated and protected from the possible infestation of wood-eating parasites.
According to the statistical report of the Remodeling Magazine, the Cost vs Value of vinyl windows is 69%. (Value = $13,297 / Cost = $19,385 )
As for wood windows, the Remodeling Magazine report shows a Cost vs Value rate of 67%. (Value = $15,644 / Cost = $23,219 )
Are They Energy-Efficient?
Yes, both vinyl and wood windows are energy efficient. They are designed to minimize energy transfer and reduce energy costs. More importantly, they could give a significant impact on how we can increase comfort in our home. However, there’s a distinction regarding the energy efficiency between those two types.
Vinyl windows are much less conducive to heat than wood. That is why less heat escapes the frame during the cold weather, while less outdoor heat penetrates the inside during the hot weather. It should be noted as well that the frame of vinyl windows must be filled with foam in order to enhance insulation.
On the other hand, wood windows are the best energy-saving type. As a matter of fact, wood is an insulator by nature. Therefore, they could thoroughly hinder the excessive transmission of heat and cold.
Which Should You Go For?
It’s time to ask yourself, “Which is better for my home?”.
As we have distinguished between vinyl windows vs. wood windows, it might still be overwhelming in selecting which one to install. We might ponder upon having the more affordable type or the window that has better insulation. Yet we’ll concern ourselves if that’s really worth the cost.
Nevertheless, it is with good hope that the information from this article could help you in deciding which should be the right one for your house.