When it’s time to update your windows, you’ll be faced with many overwhelming choices. One of those choices will be the age-old debate of what material is best for your home: wood vs vinyl windows.
Vinyl originally emerged on the market as an alternative to wood. Gaining popularity in the 1970s, vinyl grew from simply being an alternative to being a fierce competitor. While wood windows have stayed on as one of the leading choices in window materials, this could be because homeowners didn’t want to stray from a traditional look.
While both have their own pros and cons, here’s why vinyl will beat out wood every time:
While wooden windows are decent insulators, vinyl is designed to be better. When the subject of energy saving arises, the best thing to do is to look to see how a vinyl window is designed. Installing vinyl windows can save up to 40% on your heating and cooling bills.
Newer wood windows can be good insulators and energy savers, but for many homeowners, the problem isn’t with newer wood windows, it’s with the drafty old ones. Time takes quite a toll on wood windows, and you’ll often see this in the cracks or warping of particularly older wood windows. When the question of keeping the old windows or replacing them with vinyl ones comes up, take a look at the old wood windows and you’ll know the answer.
Even with newly installed wood windows, a house can experience shifting, offsetting the seal of the window. Wood has a tendency to expand and contract, unlike vinyl. This happens with temperature changes and when the wood absorbs the moisture in the air. Old or new wood windows can take in this moisture, forcing them to bend or warp over time.
Vinyl is made of PVC, the same type of compound you see everywhere — in construction, plumbing, tubing, equipment, etc. This ubiquitous material is also what your vinyl windows are made of.
Vinyl windows typically have hollow frames and an inner honeycomb-like chamber, designed to trap the air to prevent energy loss and transfer. This construction makes vinyl windows one of the best insulators on the market.
Perhaps the only category where wood and vinyl windows are both tied. Many homeowners choose to implement wood windows in their homes simply for aesthetic purposes. Wood has a beautiful look with its natural grain and shade, making its beauty sometimes the only reason why some people install wood windows into their homes. In some cases, homeowners may want to keep the traditional look that wood windows offer in order to maintain their homes’ historic value.
Vinyl is often mistaken as only coming in the color white, because when you think of what it is made out of, PVC, you probably only think of that solid pearl color. This isn’t the case when it comes to the market of vinyl windows. Vinyl comes in so many different colors these days, designed to match and compliment any style of home. You can even get wood-grain finishes.
Some looks come with a price when it concerns the next category—maintenance.
When you already are in need of a window update, the last thing you want on your mind is how you’re going to continually maintain your new investment. Windows are an expensive purchase, and many homeowners don’t want to have to keep spending money on brand new ones, and they shouldn’t have to.
Luckily, with vinyl, there’s no need to. Vinyl windows rarely need any upkeep, especially painting. For vinyl, it’s one and done — pick out your color of choice and that’s it. If anything, a vinyl window may require a tightened fastener new screw or two over its many-year lifetime.
Vinyl’s smooth composite surface is resistant to cracking, warping and color fading. Just make sure every spring or so you ensure that the window is functioning correctly; with the once-over inspection, vinyl windows will hardly require anything else.
Wood is a different story on the subject of maintenance. Even brand new wood windows will require upkeep, and not just at the time of installation. Wood, as a material, will absorb moisture and this may cause problems with the opening and closing of your new windows. You will constantly need to check to make sure your wood windows function properly by routinely testing them each season.
Wood windows will fade in the sun and from adverse weather conditions. Staining and painting will need to be done often. For newer wood windows, you’ll have to shell out money every year to make sure the paint you’re applying to upkeep them is durable and protective. Exterior paint, along with all the prep tools for painting, isn’t cheap.
The installation process includes finding and hiring a contractor able to install your new windows, scheduling the job, how much it’ll cost, and finding out when the materials will be available. Depending on your location, this could be easier said than done.
According to a 2016 remolding report, vinyl windows are about $4,000 cheaper in terms of an initial investment cost. The material is generally much more cost effective than wood and vinyl is also easier to come by.
Vinyl itself is less expensive and can be easily produced, also meaning that the installation cost is inexpensive as well. Vinyl windows, without the cost of installation, are reported to be 25% cheaper than wood.
Fewer companies offer wood windows, therefore the cost of the material and installing them is more expensive. Supply and demand are the ultimate dictators when it comes to the price of wood and its installation cost. It may be more difficult to come by a contractor willing or able to install wood windows, especially if the popularity of the area you located in favors vinyl windows.
While it’s true that wood windows are beautiful and aesthetically pleasing, vinyl windows are as well, but with more advantages.
Vinyl is designed to be a cost-effective, yet sleek alternative to wood windows. Constructed for premium insulation, the internal design of a vinyl window traps air, lessening the escape of energy. This will cut down on your energy bills, allowing for a bigger return of investment.
The resale value of vinyl windows is also significantly high, so even if you’re selling your home before you see the energy efficiency savings, this point of attraction will help when you do go to sell.
With all of unique customizations that are available for vinyl windows, this material will have a long, maintenance-free lifetime. Vinyl windows are easy to install, unlike wood, which may require a long wait time and include the difficulty of finding a contractor able to install them. This cheaper alternative to wood windows will have an equally eye-catching look but with all of the added benefits.
Feldco offers homeowners in Cedar Rapids high quality, durable vinyl windows. We’ve served over 350,000 homeowner in the Midwest and we’d love to help you next. All you need to do is get a free quote to get started.