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Are Wood Windows Better Than Vinyl?

With so many options out there, window shopping can feel overwhelming. Aside from selecting an operating style, choosing a material is the most important decision you have to make. Wood windows and vinyl windows are two popular choices, but for very different reasons. Consider how they stack up against one another in various categories to help you make the right decision for your home. Still not sure? Call the window experts at Quality Window & Door in DC, MD, and VA and we can help!

Vinyl vs. Wood Windows: Cost

While the cost to install replacement windows varies based on the brand, operating style, customization, and contractor you choose, wood is almost always more costly than vinyl. Blame it on low supply and high demand, the price of natural beauty, or the fact that fewer companies manufacture wood windows these days. Regardless of the exact reason, vinyl windows are typically 25 percent cheaper than wood windows of similar quality and energy efficiency.

WINNER: Vinyl windows

Vinyl vs. Wood Windows: Maintenance

If you choose wood windows, you’ll want to sand and repaint or stain them every three to four years. Without this maintenance, your windows will be at the mercy of the elements, which could result in warping, sagging, cracking, and rotting.

Things are much different with vinyl windows, which require virtually no upkeep. Once installed, vinyl retains its color, shape, and appearance for years to come with no effort on your part. Simply clean the glass inside and out as needed and make sure the windows continue to operate as expected.

WINNER: Vinyl windows

Vinyl vs. Wood Windows: Energy Efficiency

Wood and vinyl are both natural insulators, so they perform similarly when it comes to insulating efficiency. However, some vinyl windows have hollow interiors through which air (and heat) travels quite easily. For the best performance from vinyl windows, make sure they are constructed with a foam interior.


Vinyl vs. Wood Windows: Colors and Finishes

Vinyl windows are almost always white, and vinyl can’t be painted or stained. Vibrant colors are difficult to achieve with vinyl windows because they fade over time. Most manufacturers offer premium finishes beyond white, but these cost extra.

On the other hand, you can paint or stain wood any color of the rainbow. And each time you sand and refinish the wood, you can choose a different color if you wish.

WINNER: Wood windows

Vinyl vs. Wood Windows: Return on Investment

Wood windows are highly sought after for their rarity, aesthetics, and traditional appearance, especially in historic homes. They catch the eye of homebuyers and could help your property stand out from the rest. In this way, wood windows may cost more upfront, but as long as you maintain them properly, they boast a significantly higher return on investment than vinyl windows when the time comes to sell.

WINNER: Wood windows

Install Wood or Vinyl Windows in DC, MD & VA

Clearly, both wood and vinyl are viable materials for your window replacement project. Wood may be ideal if you’re willing to spend a little extra on timeless, customizable windows with a natural, historically accurate aesthetic. But then, vinyl is best if you want cost-effective, low-maintenance windows. There’s also the option of vinyl-clad wood windows, which offer the durability and low upkeep of vinyl on the exterior and the warmth and beauty of wood on the interior.

Regardless of your choice, Quality Window & Door can help you choose beautiful replacement windows from many of today’s top window brands, including Weather Shield, Infinity from Marvin, and many others. We have served homes and businesses in the Washington, DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia areas since 1989.

To compare wood and vinyl windows in person, please visit one of our local showrooms in Maryland and Northern Virginia. Then, contact us at 1-800-370-8751 to request a window installation estimate when you’re ready.

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