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Should I Replace My Wood Windows with Vinyl?

Luxurious home exterior at twilight, with grey vinyl siding, white trim, and three attached garage spaces.

If your house has wood windows, upgrading to new vinyl windows can be a budget-friendly way to cut down on maintenance requirements and cost. Of course, both options come with their own sets of pros and cons. Deciding which type of window to choose can be confusing. We breakdown the advantages and disadvantages of both to help you determine if vinyl or wood windows are the best option for your home.

Why Choose Vinyl Windows?

Vinyl windows are super durable, long-lasting, functional, and energy efficient. These are all boxes you want to check when you’re replacing your windows or building a new house.

Vinyl, also referred to as poly-vinyl chloride (PVC), refers to the material of the window’s frame. Many homeowners choose vinyl because it can handle inclement weather better without prematurely breaking down. Therefore, if you live in a climate that is subject to extreme weather throughout the year, vinyl windows are a good choice.

In short, vinyl windows are:

  • Energy efficient

  • More affordable than other options

  • Durable

  • Nearly maintenance-free

  • Stylish and available in many styles (including casement, single-hung, double-hung, and picture)

Why Vinyl Windows May Not Be Right

One downside of choosing vinyl’s window is they are not an environmentally friendly product. Although window makers have drastically improved the manufacturing process over the years, vinyl windows are made using harsh chemicals that can negatively impact the environment. Some manufacturers do make vinyl windows using recycled vinyl which helps reduce the environmental impact.

Related Topic: Should I Replace My Skylights When Re-roofing?

Let’s Compare: Wood vs. Vinyl Windows

Wood and vinyl are two of the most popular type of residential windows. However, is one clearly better than the other? This really depends on what attribute you value when it comes to your windows. Here are some of the things to consider:

Durability

The biggest advantage vinyl has over wood is its durability and natural longevity—even with little maintenance. Wood windows require regular maintenance over their lifespan. For instance, wood windows need to be painted or stained every three to four years (depending on weather and direct exposure to the sun). They’re also susceptible to pest damage. Although wood window frames can last up to 40 or 50 years under perfect circumstances and care, it rarely happens. In contrast, vinyl windows can last up to 20 to 40 years without much upkeep.

Aesthetic

While vinyl windows are attractive, they can’t replicate the timeless look of wooden frame windows. If you own an older or historic home, wooden windows will probably compliment the overall appearance of the home better than vinyl windows. Additionally, you can change the look of wood windows simply by painting them—something you can’t do with vinyl.

Price

Wood windows may cost as much as twice that of vinyl windows. Plus, you have to factor in the added costs maintenance and the time required to keep the windows looking their best over the years. If you’re budget conscious, or don’t have time to invest in maintenance, vinyl is most likely your better option.

Energy Efficiency

When installed by a professional, both window types are quite energy efficient. However, if the wood frame starts to rot or is damaged, it lets warm air escape from your home in winter and cool air escape in the summer. This makes your HVAC system work harder and less efficient throughout the year.

Can You Replace Wood Windows with Vinyl?

Yes. For many homeowners, replacing older wood windows with vinyl windows is a good option. Not only are vinyl windows efficient and affordable, they can help make the exterior of your home look modern and clean.

While you’re in the process of updating your home, reach out to our fellow Neighborly® home service brand, The Grounds Guys®, to transform the exterior with new outdoor lighting.

How Much Do Vinyl Replacement Windows Cost?

The range of vinyl windows can vary based on size and style. Although large, high-quality vinyl window can cost more initially, the lack of maintenance required to maintain the window over the years makes it a good value. Cleaning vinyl windows a few times a year with a high-pressure hose (avoid pressure washing which can damage the seal) is enough to keep them looking like new.

Related Topic: Window Terminology: What Are the Parts of Windows?

The Last Word

When choosing between a vinyl or wood window the type of home you have (older or modern), your climate (mild or harsh), your budget, and how much time and energy you want to invest in maintaining your windows are important factors to consider. The answer to those questions can help you decide which window option is best for your home.

If you currently have wood window and are looking to find vinyl window replacement, contact your local window pros at Glass Doctor. We can help you choose the best vinyl replacement for your home. Ones that are:

  • Energy efficiency

  • Include a lifetime warrantied

  • Complement your home

When it comes to window installation and repair, the pros at Glass Doctor have you covered. Call 833.974.0209 or visit us online to request an estimate today.