Wood or vinyl. Today, the choice of available window styles is vast; from traditional style sash, single hung and double hung windows, to accent windows that don’t open at all, and of course, sliding windows. Basement windows to let in light and air, and even glass block windows that allow for privacy. Regardless of specific design preferences, often the starting point to the design is the choice between wood or vinyl windows. It is an important decision, and during the construction phase of the home needs to be considered early on. Wood windows, while offering a more traditional appeal, need more up-keep, making it potentially both time and cost prohibitive. Rising in popularity, comparatively low-cost vinyl on the other hand with its fresh, modern appeal requires very little to no maintenance, making this the seemingly obvious choice for busy families, or older home owners not wishing to be saddled with the long-term maintenance needs of wood materials. So with the obvious attraction, detractors out of the way, let’s take more of an in-depth look at the merits and otherwise of both wood and vinyl window materials.
Constructed from Polyvinyl Chloride. Otherwise known as, PVC, vinyl windows offer high quality at a relatively attractive price point. Taking care of vinyl can be an absolute breeze, simply wipe down or include in your home’s annual pressure wash, particularly homes situated in mold prone areas; and you’re done! Vinyl, as they say, is final!
Traditionally, available in white, a color synonymous with vinyl, other colors are available, however those are considered special or limited order quantities and are of course, more expensive.
Due to their durability, ease of maintenance, and overall pleasing attractiveness, vinyl has really come a long way in terms of home renovation popularity over the last twenty years. Vinyl’s popularity over wood means it typically has a faster turnaround due to its availability. Provided of course, you opt for the more common and readily available white.
Due to vinyl’s hollow core frames, cold air will pass through, meaning during winter weather, your home will likely require more heating to maintain warmth. For this reason, when planning on vinyl window installation, ask to see how energy efficient the window style is. During Summer months however, because vinyl is not the best conductor of
temperatures, your home should not suffer additional cooling costs. A plus for sure.
Assuming we are not talking about an historical home, a house with vinyl
windows, installed in the right location and circumstance, will have a good projected resale value. Most homeowners are willing to accept that vinyl windows will be part of the package when searching for a home. Indeed, given the comparative ease of maintenance, it may be the preferred option over the long term for some home buyers.
Often constructed of Douglas Fir or pine woods, wood presents an attractive option. For those who love to paint; wood may be left varnished and in its relatively natural state, or painted any color you choose, barring HOA restrictions. At the outset, wood is also more expensive than regular vinyl windows. Possibly because wood is no longer as popular, therefore the supply and demand side of wood window production is not at the level enjoyed by highly produced vinyl. Due to the lower demand for wood windows compared with vinyl windows, it may not be possible to rush an order through. There simply are not the large number of stockists with a wide selection to choose from. Speak to your builder or construction specialist. If wood is the way to go, discuss this as early as possible in the planning stages of your home build in order to avoid delays or incur additional material costs.
Attached to a tree, wood needs zero maintenance. Attach it to your house, it’s a different story! Wood will require sealing and/or painting at the time of installation, and every few years afterwards. The frequency of upkeep may largely depend on the type of wood being used, weather conditions, and the quality of paint, varnish or sealant used; tip: best not to skip on paint or varnish quality here. Should you think wood windows are for you, ask about aluminum cladding as this never requires painting.
This is possibly one of the reasons natural wood windows are, for some
homeowners, the selling point. Wood is a great conductor and retainer of heat. Cold weather. No problem, the cold will not transmit through the window frame. Hot outside. Likewise. The heat will not pass through the window frame. This has the potential to lower energy costs in the home.
Keep those windows well maintained and you could have potential buyers to your home, flocking to your door! The key is maintenance. If you are in an historic neighborhood, paying more for your wood windows at the outset may well maintain a higher resale value in that late Victorian home than if you had chosen vinyl. So, there you have it. Wood windows versus vinyl windows. The next step is to discuss your needs with your home builder. Ask about the different woods and finishes, if you think wood is for you. If vinyl is your thing but you think color options other than white is the way to go, ask about those now. Remember, anything other than basic white is considered a special order and costs more, so you might want to gather that information and begin pricing! Either way, the outlook, quite literally is great. With a wide variety to choose from; you’ll be happily admiring the view for years to come.