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Home > News > WS Blog > April 2016 > Vinyl vs. Wood Windows

Vinyl vs. Wood Windows

4/19/2016 12:35:34 PM

What do you know about two of the most popular window materials? Vinyl and wood windows both dominate the marketplace because of the great benefits they each provide.

Vinyl windows constructed from PVC were first introduced in the 1970s as an alternative to wood windows. Even with this relative newcomer to compete with, wood remains one of the most popular window materials to this day. Here’s a look at vinyl vs. wood windows and how they compare in the most important areas.

Energy Efficiency

Both vinyl and wood are natural insulators, meaning they block temperature transfers between your home and the exterior. Pair either one with insulating double-pane windows for the highest efficiency. Just be aware that low-end vinyl may be less efficient than low-end wood windows, but top-quality vinyl can often outperform high-end wood windows.

Winner: Tie


The only upkeep vinyl windows require is an occasional cleaning with soap and water. Wood windows are a different story. To keep them looking beautiful and protected from the elements, you need to sand and repaint the frames every few years. Failure to keep up with this maintenance could allow water to penetrate the protective coating that paint provides and cause the frame to rot, swell, twist or sag.

However, an alternative option is to purchase wood clad windows. This option features a beautiful wood interior and low-maintenance exterior such as aluminum, fiberglass or vinyl to withstand the elements with little to no upkeep.

Winner: Vinyl (tie between vinyl and wood clad)


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but wood is generally recognized as more aesthetically pleasing than vinyl. The right vinyl product comes close though, with wood grain technology designed to mimic the warmth of real wood.

If you want customizability, wood also offers more options over vinyl. In fact, until two decades ago, white was the only color vinyl came in. Even today, painting vinyl windows could void your warranty. On the other hand, wood comes in hundreds of combinations of species, stains and paint colors. You can also change the look years down the road if you want.

Winner: Wood

Cost and Value

Vinyl windows first became popular as an alternative to wood because of their affordable price point. While cost varies by brand, style and add-ons, some vinyl windows are half the cost of wood windows. The ability to avoid future maintenance costs gives vinyl great long-term value as well.

Winner: Vinyl

Bottom Line

To sum up, wood is the best choice if you want the most beautiful windows and don’t mind the extra maintenance. Vinyl is the better choice if you’re on a budget and don’t see yourself ever wanting to change the color.

In the end, whether you choose vinyl or wood replacement windows, you’ll appreciate a noticeable improvement, especially if you opt for quality Weather Shield windows. For more help making the best choice for your home, please contact us directly or find a Weather Shield dealer near you today.

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