Vinyl windows or wood windows? In the wise words of Parks and Recreation’s Andy Dwyer, “Windows are the eyes to the house.” So let’s get this right... 

 

If you need further convincing as to why windows are such a vital component of your home, check out our Top 9 Reasons to Replace Your Windows. Our homeowners often ask whether they should install wood or vinyl windows, and what the differences are between these options. 


We’ve laid out some key pros and cons as a starting point. We hope you take our window buying tips under consideration.  

 

Wood windows vs. vinyl windows

 

Vinyl Windows


Vinyl windows often cost less than wood windows so it’s easy to assume they’re lower quality because of this. This is a common misconception so let's stick to the facts. The first thing to know is that quality vinyl windows are made out of PVC, which is a plastic material, and were first developed in the 1970s as a more affordable alternative to wood windows. 


Since the 70s, vinyl windows have become increasingly popular among homeowners as the quality and technology in manufacturing them has improved. As of 2012, vinyl windows held a 68% market share in the U.S. residential window market.  

 

Pros  / Advantages

 

Affordable: Vinyl windows cost significantly less than comparable wood windows. Some vinyl window options cost less than half of many wood window options. A good example of this is the Harvey Tribute vinyl window and the Pella Architect wood window. Though not an exact apples-to-apples comparison, it’s good to know as a level-set. Many vinyl windows come equipped with a lifetime warranty, too.


Energy efficient: Despite somewhat widely held misconceptions, vinyl windows are significantly more energy efficient than wood. They can come triple pane with u-values as low as .17 where as the lowest u-value of the wood windows we install is .25. This is a result of the way quality vinyl windows have multiple air chambers built into the frame and sash as well as the ability to accommodate the wider triple pane glass configuration option.  

 

Low-maintenance: Unlike wood windows, vinyl replacement windows rarely require scraping, painting, or much maintenance. Vinyl frames are extremely easy to clean, usually only requiring an occasional cleaning with soap and water.   

 

Cons / Disadvantages 

 

Durability: Most vinyl windows typically last 20 years or more while wood windows are shorter lived and have shorter warranties as a result. Wood is a natural product and, despite being protected by a vinyl, composite or aluminum exterior, it is much more prone to warping, damage, and rot.  

 

Appearance: Renoviso's vinyl windows come in up to 28 exterior colors, which is great! If you're planning to paint the interior frame of your windows then vinyl is a great, cost-effective alternative to wood. Our windows come painted on the interior with all the same exterior colors if requested but if you absolutely need or want that stained, natural look of wood, then vinyl may not be for you.    

 

Wood Windows


Wood windows are considered a classic window material choice by many contractors and homeowners due to their durability, energy efficiency, and beautiful, customizable appearance. For historic or rustic homes in particular, the warm and organic appeal of wood windows can be an especially great fit and worthy of the investment. Wood windows are also a desirable feature to potential homeowners and can add to resale value and curb appeal.  

 

Pros / Advantages 

 

Appearance: Real wood windows are aesthetically pleasing and highly customizable, allowing you to tailor your new windows precisely to your home’s exterior and interior. On the interior, wood windows can have their natural wood color or be painted or stained. Most wood windows have exterior cladding systems that are either vinyl- or aluminum-based composites which provide increased durability and protection from the elements without compromising on beauty.


Energy efficient: All the wood windows installed by Renoviso are Energy Star Certified but vinyl replacement windows usually have a slight edge in terms of energy efficiency, as mentioned above.  

Durability: Most wood clad window manufacturers offer cladding systems which are composite exteriors. This essentially means they're covered with materials such as extruded aluminum, PVC, or fiberglass to help prevent weather damage and increase the longevity of wood windows even further. Renoviso installs the Andersen 400 Series window which has a vinyl-based exterior cladding, and the Pella Architect window and the Harvey Majesty window (click to view product photo gallery) which have an aluminum-based exterior.   

 

Cons / Disadvantages 

 

Maintenance: Older wood windows often are not cladded so their exteriors need repainting or re-staining every few years. The interior of wood windows can also require touch-up and painting as wear and tear compiles through the years. Wood is more porous than vinyl, meaning that grime and dirt can more easily be trapped. So expect semi-frequent cleaning and monitoring.


Cost: While wood windows are a beautiful and long-lasting option that can add value to your home, they are significantly more costly than vinyl windows. You can see the price difference for yourself right on our site: vinyl double hung window prices here and wood double hung window prices here.   

FAQ: Vinyl or wood windows 

 

So now that you’ve read all about the differences between vinyl and wood windows, we’ve made it to the lightning round. Before purchasing, ask yourself the following questions and you’ll know what product is right for you:

  • What type of window do I currently have?
  • Am I looking to make an aesthetic change?
  • How much do I value an energy-efficient window?
  • How large is my budget for this renovation?
  • How much maintenance am I willing to do on my windows?
  • What’s the current age of my home?
  • What’s the design style of my home?
  • What color do I want my new windows to be?
  • Do I prefer Andersen, Harvey, or Pella windows?
  • What do I want to save on my energy bill this year?
  • Do I want to purchase a double hung, casement, bay, bow, picture, single hung, or other type of window style?
  • Do I want to paint or stain my windows somewhere down the line?
  • Do I know a reputable window installer that specializes in either material?

Vinyl windows customer reviews


The Harvey windows & sliding door were installed today at the time specified. The two workers were very courteous, definitely knew the product and installation process. Any questions I had were answered quickly. The area was cleaned up after the install. Thank you and we are very satisfied with the product. - Diana M.


I recently purchased a bank-owned property that had a large crack in one of the windows. A replacement window was needed in order to pass local inspections. I got a few quotes from nearby stores before deciding on using Renoviso based off a recommendation from an industry professional. I was able to get a great price on a custom sized window and the turnaround time was super fast! I will definitely be keeping them in mind for future projects. - Colin H.

We had some rather unusually sized windows to replace (tall and narrow). The guys from Renoviso worked with us to assess the task and they analyzed the steps involved and directed the entire project. Jeff was on the job, both overseeing and working hands on with his crew. The custom windows look great and fit perfectly. We shopped other dealers and made the right choice. We highly recommend that you choose Renoviso. - Andrew K.


Wood windows customer reviews


My total experience with Renoviso has been perfect. From my initial contact to the final product installed I can't say enough about their professionalism and service. Each person I dealing with me was quick to respond and helpful. The installers were professional, knowledgeable and very neat. Great experience would highly recommend them. - Natalie K.


My total experience with Renoviso has been perfect. From my initial contact to the final product installed I can't say enough about their professionalism and service. Each person I dealing with me was quick to respond and helpful. The installers were professional, knowledgeable and very neat. Great experience would highly recommend them. - Merilee W. 


The staff at Renoviso was wonderful to deal with. They were all very responsive and even answered my phone call on a Sunday evening! Our windows were replaced quickly and professionally and we are very happy with the final product! I would absolutely recommend working with Renoviso. - Mollie B. 

 

Conclusion


Vinyl windows vs wood windows is a question that many homeowners need to answer. Which window type is best for your home ultimately depends on your priorities. A well-constructed, custom-made vinyl window is a great option for the budget-conscious renovator who wants exceptional energy efficiency without compromising on quality.  

 

Wood windows offer homeowners increased durability and customization options usually at a higher price. You can design your wood window and see an installed price directly on Renoviso’s website as well. Both vinyl and wood windows offer substantial energy efficiency improvements over older windows, and are available in a wide range of styles. 

 

To start exploring the perfect balance between aesthetics, durability, efficiency, and cost, customize a window on Renoviso’s windows page or call us to talk with a Project Consultant at 888-867-1660. You'll have your installed price in 5 minutes by phone or directly on our site.