Whether you’re choosing windows for new construction or you’re ready for replacements, understanding the differences between materials that are available is critical. Both vinyl and wood windows are popular choices that each have their benefits and drawbacks. Our experienced building professionals at Jaeger Lumber in New Jersey explain the differences between vinyl windows and wood windows.

Energy Efficiency and Insulation

Both vinyl and wood windows can provide good insulation and help you save on energy costs if they’re made with quality materials and construction. Foam-filled vinyl provides excellent insulation but expands and contracts more than wood does. This can warp the frame, causing gaps. However, if wood isn’t well maintained, it can rot or splinter, which can create small openings that let cold or warm air in and out. Regardless of whether you choose wood or vinyl windows, if they’re double-paned and contain low-E glass, they will be more energy efficient and insulate better than single-paned windows.

Window Appearance

Curb appeal is important to most people, and the right windows can make your home shine. Everyone has their own style and preferences, which should be kept in mind when choosing replacement windows. Wood provides a more natural, traditional look, and can be stained or painted any color. There are also tons of hardwood species to choose from, which can make a difference when it comes to durability as well.

Fewer options are available when it comes to vinyl windows. Although you can find vinyl windows that have a faux wood appearance, the nooks and ridges in them collect dirt and grime and need to be cleaned more often. Vinyl windows usually come in white and typically have a smooth finish, which can give them a plastic appearance. Wood windows also offer more options for customization.

Window Durability and Maintenance

Well-made wood windows can last for decades when properly maintained. However, this means that they need to be scraped and repainted or stained regularly to avoid rotting and warping. Exterior wood window frames that are sheathed with vinyl or aluminum don’t need as much maintenance as windows with wood that’s exposed on the outside. Another important thing to keep in mind is that wood windows can often be repaired, while vinyl cannot.

Vinyl windows require less maintenance, but rarely outlast wood. They don’t rot or crack, but due to their tendency to expand and contract, they typically need to be replaced more often than wood. Newer windows made with thicker vinyl and angled exterior sills may last longer than they have in the past, but the jury is still out on this claim. Smooth vinyl windows are easy to clean and maintain – they don’t require regular painting or staining and can be cleaned with a damp cloth and mild soap.

Whether your windows are made of wood, vinyl, or another material, they should be checked regularly to ensure caulking and weatherstripping is intact. Any missing, loose, or cracked caulking should be replaced to help keep air and moisture out and maintain energy efficiency.

Cost of Windows

The cost of windows varies wildly, depending on brand, materials, style, glass, and other factors. Generally, wood windows are more expensive than vinyl. In addition to being made of more costly material, wood windows are more labor-intensive to install, which can increase the total cost. Vinyl windows are designed to be popped in and out of the frame, while wood windows must be securely fitted and nailed in. Both types of replacement windows can increase the value of your home.

Which Windows Are Right For You?

If you’re on a tight budget and want to keep maintenance at a minimum, vinyl windows are probably your best bet. Wood windows offer long-term value and natural beauty, and are well suited for traditional, historic homes. If you plan to stay in your home for the long haul and you don’t mind performing or paying for periodic maintenance, wood can be a practical choice. Whether you opt for wood or vinyl windows, make sure to hire seasoned professionals who have experience with window installation.

Contact Us to Learn More About Vinyl and Wood Windows

Jaeger Lumber has proudly served homeowners, contractors, and building professionals throughout New Jersey for more than 80 years. We provide the quality products and personalized service you need so you’ll never get lost in the shuffle. To learn more about products we offer, contact us today. Our dedicated team of professionals is ready to serve you at any of our eight convenient locations in New Jersey.

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