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 Vinyl vs Wood Windows: 4 Key Differences

Vinyl vs Wood Windows: 4 Key Differences

When it comes to vinyl vs wood windows, there’s more to consider than taste. If you want to make a dramatic change to your home, an update to the windows is a great option. For homeowners with older houses, you might have aluminum-framed windows. 

Oftentimes, it’s a good idea to upgrade. But, how do you decide between vinyl vs wood windows? Either way, you’ll be amazed at how such a simple change alters the look of your home both inside and out. 

For many homeowners, windows are easy to overlook in residential remodeling. You don’t use them as directly as a bathroom or kitchen, so where’s the fun? It’s a great way to improve the ROI of your home in the long term, though. 

Moreover, windows help to protect your home, keep the air in and out (reducing your bills), and add value to your home. Before you dive into a renovation, though, it’s good to know the differences between vinyl and wood windows. 

So, which material is the best option for you?

Which Material Is Right for You?

Vinyl windows consist of polyvinyl chloride, often called PVC. This is a plastic material we often see in pipes and an array of plastic items. Unlike older versions of vinyl windows, they come in far more colors. 

It’s good to take your time as you choose a color, though, because these windows last over 20 years. Additionally, they tend to be more affordable, which is why you see them in higher demand. 

When you want to upgrade, wood windows are another great option. They provide your home with durability and energy efficiency. Moreover, they often have a longer lifespan than vinyl with the right maintenance. Oftentimes, people use them in historic homes. 

Now, let’s take a look at 4 key differences in vinyl vs wood windows. 

Energy Efficiency

Wood is one of the best materials available for insulation. This is because it inhibits the transmission of both heat and cold. 

Vinyl is a good insulator as well because it neither conducts heat nor cools the air. However, many of these frames are hollow, which allows cold air to pass through. 

If energy efficiency is the basis of your decision, it’s a tough one. Both options perform quite well, so you may want to factor in other aspects before you select your windows. 


When it comes to vinyl vs wood windows, wood is more difficult to install. Oftentimes, they require on-site modifications to fit into existing openings. Additionally, the material is heavier than vinyl, which requires more labor. Lastly, wood requires finishing, such as sanding, staining, and an exterior clad. 

By comparison, vinyl windows are easier and faster to install. Generally, this is because they are lighter and require less finishing. 


Wood windows require maintenance every few years, depending on the climate of the region. This means removing old paint/varnish to apply new coats. Additionally, you have to check them for damage from weather and pests more often. 

However, an exterior clad helps you avoid some of this maintenance. With the right maintenance, wood can outlast vinyl, though. 

Alternatively, vinyl requires little upkeep and maintenance after installation. Generally, you have to wash them inside and out once a year. Occasionally, you might have to perform some spot cleaning here and there. 


According to a Cost vs Value Report from 2021, vinyl windows are the way to go. This is because the install is faster, requiring less of an investment. Moreover, the reduced maintenance cost makes it a solid long-term investment. 

Comparatively, wood recuperates about 67.4% of the cost while vinyl windows recuperate 68.6%. However, it’s important to remember that every remodeling project varies with key factors. 

  • Style of window 
  • Customization 
  • Number of windows 
  • Quality of the work 

Vinyl vs Wood Windows: What’s Right for You?

No matter the material you choose for your windows, it’s important to work with a trustworthy, reliable contractor. When you work with Building Tejas, you have a team with the expertise and experience to get the job done right the first time. Call us today for a free consultation!