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Wood vs Vinyl Windows: Pros, Cons, & Differences

Wood Window

If you are installing new windows, there are two popular material choices: wood and vinyl. Both materials are known for their durability and attractiveness, but they are not equal. On the contrary, vinyl is better for some homeowners, whereas wood is better for others.

To learn about the differences between wood and vinyl windows, keep reading. This article gives a full explanation of these two window types and helps you decide which material to use on your own windows.

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Overview of Wood Windows:

Wood windows are some of the most popular because of their durability and beauty. Although most wood windows are made from Pine or Douglas Fir, there are various wood types used on windows. This can make wood windows one-of-a-kind accents in your home.

You are most likely to find wood windows in vintage homes, cabins, and other similar buildings. They aren’t as frequently used in apartments or budget homes because they are expensive. Despite their high price, people love wood windows because of their beautiful appearance.

big windows with brown wooden frames
Image Credit: Miguel Luis, Unsplash

Who Are Wood Windows Good For?

Wood windows are best for individuals who care about the appearance of their homes. Wood creates an incredibly rustic and charming appearance that cannot be replaced with any other material. At the same time, wood windows are highly durable and should last a long time.

Another benefit of wood windows is that you can easily paint them if you prefer. This means you can go with the natural wood finish, or you can paint the windows so that they match your interior decor perfectly.

Who Are Wood Windows Not Good For?

Although wood windows are highly attractive and durable, they are not good for individuals on a budget. Wood windows are quite expensive. Just one window can cost anywhere from $300 to $800 to construct. Multiply this by however many numbers of windows are in your home for a complete estimate of how much it would cost to get wood windows.

Additionally, wood windows are not ideal for DIYers. Most often, this material requires professionals to create and install the windows to ensure that everything is done correctly and goes smoothly. Likewise, wood windows can be difficult to maintain if you have never maintained them before.

  • Beautiful look
  • Highly durable
  • Can customize with paints
  • Ideal for historic homes
  • Expensive
  • Difficult to install
  • Difficult to maintain

divider 1 Overview of Vinyl Windows:

Vinyl Window
Image By: Gina Leonard, Shutterstock

A more contemporary material type is vinyl. Vinyl is frequently chosen because it is highly affordable and is easy to install and maintain, even for DIYers. It isn’t quite as attractive as wood, but it is frequently found in many modern homes.

What’s unique about vinyl windows is that they are made from a Polyvinyl chloride material. This material is very durable and helps to prevent the frame from deteriorating. You can select hollow or foam-filled cores for extra installation. Either way, vinyl windows are very affordable.

Who Are Vinyl Windows Good For?

Vinyl windows are best for individuals on a budget. Vinyl windows typically only cost between $150 and $400 per window to make. This means that the least expensive window is half the price of the least expensive wood window. Vinyl is the way to go if you are on a budget.

Another good thing about vinyl windows is that they are relatively easy to install and maintain. If you want to DIY your home, opting for vinyl windows is the best option. Even though you will have to replace vinyl sooner than other alternatives, it is much easier to work with.

Vinyl Window Kitchen
Image Credit: Pexels

Who Are Vinyl Windows Not Good For?

If you want gorgeous windows, vinyl is probably not the choice for you. Even though you can get vinyl windows in many different colors and textures, they simply aren’t as beautiful as wood windows. You can’t paint them either, which means you will have to replace them entirely if you want to update them whenever you change your interior décor.

Something else to keep in mind is that vinyl windows are not as durable as wood. Even though they are easier to maintain, you will have to replace vinyl windows more frequently. If you do not want to deal with replacing windows frequently, you should not go with vinyl.

  • Affordable
  • Easy to install and maintain
  • Comes ready to go
  • Not as attractive
  • Will need to replace

divider 1 Wood vs Vinyl Window Face-Off

Wood Window Vinyl Window Winner?
Price $300-$800 per window $150-$300 per window Vinyl Window
Energy Efficiency Inhibits heat and cold transmission Requires foam-filled insulation for maximum insulation Wood Window
Installation  Heavy

Must be treated before installation

$200-$300 per window for labor


Comes ready to install

$150-$250 per window for labor

Vinyl Window
Maintenance Must be maintained every 3-4 years

More prone to damage

Will rot and become infested if not maintained properly

Very little maintenance if any Vinyl Window
Longevity  30+ years, but can warp over time 15-20 years, but doesn’t warp Tie
Appearance Natural


Many wood and paint options

Must pay more for more options and colors

Cannot paint

Wood Window
Design Options Customizable

Can easily change appearance without changing window

Must change window to change appearance Wood Window

divider 1 Are Wood Windows or Vinyl Windows Better?

It is difficult to answer this question outright since these windows are advantageous in their own ways. Wood windows are better when it comes to appearances and longevity, but vinyl windows are better for affordability and ease of maintenance.

For this reason, it’s impossible to say exactly which window is better since your ultimate goals from the window will determine which one is best for you.

Should I Get Wood or Vinyl Window?

What window you should get ultimately depends on your preferences and budget. If you want the most aesthetically pleasing window, the wood window is the way to go. Likewise, you should select a wood window if you want the longest lasting window and don’t care about maintaining it.

In comparison, you should get a vinyl window if you want a highly affordable option and one that doesn’t require much maintenance. It might not be as attractive as the wood window, but it requires less work and money.

divider 1 Conclusion

At the end of the day, both wood and vinyl windows are great, but they are great in their own ways. Wood windows are fantastic because they are gorgeous and highly durable, but they are expensive and require a lot of maintenance. In contrast, vinyl windows are highly affordable and easy to maintain, but they aren’t as attractive or as long-lasting as wood windows.

After considering these factors, it is up to you to decide which window is better for you. Just think about your goals and your budget to make the final decision about which window type you should get.

Featured Image Credit: Pexels


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