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Wood Frame Windows vs. Vinyl Frame Windows: Which Works for You?

Window Frame

Some decisions in life are easy. Paper or plastic? Cash or charge? Mayo or mustard? But when it comes down to choosing between wood frame and vinyl frame windows, which option is the best choice for your project or situation? We've delved into the matter thoroughly and have the answers you need below.

Wood Frame

Wooden Window Frame

Many home builders and home owners still consider wood frame windows to be the gold standard. Why such high regard? Wood windows leave you with a beautiful appearance on the inside of your home, rather than a single-tone vinyl frame. The material is relatively energy efficient, meaning they'll lose less heat or cold over time than some other frame types, such as aluminum. They're also very strong, making them less likely to break under stress.

However, wood has its drawbacks as well. The one that is most commonly noticed is the regular required refinishing of the exterior with paint or stain to maintain its beautiful appearance. A few manufacturers are getting around this issue by offering metal- or vinyl-clad wood frame windows, which virtually eliminates the exterior maintenance while leaving the strength, quality and beauty of the interior frame. If the wood isn't maintained, moisture can infiltrate the wood, causing swelling and hard to open windows.

Vinyl Frame

Vinyl Windows

Available since the 1970s, vinyl frame still hasn't quite beaten wood frame windows out of the market, though the competition is intense. Vinyl offers a more affordable option as it can include recycled material. It's more energy efficient, as it transfers less heat from or into your home through the honeycomb framework that acts as an insulative barrier. It's also very easy to maintain, with no painting and scraping required to keep them looking fabulous. They're also usually easier to build to a customized frame size, reducing or eliminating your need for retrofit framing.

But what's the downside? Some vinyl frames are still assembled with screws rather than heat welded, which can leave gaps for air to infiltrate or escape your home, creating drafts. If you're looking for a customized color for the exterior or interior, you may need to look for special paint that deals well with the plastic finish or plan on custom ordering the windows in that particular color. If you want a beautiful wood finish on the interior, you're going to be out of luck with vinyl frame windows, unless you have a lot of patience with a very small paintbrush to create a faux finish.

Whichever windows you choose to purchase, make sure you take the time to check the construction and ease of use in the showroom before settling on any particular type. Other features in the windows, such as integrated blinds, wrought-iron grating that provides security and beauty, energy efficiency issues and similar facets of the window's design should also be taken into account. Though it can be a tough choice, selecting the right windows for your project is one of the best ways to ensure it turns out right. If you need help selecting the right options for your home, business or job site, please feel free to contact us today. We can even help you find the odd-size windows you need through our special order service. At Wallboard Supply Company, our job is helping keeping your job rolling forward.

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Wallboard Supply Company is a third generation, family run business that has been serving New England's building needs since 1970. Bob Filion started the company with a commitment to provide quality drywall and finishing products with unmatched customer service. The company has grown over the years, expanding its' product range, but never wavering from its' core values.