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Replacing the Kitchen Window: Choose a Wood or Vinyl Window Frame?

Replacing the Kitchen Window

Renovating your kitchen or bathroom, natural light matters. That's why many home renovations include window replacements on the checklist of upgrades to complete.

Taking an old, rattling window and replacing it with a modern eco-sealed window is good for your home's energy efficiency and can be an excuse to make your home more beautiful from the kitchen outward.

If you're dreaming of replacing the kitchen window, you will eventually find yourself making a very important choice: vinyl or wood?

kitchen planning guide

Classic wood window frames will be beautiful forever, but vinyl windows offer similar efficiency for significantly lower cost. What's the difference? Which should you choose? Let's dive into a quick buyer's guide on vinyl vs wood when replacing your kitchen windows.


Wood Windows vs Vinyl Windows

Wood framed windows are the classic, elegant choice. Window frames tend to be of springy evergreen wood, typically pine or Douglas Fir. However, you can also hand-select the wood type of your window frames, with advice for durability and weather resistance from your window supplier or home designer.

Vinyl windows are framed with hollow, form-extruded high-quality PVC, or polyvinyl chloride. This is an extremely durable and affordable plastic, which is why it's used for so many modern construction projects, today. Vinyl windows are affordable and, if they fit your aesthetic, can be attractive.


What is the Difference Between Wood vs Vinyl Windows

Vinyl Only Comes in White and Tan

Vinyl windows do not come in colors because PVC does not. While it is a very efficient material, manufacturers have yet to achieve dark, rich, or lasting PVC colors - especially for windows which are constantly drenched in sunlight.

Wood, however, is well known to be highly color diverse. You can stain the natural grain or you can paint over the surface any color you choose.

Wood Requires More Maintenance

Vinyl is one of the most low-maintenance materials we can build with, while wood's maintenance needs are well-known. Wood windows will need to be cared for, kept dry, and sealed or painted over the years. Vinyl windows need very little maintenance, just the occasional wipe down and, sometimes, recaulking after a few years.

Wood is Naturally Insulating - Vinyl Must be Insulated

Wood and vinyl are both highly resistant to transferring temperature. This makes them great building materials for window frames. However, wood frames are solid wood, while vinyl frames tend to be hollow. This means that if the frames are not insulated - the hollow air sealed in as an insulating layer - then they can bleed your HVAC efficiency. You will need to make sure your vinyl frames are well-insulated for home efficiency and a competitive value with wood.

Wood is More Elegant

Because vinyl has one look - solid white - wood is considered more elegant. It is certainly the classic decorative choice. Many modern designs look great with white or tan vinyl windows, but design versatility and natural material elegance comes from wood frames.

Both are Sustainable

You might be expecting to hear which is more sustainable. Both are equally - or comparably - sustainable. Vinyl's extremely low pollution compares to the cutting and transport costs of wood.


The Cost of Wood Windows vs Vinyl

Wood windows are typically about $200 more per window than vinyl. Both have a range between $500-1,000 per window, but the range of vinyl windows for size and style tends to be lower than their direct wood-framed equivalent.

Wood windows tend to cost more. Vinyl windows are a popular choice because they are more affordable and look good anywhere white-framed windows will be stylish.


Which is Better, Wood or Vinyl Windows?

Which is the better window choice for your home update? It depends on what you're looking for most in window design. Wood windows have a far higher potential for decoration through stain and paint. However, wood takes more damage in damp and moist climates. Vinyl is excellently energy efficient, but only comes in white and tan. Wood may be necessary for your home's current design or for your HOA regs. If white works with your home design, vinyl is more affordable, take less care, and have a similar lifespan.

If you're planning a home update or kitchen renovation, call Edesia to consult with one of our designer-builders. We'll help you design the perfect renovation plan including a new eco-friendly kitchen window in vinyl or wood - the choice is yours.

kitchen planning guide

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