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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Wood Windows

Updated on November 15, 2016
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The advantages of wooden windows

Contrary to what you may think, most homeowners don't spend all this extra money on wooden windows just for their better looks. True, vinyl is the most common replacement window you will find today in any modern home. But does this mean that vinyl is a better material? Definitely not! There many people who will always go for the much more expensive option of getting quality wood frames. Despite certain drawbacks, wood has many advantages other than just good looks and is overall a much better material.

Purpose of this article is not to start a war on other materials used for windows but to present the pros and cons of wood, in an effort to help any potential buyer make a more informed decision.

Window of traditional design in Porto Covo, Portugal
Window of traditional design in Porto Covo, Portugal

1# Aesthetics

As aforementioned, looks are one of the reasons many people choose wooden windows in the first place. For some, it's actually the only reason! After all, nothing can beat the elegant and warm looks of wood. Natural materials have a unique beauty and that’s why most window frames attempt to mimic the look of wood. There is no reason to settle for a cheap imitation if you can afford the real deal.

Furthermore, for certain old or more traditional homes, there really is no other aesthetically pleasing choice other than real wood windows. Simply put, genuine wood gives a look and a feel that nothing else can match.

Wood is also a winner in the looks department cause it can accept all kinds of paints and colors the homeowner will choose to apply. No other material is as welcoming and accepting to paint as wood. Wood doesn't simply embrace paint, it needs it! Why? Continue reading and you will find out!

2# Insulation

You probably remember from school that wood is a bad conductor of heat. Obviously, this makes it a perfect choice for insulation. Quality wood frames are actually the best insulators available today. Wood provides 400 times more insulation than steel and 1,800 times more than aluminum-framed windows.

In the long run, wood framed windows could save you from a lot of money since this additional insulation “bonus” will help keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Your bills will be greatly reduced, all year round.

Additionally, wood-framed windows are excellent at stopping outdoor sounds, being again much more effective than all other materials.

3# Wood lasts longer

Before I mentioned how wood is a better insulator and this over the long run proves to be a huge money saver. But there is another reason why wood gives you a better value for money.

Research has shown again and again that quality wood windows last much longer and have a lower whole life cost. With the proper care, wood will last a lifetime. This cannot be said for most other frames. And remberer, wood windows are not prone to rust, a deciding factor for many locations especially those with high humidity levels.

4# Coefficient of expansion

Wood has the smallest coefficient of expansion than any other of the materials used in window production. This makes wooden windows stable and immobile and in turn allow you to select from a wide variety of designs.

The Disadvantages of Wood Frames

These are the 4 main advantages of this great material. Nothing is perfect in this world and this is of course true for wooden framed windows.

1# The need for paint

Before I said that wood not only embraces paint, it actually needs it. And now you will learn why. Wood was once part of a living organism. If left untreated, it will eventually rot or start to look old.

Often, untreated window frames will swell from moisture, making it difficult (or impossible!) to raise or lower the window. This is especially true for houses near the sea. These homes generally require much more attention and care.

2# Insects

Insects are probably wood’s worst enemy, especially those nasty termites. However, painting your wooden frames protects both from humidity and insects. So, two birds with one stone!

Untreated wooden windows are proned to termites
Untreated wooden windows are proned to termites

3# Initial Cost

Yes, wood windows have a much higer initial cost than any of the other materials used in window production. But as it was explained before, a quality and well maintained window will last much, much longer and will result in smaller utility bill each and every year. A really tight budget is the only excuse for not choosing wood.

So what type of window should I get?

It all comes down to priorities. If your biggest concern is price, and you are on a really tight budget, go for a cheap material like vinyl windows.

However, if your concern is longevity, beauty, long term & resale value, then wood windows are the choice.

Window Buying Guide - Wood Vs Fiberglass VS Aluminum Vs Viny


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