With so many window options on the market, you’re probably wondering which is best for your home. The most important aspect to consider is your frame material, especially wood vs. vinyl window frames. Some things to consider are aesthetics, energy efficiency, functionality, price, and maintenance level. Here's what you should know about the best type of windows for our Southern climate.
Wood vs. vinyl windows: Maintenance, aesthetics, and price
Wooden windows are beautiful and desirable for many traditional and historical home styles. However, frequent painting or staining is necessary for both aesthetic and preventative maintenance. If one does not maintain their wood window with fresh coats of paint, not only will they look terrible, but they will begin to rot as well. Additionally, high-quality wood windows are probably your most expensive choice when it comes to frames.
While wooden windows are beautiful, vinyl windows are an exceptional choice for a number of reasons.
We have a saying around here: vinyl is final. Not only do vinyl windows not corrode or pit, they also resist fading and scratching. Vinyl windows require the least amount of maintenance. There is never a need to repaint or stain these types of windows. Simple periodic cleaning is all it takes to keep your vinyl windows looking like new!
Another major feature that makes vinyl windows superior to alternatives such as fiberglass, aluminum, and wood; is that vinyl window frames are fusion welded together. The alternative window types all require gaskets and mechanically fastened corners which offer another point of the window which can fail over its lifetime; allowing air and water to infiltrate your home. The welding process utilized with vinyl windows, makes your frame one uniform frame all around.
Further, high-quality vinyl windows are up to 25% cheaper than wooden frames. This can add up a lot if you're installing new windows across your home.
What about aluminum windows?
You may be thinking: what about aluminum frames? While these types of windows might seem like a more affordable option, they too will eventually require maintenance, if not replacement.
Aluminum is easily dented and is subject to corrosion if the finish is damaged and then exposed to salt in water or salt in air; while aluminum may be great for certain building products, this characteristic can be problematic for an integral component of your home’s structure and weather barrier. Lastly, aluminum is not energy-efficient. It conducts heat, which affects its ability to cool the home in the South’s hot summers. Conversely, since aluminum is a conductor, it can be cold to the touch, which increases condensation problems. There are design techniques which can be used to make aluminum frames similarly as thermally efficient as vinyl; but at an enormous cost comparatively. We never recommend aluminum frames for our climate.
Energy efficiency with wood vs. vinyl windows
For the Gulf South's hot and humid summers, energy efficiency is paramount. In this regard, vinyl windows are the most functional option. Vinyl windows do not conduct heat, which means increased energy efficiency, lower energy bills, and added comfort in your home.
Here's what the U.S. Department of Energy had to say about their energy efficiency:
"Vinyl window frames are usually made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) with ultraviolet light (UV) stabilizers to keep sunlight from breaking down the material. Vinyl window frames do not require painting and have good moisture resistance."
At LAS Shutters + Windows, we also use ENERGY STAR® rated components and low e-glass in our window panes to further reduce your energy costs. You can find an ENERGY STAR® replacement window calculator to find your potential cost savings. For Louisiana cities, ENERGY STAR® rated windows could help you save up to $100-200 a year from your electricity bill.
Your choice is clear
As The Spruce reports, "In the last 25 years, wood dropped from accounting for almost half of all windows sold to less than 20%. Guess which material took wood's place? Vinyl."
There's a reason. Vinyl window frames are more affordable, look great, are easier to maintain, and are more energy efficient. When it comes to the Gulf South, there's no comparison when it comes to wood vs. vinyl windows. Vinyl window frames protect your home best.
At LAS, we know our customers’ needs. We’ve taken into consideration the climate challenges of our region. We design and manufacture high performing windows that are energy efficient, custom made, and will last a lifetime.
At LAS Shutters + Windows, we know that vinyl windows are the superior choice over others in our hot and humid climate. Call us with any additional questions about vinyl windows and let LAS show you the difference. Our team also provides FREE estimates for your next home project.
This blog was originally posted December 30, 2014.