Wood, Vinyl, or Composite Windows: What’s the Best Choice

Choosing the right window material for your Tulsa or Oklahoma home can be a daunting endeavor. First, you need a durable and virtually maintenance-free material that will last for decades. And secondly, you need a reasonably priced option that will freshen up your home’s curb appeal and ambiance without wreaking havoc on your home’s energy efficiency. 

Wood, vinyl, and composite window materials are some of the popular options that have been gaining traction among homeowners in recent years. While the three options can function smoothly in any home, not all of these materials are ideal for all situations. Knowing how they compare to each other is the initial step ahead in making a viable purchase decision. 

Today, we seek to compare these common types of window materials based on various categories, such as cost, energy efficiency, aesthetics, and so much more. So, buckle up, and let’s get started. 

Wood, Vinyl, or Composite: Cost & Value

Wood windows can be produced from either softwood like Douglas fir and European redwood, or hardwoods like Sapele, chestnut, and oak. They can also be produced from a combination of soft- and hardwoods. In terms of cost, a 48-inch wood sash window costs anywhere between $700 and $10,000 per window, with an installation cost of approximately $300. 

Vinyl window, on the other hand, costs less than both wood and composite windows. A 48-inch vinyl sash window could cost you around $500-$700 per window, with installation cost running for around $250. That means an average American home with 10 windows could part with less than $12,000 for the entire project. 

Composite windows retail at $500-$11,000 per window depending on the brand, and costs around $300 to be installed. A normal-sized double-hung Andersen composite window could see you part with a total of $500 for the window and installation.

Lower Upfront Cost Winner: Vinyl Wins  

Note: The average price and installation cost of wood, vinyl, and composite windows vary by region. 

Wood, Vinyl, or Composite Windows: Insulation & Energy Efficiency

Many homeowners prioritize insulation and energy efficiency when shopping for new windows. Regarding energy efficiency, all of these materials can be energy-efficient, but wood and composite windows are ahead of the pack. In fact, wood can insulate 400X better than steel and 1,800X better than aluminum, keeping your home cool in summer and warm in winter. 

Composite windows are thicker and offer up to 200% better insulation than vinyl windows. With the ability to completely inhibit transmission of heat and cold, composite windows can save you no less than 40% on your heating bill. More importantly, composite windows can be recycled; an added advantage for eco-conscious homeowners.

And while vinyl windows are filled with foam insulation in their frames for energy efficiency, they tend to expand and contract much more than wood and composite. Over time, this constant expansion and contraction cause warping in the frame, which lets the air escape and lowers the efficiency. You might argue that even wood windows may splinter or rot and create a gap for air to pass through. You’re right; but wood windows can be fixed, unlike vinyl windows whose only remedy is a replacement.

Best Insulation & Energy Efficiency: Wood and Composite Tie

Wood, Vinyl, or Composite Windows: Strength & Durability

As far as strength and durability go, vinyl and composite windows pretty much stuck up to each other. A high-quality vinyl window frame can resist the detrimental effects of moisture and last up to 30 years. Nonetheless, extremely cold temperatures in some parts of Tulsa and Oklahoma City can cause vinyl windows to crack, and extreme heat can cause warping, too! 

Composite windows are made from a newer technology where different materials are mashed up into one solid product. Composite windows made from expanded polymers don’t warp or crack, nor do they get dinged by heavy wind or hail. They can stand up against heavy rain and snow, and can as well be a wise option for those of us who live in temperate climates with sporadic heat waves. 

Whereas wood windows are versatile options that can last for decades, they call for correct and consistent care. Wood is vulnerable to warping, rotting, expansion, and contraction. Wood windows aren’t the best choice for homeowners who live near a coastline, largely because moist, salty ocean air is wood’s number one enemy. You can still use them anywhere near the beach, but they’ll need to be treated and painted regularly to prevent rotting, warping, and swelling.

Strength & Durability: Composite Wins

Wood, Vinyl, or Composite Windows: Appearance & Customization

When it comes to appearance and ease of customization, it’s not uncommon for wood windows to be painted in any color or stained to showcase the natural wood grain. Ideal for people who value a more classic, traditional look, wood windows come in a variety of wood species, with mahogany being the most preferred for guises and style. Besides, the exterior of wood windows can be customized with either vinyl or aluminum cladding depending on your requirements.

Since composite windows are made of many different materials, they’re also pretty customizable to match your home’s style and color palette. If need be, you can tailor your composite windows to show off the look and feel of traditional wood windows. Their wood grain styling can complement the interior décor of your home so perfectly. 

Vinyl windows have fewer options in the looks department. This is largely because vinyl may end up collecting grime over time was it to integrate more ridges and faux wood grain. Vinyl windows are better left with their smooth finish, which lends a plastic appearance. Be that as it may, you can pre-order your vinyl windows in a range of sizes, color choices, and thickness of frame to mirror your home’s architectural stance. 

Appearance & Customization: Wood and Composite Win

The Bottom Line

When deciding between wood, vinyl, and composite windows, you need to consider your personal preferences above all else. Each of these window materials has its inherent strengths and weaknesses, which means there’s no such thing as one-size-fits-all. Wood is a decent option for our Tulsa and Oklahoma homeowners who value versatility since you can easily order a custom-made design and have it delivered as requested. 

Vinyl is a practical choice for those of us who have a tight budget and can’t afford to spend beyond our limits. And with its foam insulation, vinyl windows won’t spike your energy bills. A well-made vinyl window with quality installation can offer the best value for money.

Finally, it’s hard to beat a composite window when it comes to energy-efficiency, durability, and customization. If money allows, composite windows are a perfect option for your Oklahoma home. 

Get a FREE, No-Obligation Quotation Now

Once you’ve chosen between these window options, give us a call at One Source for a FREE, no-obligation quotation. We’re proud to serve our happy clients in Tulsa and Oklahoma City. And we can’t wait to serve you too!