Replacing Wood Windows: What You Should Know
The colder seasons are upon us, and that winter chill is encroaching, pushing everyone indoors to huddle around a warm, enticing fire. But one surefire way to quickly dissipate a cozy atmosphere is to have the warmth inside of your home sucked out by poor windows.
What’s worse than feeling a steady draft of freezing cold air flow through your home on an already dismal winter day? Let’s face it, windows that feel like they need to be replaced are probably long overdue for a good makeover, and wood windows are no exception.
Once the most popular choice of window material around, wood windows have had their place as number one quickly usurped by vinyl. But what else should you know about replacing wood windows? What can you expect with this traditional housing construction material?
Features to Look for in a Replacement Window
Replacing a window will require a few points of background knowledge before you hit the ground running on selecting your next windows for your home. New replacements windows are a big investment, and you should know what you’re getting into.
Fortunately, when you look at all of your options and the features that accompany them, you can quickly narrow down what window material is right for you. There’s no rule saying that you must stick with the material your home was originally equipped with.
Upkeep and Maintenance
The downfall of wood windows is the amount of upkeep required to keep it looking fresh and functional. Between painting, sanding, and staining, wood windows often need attention and maintenance at least once a year. Wood can retain moisture, causing them to swell or bubble, offsetting their ability to open and shut.
To some, the colors and look of wood windows are the most attractive feature, and many homeowners are willing to spend their time ensuring that the aesthetics of their wood windows is up to par with the rest of their home. This holds true for the rare instance of a historical home whose requirements and value rely on retaining the original wood windows.
But for the majority of homeowners, the idea of windows needing this much attention makes them cringe. Most homeowners want a window that simply gets the job done—another part of their home they don’t have to constantly worry about its performance every year. For this reason, vinyl has steadily become the material of choice in replacing windows.
Talk About Costs
Next, to energy efficiency, the cost of replacing a window is the driving component behind most homeowners’ decisions in which material to select. Wood windows run into some trouble in this area, as this material is one of the most expensive in the bunch.
Wood is simply more expensive to produce. Despite it being an eco-friendly construction material, wood has slowed in its demand for replacement windows because it is difficult to install, produce, and manufacture and these are the reasons that drive up the cost.
When replacing your wood windows, the sheer cost is enough to consider, and you might run into the issue of local window companies not even being able to offer wood installations.
Vinyl is popular because it filled the void left by wood as a material. In the 1970s, vinyl made its market debut, and since then, it’s become one of the most widely used materials, and not just for replacement windows, for everything in housing construction.
Vinyl is cheap and easily produced on a mass scale, making it much easier for window manufacturers and window installers to utilize.
Cost and availability go hand-in-hand when building materials are concerned. Because wood windows are challenging for manufacturers to produce, and time-consuming to install, the costs are considerably higher in comparison to that of other window materials, like vinyl.
Depending on where you live, your local window companies might slap on an extensive lead-time for your wood replacement windows, or not even offer wood replacement windows at all.
You’ll have better luck with a different window material if you’re in a hurry to beat the winter weather, or looking to quickly take advantage of deals and other savings. Vinyl is readily available and you could be enjoying your replacement windows in a matter of days.
Vinyl was the answer to wood’s difficult manufacturing process, and for this reason, it’s definitely stuck around.
Energy savings and efficiency is a big component in finding the right window. Here, wood has an advantage, being naturally good at energy retention, but considering the other factors, you’re going to be paying for it in both time and money.
This doesn’t mean that other window replacement materials like vinyl are poor at energy efficiency; in fact, it’s quite the opposite. A well-made vinyl replacement window can consist of several energy-saving features, and these windows are made to display exactly how well they can perform. It’s quite easy to find a vinyl replacement window with high energy efficiency performance, even with a strict budget.
Your budget for your replacement windows should factor in the window’s ability to save on energy. While you can go for a very cheap window, you could come to find out that the cheapest window won’t perform as well as those in the mid-range pricing.
Cost shouldn’t be discounted as a factor, but keep in mind that you do get what you pay for, and there are cheap windows out there that won’t last you as long as others.
This is a common mistake for those new to replacement windows, and if you end up going with the most frugal option, you might actually have to replace that window if it fails to withstand shifts in the temperature or simply doesn’t do well in terms of energy conservation.
Keep Your Options Open
What should you know when going to replace your wood windows? The answer is in everything you’ve learned so far. All of the features that make up a sturdy, energy efficient window should be weighed against the overall cost.
There are no rules saying that you must replace your windows with exactly the same type and style your home had before, and in fact, this could be a mistake in the end. You will be limiting yourself in your options if you choose this route.
The truth is, wood windows are excellent, but their overall expense in the installation and initial cost, as well as their limited availability, doesn’t make them the best choice in your window material.
You might be in awe of their aesthetics but consider the fact that they do require maintenance and upkeep. When looking for windows to replace your home’s old or original ones, it’s essential to consider all of the factors at once.
Now, you know that there is more than one reason behind vinyl’s popularity. It’s a material that is available because it allows for ease in the manufacturing process, and because of this, the overall costs of vinyl replacement windows can be negotiated to your benefit. Window companies are able to offer excellent deals on vinyl replacement windows and get away with charging low prices for the labor and actual installation.
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