Change is a part of owning a home. As a homeowner, you are constantly keeping up with updates and repairs. The good news is that choosing wisely with updates can help you to squeeze as much longevity as possible from every dollar you spend. What’s more, you may fall in love with your home all over again when you see the difference that some aesthetic changes can make. Of course, being satisfied with home updates all comes down to having the information needed to make the right choices. Good information may be precisely what you’re looking for right now if you’re in the process of updating your windows. A window update is one of the most important Philadelphia home improvements because of the chilly weather experienced in Pennsylvania. You want resilient materials, good for insulation and capable of offering four-season performance.
The one thing that you don’t want to do is brush off window replacements. This is especially true if you have an older Philadelphia home. This puts you in a position to deal with windows with cracks, broken parts, or gaps between the window and frame. While it may feel like you’re cheating time by putting off a replacement, the truth is that money is truly flying right out the window each month in the form of higher heating and cooling bills. Moreover, you may open your home to condensation, mold issues, and critter infestations. This brings us to the question of choosing suitable materials for window upgrades in Philadelphia. The two most common choices today are vinyl and wood. Both offer advantages. Both can leave something to be desired under certain circumstances. It’s important to always weigh short-term costs against the long-term costs associated with maintenance, durability, and longevity. Here’s the insider breakdown on choosing between vinyl and wood for a window replacement from a local Philadelphia home remodeling company.
What You Need to Know About Replacing Your Windows Using Vinyl
Have you ever shopped for a car? Choosing between vinyl and wood for windows is similar. When purchasing a car, most of us know that selecting a model with a reputation for low maintenance and high reliability will save money in the long run because we won’t constantly be pouring money into repairs. That perspective allows you to calculate the true lifetime cost of car ownership instead of just focusing on sticker prices. The same is true with vinyl. Let’s talk about why.
Vinyl is generally a little more expensive than wood. However, homeowners can’t let a sticker-to-sticker comparison have the final say when comparing the cost of vinyl and wood. That’s because vinyl is a little bit like the car with the higher rating for reliability. Vinyl offers a long-term cost benefit over wood due to its high durability factor.
First, vinyl simply endures everything from weather to wear and tear much better than a material like wood. Vinyl requires very little maintenance. It can generally be “wiped down” when it needs to be cleaned. By contrast, wood often needs to be repainted or refinished every few years in order to maintain a pristine look.
Wood can also be tricky when it comes to getting through the seasons unharmed. Philadelphia famously experiences four seasons. That means that your home experiences everything from the chilliest of winters to the hottest of summers. Unfortunately, wood swells when it comes into contact with moisture. This swelling can make opening and closing windows on certain days difficult. In addition, wood’s brittle nature means that it’s always possible for a piece of the window to break off. Any breakage within the window structure can drastically reduce your home’s insulation level until the issue is fixed.
Shopping for vinyl windows is exciting because vinyl comes in many different shapes, sizes, and styles. Vinyl windows also offer the perk of being able to tilt on both the lower sash and upper sash. This makes cleaning windows a breeze for homeowners! The difficulty of cleaning many other types of windows is what causes many homeowners to allow their windows to become dusty, foggy, and moldy.
Vinyl doesn’t just offer ease and beauty. It also has great insulation properties. That means that you’re passively saving on energy costs. In addition, vinyl windows come with options for protective coatings that prevent harmful ultraviolet rays from seeping in to fade curtains, carpets, and furniture.
Is vinyl perfect? The truth is that vinyl isn’t always the best option for every home. For example, many Philadelphia homeowners are interested in preserving originality and authenticity in their historic homes using wood. The good news is that you don’t have to be stuck with vinyl if it’s not what you truly want. The only way to decide if vinyl is right for your home is to have your windows assessed by an esteemed Philadelphia home remodeling company specializing in vinyl and wood window replacements. Next, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of choosing wood replacement windows.
What You Need to Know About Replacing Your Windows Using Wood
Some people simply won’t settle for anything other than the warm, traditional look of wood windows. While vinyl is great for modernizing an older home, wood is the winner when the goal is to maintain the historic look of a home. The uniform look of vinyl is a complete change from the unique, individualized look of natural wood. Wood also allows you to apply a custom finish that matches other wood touches in a home.
Wood provides good insulation when it is installed by trained experts. Wood is also a winner when it comes to blocking out sounds. That’s something to consider if you live on a busy Philadelphia street with lots of road noise. In addition, wood can provide longevity when it is carefully maintained. It’s also important for homeowners to understand the extra commitment that is being taken on when wood is chosen for window replacements.
Wood must always be painted or finished. Wood that is left “natural” will eventually begin to rot, warp, and deteriorate. It will age rapidly. Of course, homeowners seeking the natural wood look can choose natural-looking stains that allow the organic grain of wood to show through. It’s simply important to be aware of the extra time and talent required to complete the final step of painting wood when making a decision about the material you want for your windows.
Wood can leave a home more vulnerable to insects compared to other options. Insects are highly attracted to wood. By contrast, they mostly ignore vinyl. While Philadelphia may not have the exotic insects of rural areas, homeowners still need to be aware of the risks posed by common city pests. Termites pose the biggest risk to wood windows. A window that isn’t impeccably treated and sealed can become an elaborate feast for termites. It can also become an entry point that allows termites to eat away at the entire infrastructure of a home. The good news is that skilled window installers will be able to advise you on finishes that deter termites. For example, water-repellent paint can help to keep away the moisture that often attracts termites to wood surfaces.
Finally, homeowners shouldn’t assume that wood is always the bargain option. There’s really no easy way to provide a cost comparison between vinyl and wood. While some high-end vinyl windows are more expensive than some wood windows, many wood options are more expensive than standard vinyl options. The only clear answer is that lifetime ownership of wood windows is generally more expensive than lifetime ownership of vinyl windows simply due to the fact that wood windows require ongoing care and maintenance.
Choosing Between Vinyl and Wood Windows
Vinyl is the modern option that provides efficiency and ease. The elegant look of today’s vinyl styles makes it easy to create a high-end, high-quality look that doesn’t scream that you’ve chosen a synthetic option. Wood is the timeless, ultra-custom option that can help to preserve the original beauty of a home for those who are willing to put in the time and dedication needed to keep windows clean, functioning, and preserved.
There’s no wrong choice when it comes to new windows. Every homeowner must consider all of the factors to determine which option ultimately enhances their home. Luckily, Philadelphia homeowners looking for window replacements don’t have to make the decision alone. American Home Concepts is the trusted name for window replacement services in Philadelphia. Offering more than 55 years of combined experience, our team can offer a custom assessment of your home’s windows to help you find the perfect option based on your budget, aesthetic goals, and desire for convenience. In addition to being Philadelphia’s window experts, American Home Concepts is also a leader in full-scale home renovation services that include kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, door installation, siding installation, roof installation, and roof repairs. Contact us today to discuss your options for new windows by calling 610-667-7775.