Choosing a window

In one of our articles we’ve already discussed window labels and various parameters to consider when choosing windows for your house. The main indicators are visible transmittance, solar heat gain coefficient and U-value. These are all related to the characteristics of the glass pane, but glass is not the only element in a window. Another important part that will make a huge difference both for the look and the performance of your future windows is the window sash. Let’s discuss the most common materials used for the sashes, and their pros and cons.

Wood and vinyl have for a long time led the market of residential windows, with wood, of course, having a far longer history. There are also aluminum, fiberglass and composite windows, but we’ll dedicate this article to the two current leaders.


Both wood and vinyl are excellent insulating materials, which makes them both a very reasonable choice.


Wood windows are far more susceptible to wear and tear, even with all the high-tech modern treatments and technologies utilized. Thus, wood requires more thorough maintenance than high-quality vinyl, which is virtually maintenance-free. If you do not plan to give maintenance much thought and are unlikely to paint, seal and sand your wooden frames on a regular basis – vinyl is for you.

Aesthetic appeal

We believe that wood wins hands down on this point, but it’s a matter of your personal taste. Wood does have the timeless classic look, but vinyl may be a good fit in a more modern interior.


There’s a choice of quality range in all materials, and it’s pointless to compare high-end wood windows to the cheap vinyl variety. Wood is generally less durable, but a well-made window will last for decades with proper maintenance, which is proven beyond reasonable doubt by the windows in pre-1950 houses that are still in place in many American homes, and are functioning very well. Another factor to consider is that it’s feasible to repair wood windows – rotten window repair is always an option, as is window sash restoration. For a fraction of the cost of window replacement, your wood windows may be restored to a top-notch state.