It's time to replace the ancient, drafty wood-framed windows on your old house and upgrade your home's aesthetics both inside and out. Now you must decide whether to choose wood again or to replace the frames with aluminum or vinyl. Vinyl has distinct advantages that have made it an increasingly popular choice for windows in the residential setting.

A Brief History

Vinyl window frames were introduced to the consumer market in the 1970s. They provided a more affordable choice than wood. However, these home improvement products were originally only available in white, which not everyone wanted for their homes. Also, homeowners typically thought the frames looked cheap and not as attractive as wood.

Manufacturers have made considerable improvements over the years to the polyvinyl chloride plastic, or PVC, that the frames are made of. The windows now have a very appealing aesthetic quality. Vinyl can be manufactured to look just like wood. Numerous colors are available now, although white remains a frequent selection. It adds a bright, clean look to the home's exterior. Tan and beige also are popular colors for these frames.

Advantages of Vinyl

Vinyl frames may cost only half as much as wood for the same size. Along with their lower cost, these frames offer other advantages that make the products a smart choice.

Vinyl is more energy-efficient on average than wood. It takes less time to recoup the cost of window replacement through energy savings connected with heating and cooling. Since the material is less expensive than wood in the first place, this advantage is another way to save money.

Maintaining the windows is less time-consuming than caring for wood because vinyl never needs staining or painting. It is not vulnerable to rotting from continued exposure to the elements. Wood can begin to deteriorate within just a few years. That's especially true for parts of the house that are in shade most of the time so sunshine does not quickly dry the wood after it rains. You may want to wipe off the exterior frames with a wet sponge occasionally or just spray them with a garden hose when dirt becomes noticeable. In addition, insects and rodents do not chew on this material like they do with wood. 

Making Decisions

For these reasons, having new vinyl windows installed to replace old wood ones is a smart choice. You can order the same styles that are already in your home or make a change. A bow or bay design might replace a picture window, for example. Once you know the styles and colors you want, it's time to call a window replacement contractor.