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Wondering whether vinyl woodgrain windows or real wood windows make more sense for your home’s new replacement windows? Wood has been a staple of windows for centuries, and it may seem like the “premium” choice — especially looking at the price tag — but there are many reasons customers should consider woodgrain vinyl windows as an alternative to wood.

Woodgrain Windows vs. Wood Windows

We’ll look at each key point of comparison, starting with how long they last:


Small, newly installed window.Assuming good quality and proper upkeep for both, you can expect vinyl windows to last at least twice as long as wood windows. Wood can need replacing as early as a decade after installation, while vinyl should last two decades at worst — around the time that even the longest-lasting wood windows will be showing their age.


Vinyl can be pressure-washed from time to time, which will be the full extent of maintenance for most of its service life. You might need some attention to the finish. Wood, on the other hand, is infamously hard to keep in good condition, requiring frequent sealing.

Material-Specific issues

Low-grade vinyl with inappropriate finishes for long-term use is prone to fading colors, which results in your beautiful wood grain becoming dull and plasticky over time. Invest in good-quality vinyl with good finishes to avoid this.

Wood has several problems unique to it as a material: rot from dampness, pest infestation, and the heightened need for maintenance. Regular upkeep can alleviate these problems, though they’ll still be a risk.


Good wood windows and good vinyl woodgrain windows are both quite durable, though in different ways. The kind of heavy impact which would destroy one will likely destroy the other, but wood ultimately has the benefit here.

An impact that might destroy a vinyl frame might result in an unsightly dent or crack without resulting in the total failure of a wood frame.

Woodgrain double-hung windows in a dining room


Thermal Properties

When comparing wood to woodgrain vinyl, even cheap vinyl frequently outperforms wood. This is because wood windows expand and contract substantially with moisture, temperature, and other environmental factors, which means fitting must allow wiggle room for them to stay operable — and wiggle room and those size changes mean much looser seals.


You would expect wood to shine here, but it’s more of a toss-up. Even if you desire genuine wood and can accept no substitute, you still might find certain woodgrain designs surprisingly beautiful. Good woodgrain vinyl window patterns with a proper finish will be all but indistinguishable from wood.

You’ll also find it easier to get an exact aesthetic in terms of color or grain pattern with woodgrain vinyl, and if you’re going for a painted look, you’ll find you can get the desired aesthetic with a lot less upkeep (though you can still paint vinyl if you prefer).


At a given level of customization and quality, you should expect to pay substantially more for wood windows than woodgrain vinyl windows. You can have exceptional vinyl windows for the cost of good wood windows, and you’ll be replacing those wood windows sooner and spending more to maintain them while you have them.

Making Your Choice

Woodgrain casement windows with gridsWhile your decision will come down to your own preferences, from an investment standpoint, it’s hard to argue in favor of wood against modern vinyl woodgrain windows.

In nearly every functional or utilitarian metric, wood falls far behind — and in aesthetics, it can be harder to get a match for your target color and grain pattern with real wood. Vinyl woodgrain looks great, works great, and will last for decades with a fraction of the maintenance needs.

Contact Zen Windows North Carolina today to learn more about vinyl woodgrain replacement windows in North Carolina.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do woodgrain vinyl windows look cheap?

Cheap vinyl windows will look cheap regardless of anything else, but high-quality vinyl windows with high-quality woodgrain designs will look nearly indistinguishable from wood windows. Someone who knows the difference will know from a close distance.

Without regular maintenance, wood windows will end up looking substantially worse than their woodgrain alternatives.

Can woodgrain vinyl windows match older homes?

As long as you’re taking the aesthetics of your home into account as you choose texture, color, and design, woodgrain vinyl windows can match nearly any home aesthetic — including the styles and materials of very old homes.