Wood Windows FAQ: Most Common Questions About Wood Windows

Wood Windows FAQ: Most Common Questions About Wood Windows

When you look at your home, the various parts such as windows and doors don't seem that complicated. However, when investing in updating your home, everything from choosing new appliances to choosing new windows and doors becomes more complicated.

If you're in the market for new wood windows for your home, we're here to help. We have answers for all of your most common questions so you'll be prepared for your window buying journey.

13 Most common questions about wood windows

Click the links below to skip ahead:

  1. How do I know when my wood windows need to be replaced?
  2. How much do wood windows cost?
  3. Can you still buy wood windows?
  4. Are wood windows better than vinyl?
  5. How long do wood windows last?
  6. What’s the best wood for window frames?
  7. Does Andersen make wood windows?
  8. How to paint wood windows?
  9. How to remove mold from wood window sills?
  10. Are wood windows bad?
  11. How do you maintain wood windows?
  12. Should I replace my wood windows with vinyl?
  13. How to install vinyl replacement windows in a wood frame?

+ Wood Window Manufacturers
+ Pros and Cons of Wood Windows

1. How do I know when my wood windows need to be replaced?

There are plenty of indicators that warn you your wood windows will likely need to be replaced soon. Some of these you can watch for in your home include:

  • Warped window frames and sashes
  • Cracks or rot in the wood components of the window
  • Increasing energy costs
  • Moisture build-up between panes
  • Drafts near windows
  • Increased outside noise
  • If you still have single-pane windows

2. How much do wood windows cost?

Wood windows are one of the more expensive options when it comes to cost and installation. The price for a wood window runs between $400 and $2,000. The price depends on size, quality, customizations, and brand recognition. The cost of installation for your new wood windows is not included in the price of the window. 

3. Can you still buy wood windows?

Yes. Wood, vinyl and fiberglass windows are some of the most common materials you can buy in window frames. Many window companies sell cladded wood windows which are windows with wood interiors and exteriors covered with an additional material like vinyl, fiberglass, or aluminum. Solid wood windows or all wood windows are also available, we usually recommend Sierra Pacific windows for our all wood window clients.

4. Are wood windows better than vinyl?

There are pros and cons to both of these options. Vinyl windows win out when it comes to a more cost-effective solution and one that is more low-maintenance. However, if you want to change the color of the windows consistently, wooden windows are more convenient. Wood windows typically have more decorative profiles and have a distinguished look even when the wood grains are covered by paint. If energy-efficiency is a concern both wood and vinyl windows have good thermal performance.

5. How long do wood windows last?

Wood windows tend to have a much shorter lifespan than vinyl or fiberglass since they are subject to rot. Wood windows last an average of 15 to 20 years. The better you maintain them the longer they will last. In fact some homeowners have been able to maintain century old windows by investing in maintenance and restoration efforts.

6. What’s the best wood for window frames?

Hardwoods like mahogany and walnut are best for the aesthetic appeal and longevity of the window. However, softwoods like cedar and pine grow faster and are more sustainable choices. In addition, since they are more readily available, these materials can sometimes be cheaper. The standard wood choice for most companies that offer wood windows or doors is pine, if a different wood species is better suited for your area ask the dealer or retailer about additional options.

7. Does Andersen make wood windows?

Yes. Andersen does sell wood windows. In fact, they have multiple series of wooden windows since they are so aesthetically pleasing and yet still energy efficient. Their series that feature wood includes their 200 Series, 400 Series, A-Series and E-Series. Keep in mind Andersen's wood window options are all cladded wood. The 200 and 400 Series windows have vinyl cladding, the A-Series is a fiberglass and Fibrex cladding, and the E-Series has aluminum cladding. 

Learn more about Andersen wood window options

8. How to paint wood windows?

If you want to change the paint on your windows, you should use an oil-based primer and paint to make them more water-resistant and protect them from rot. Since they will be facing harsh weather at some point, it is best to use high-quality paint and apply at least two coats on each sash. You shouldn't paint the inside part of the sash where it touches the window. 

Painting windows covered by a warranty? Refer to the warranty or manufacturer to verify if painting or staining your windows will void the warranty. Some manufacturers provide instructions in their technical document library on how to best paint or stain windows.

9. How to remove mold from wood window sills?

If you see mold growing around your wood window sills, you should take care of it right away. To get rid of it, mix hot water and some dish soap. Use a sponge and rub it back and forth along the area. Wring the sponge out so that you don't soak the window frame during the process. The heat, along with the soap, will loosen the mold. If it doesn't, you might need to use a hard-bristled brush and scraper. 

Once you have gotten most of the mold up, use a solution of bleach water to clean it and kill any remaining mold spores. Mix 1/2 cup of bleach into a gallon of water and another sponge to wash the area. Make sure that you wear gloves and dry the area thoroughly afterward.

If it is left too long, mold can induce wood rot around the edges of your window. Mold on your wooden window sill can also indicate wood rot underneath. While you are cleaning it away, push into it to ensure that the frame underneath is still hardwood and hasn't gone soft with rot. If it has, then you need to replace your windows before the rot and mold spread.

Learn More: Should I repair or replace my windows?

10. Are wood windows bad?

There are definitely drawbacks to wood windows, but they aren't a bad investment so long as you are committed to their upkeep. Materials like aluminum, vinyl or fiberglass might be less maintenance, but they also aren't as customizable as wood windows.

11. How do you maintain wood windows?

Dust them somewhat regularly and clean them with water afterward (do not let water pool or soak the wood). Each time you do this, check for any damage. If you see evidence of cracks or peeling in the paint, repair them soon after. If left, they can allow mold growth and rotting to start around the frame. Clean the glass during this process as well. Finally, once a year to every three years, treat the wood or repaint using protective outdoor paint. Refer to the manufacturer for recommended instructions.

12. Should I replace my wood windows with vinyl?

That is subjective to your priorities. If you want a lower-maintenance option and need it to be as cost-effective as possible, vinyl is likely a better option. However, if you value the aesthetic of your windows, wood is arguably more pleasing. 

13. How to install vinyl replacement windows in a wood frame?

If you're asking this, you're likely working with an insert replacement window. Insert windows are essentially sash replacements. They can help keep window replacement costs down by using the existing window's frame if and when the window frame is in good condition. We won't provide step-by-step instructions here but to install your vinyl insert window in a wood frame you need to start by removing the existing sashes. After the existing sashes are removed clean up the frame to make sure the insert window is pocketed smoothly. Insert your new window into the opening and secure it to the frame. Insert windows have many cost saving benefits but they also leave you with a smaller glass surface compared to what the original window likely had. Full replacement windows offer more glass but require removing the original frame and installing the window in the rough opening. 

Learn More: Insert Windows vs Full-Frame Replacement Windows↗

Wood Window Manufacturers

Andersen

Andersen sells both wooden windows and doors. High-quality wood products have been one of their core products for more than 100 years. They chose wood because of its renewability, strength and rigidity, and its high thermal performance as a natural material. 

Marvin

Marvin features wood window frames in many of their lines of windows. They offer options to have entirely wood frames or lower the window's maintenance by fitting aluminum cladding on the exterior and using wood for the interior. Their main lines that carry wood options include Ultimate and Elevate.

Sierra Pacific

Sierra Pacific offers wood windows in almost all of their window styles. They use wood for the interior of the window and the more durable aluminum cladding for the window's exterior. They also offer many options for colors and stains.

Pros and Cons of Wood Windows

Pros:
  • High thermal performance
  • Highly aesthetically pleasing
  • Insulating
  • Can frequently change colors or shades
Cons:
  • One of the most expensive window frame options
  • High-maintenance
  • Shorter longevity and subject to rot

Low-maintenance options like vinyl windows currently dominate the window industry, however, there is yet to be any other material that is quite as aesthetically pleasing as wood. Have more questions? Check our our related resources below. but have further questions or want more guidance on manufacturers in your area, talk to window and door experts at Brennan Corp.

Oops!

Based on your zip code, we do not currently service your area. Please subscribe to receive helpful info on home improvements.

Thanks
     -Bobby

Success! You're now a First Fridays Insider!

Back To Top