Replacement Windows

Wood replacement windows.  Fancy.  The lap of luxury.  Better than vinyl replacement windows.  Great for the environment.  Not.

Wood Replacement Windows

When we were renovating our old 1913-era house, we naturally felt that we had to replace our lousy, weather-beaten, paint-chipped, perforated windows with wood replacement windows.

The Fallacy of Wood Replacement Windows

Here was our fantasy:  we would put in these wood replacement windows--Pella, by the way--and then we would clearcoat them to...well, to let the natural wood show through.  So we had Pella put in the wood windows.  They were nice.  And they sat there, month after month, in that bare wood state, as we applied ourselves to other, more-pressing home renovation projects like, oh, putting in a bathroom?  Walls for the kitchen?  Minor things like that.

As time went by, those bare wood windows slowly accumulated dust--plaster dust, sawdust, and God-knows-what-else.  We would leave a window open and it would rain on the bare wood, and soon we had stains on our nice bare wood.  Finally, when it came time to clearcoat those windows--a year or two later--I had to sand them down with three progressively finer grades of sandpaper.  Something which, I will add, I wouldn't have had to do if I'd clearcoated them right away.  Oh, and I had to clean them off with tack cloth.

What's the Point of Wood Replacement Windows?

In the end, we wished we'd just bought vinyl.  If you're going to paint the windows white, then there's not point in buying wood.  You're just going to try to duplicate the look of vinyl windows anyway.  Vinyl windows are way cheaper, too.  If you're do-it-yourself-inclined, it's feasible to buy vinyl replacements from your local Lowe's or Home Depot, whereas you'll never in a million years find do-it-yourself wood replacements.

If you've got a real high-end house--sure, go ahead.  But if you're got any other kind of house, vinyl's not gonna kill you.  What about the environment?  Balance a chemical factory spewing toxic waste into the air for vinyl windows versus clearcutting loggers chopping down trees for your precious wood windows...well, you make the call.  

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