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Replacement windows: Material choices for Milwaukee

Part 1: Wood windows

Double-Hung-Wood-Window_112309_111555If  you are shopping for replacement windows in Milwaukee, Waukesha, and surrounding areas, you are probably wondering what is the best window material available for our harsh climate. Great question first of all! The answer is unfortunately more complicated than just picking one, however we take great pride in breaking down the pros and cons of all choices available to homeowners so that you may find that choice that best meets the goals of your project. Factors when considering material for replacement windows: Performance, durability, longevity, maintenance, appearance, cost, and warranty coverage. Wood replacement windows: Wood is the classic material that is found as the original choice in most housing stock. The classic wood windows that may be found in older homes will typically have single pane glass and minimal weatherstripping, making them very inefficient, and great candidates for replacement windows. While today’s wood windows are much better in this regard, they are still found to be lacking in the area of performance with other synthetic choices.  While higher end lines like Marvin WINDOWS will offer various wood species to choose from, the vast majority of choices on the market are made of fast-growth pine. The difference between this material and those 90 year old units that last forever, is primarily in the density of the wood. Today’s windows have very porous wood that wicks out moisture like a sponge. This makes the finish quality and overall design of the product and how it protects the wood from moisture absolutely critical. We see newer wood windows last anywhere from 10 years (poor product, poor maintenance) to 30 years for a great product with vigilant maintenance schedules.

PROS: Unmatched richness in look and feel. Stainability. Required in some applications for historical properties, HOA, condo associations, etc. Extruded aluminum clad exteriors are optimal choice over vinyl or roll formed aluminum.

CONS: Need maintenance, lackluster performance (energy efficiency), cost (higher than other replacement windows), warranty (10 years is standard on wood and mechanicals).

See Part 2: Vinyl Windows