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Windows are an essential component of any structure, be it a residential or commercial building. They not only add to the aesthetic appeal of the building but also offer functionality, like allowing natural light and air to enter the space. When choosing windows, one of the key decisions that homeowners or architects need to make is whether to go for wood or wood-clad windows. While both of these window types share certain similarities, they differ in many aspects, including durability, maintenance, and cost. In this article, we will explore the differences between wood and wood-clad windows.

Wood Windows

Wood windows are made entirely of wood, including the frame and sash. They are the traditional choice for homeowners, and their popularity is driven by their classic and timeless look. Wood windows can be made from various types of wood, including pine, oak, maple, and mahogany, and are available in different sizes, shapes, and styles.

One of the most significant advantages of wood windows is their strength and durability. They are sturdy and can withstand harsh weather conditions, making them ideal for homeowners living in areas that experience harsh winters or frequent storms. Additionally, wood windows offer excellent insulation, which means they can help save energy and reduce utility bills.

However, one of the drawbacks of wood windows is that they require regular maintenance. Wood is prone to rot, mold, and insect infestation, so homeowners need to paint or stain their wood windows periodically and apply sealants to prevent water damage and prevent pest infestation. Maintenance costs can add up, and if not adequately maintained, the windows' efficiency may be compromised, leading to heat loss and drafts.

Wood-Clad Windows

Wood-clad windows are windows with an outer layer of wood or a wood alternative and a core made of a different material, usually vinyl, aluminum, or fiberglass. The material used for the outer layer is designed to mimic the look of wood, allowing homeowners to enjoy the benefits of the wood windows without the drawbacks.

One of the main advantages of wood-clad windows is their low maintenance requirements. The outer layer is designed to be waterproof, which means it does not require painting or staining. Additionally, since the core is made of a different material, it is not prone to rotting, insect infestation, or other problems associated with wood.

Another significant advantage of wood-clad windows is their energy efficiency. They offer excellent insulation, and their energy efficiency can be improved further by choosing the right glass options and adding features like argon gas and low-emissivity coatings.

However, wood-clad windows are generally more expensive than their wood counterparts. The cost of the materials and installation is higher, but homeowners will save on the maintenance costs in the long run. Additionally, some homeowners may have concerns about the environmental impact of using these windows since their outer layer is not entirely made of wood.


In conclusion, the choice between wood and wood-clad windows depends on several factors, such as the homeowner's preferences, budget, and location. Wood windows offer a classic and timeless look, but they require regular maintenance, while wood-clad windows offer low maintenance costs, improved energy efficiency, and an option for the wood look. Ultimately, homeowners need to consult a professional window installer and choose the window type that best suits their needs.