Nothing. Everything. Depends who you ask.
Vinyl windows have been created as an inexpensive alternative to wood windows. Replacing drafty, tired-looking wood windows with new wood windows can be expensive. (Replacing them with vinyl ones can be expensive… )
The advantages of new windows, vinyl or wood, are obvious.
The question is, can you get the same advantages, or almost, without spending all that money? http://smartwebsiteideas.com/
I own a company that replaces and repairs windows and siding. Replacing makes me more money. And even I have to say, there are lots of drafty, tired-looking windows out there that only need repairing. Yet people replace them.
If yours is a historic house or building, your original wood windows are more important to the look and feel of the house. But even when dealing with non-historic houses and buildings, replacement is not always the best solution.
Often people replace windows if they stick or rattle, sash cords break, and other such reasons that interfere with the normal operation of a window. But these problems… it’s usually cost-effective to fix them.
Wood is soft, there’s rot, water seeps through, that’s window-replacement level.
Here are a few extra reasons to repair your wooden windows or, if you must replace them, replace them with wood not vinyl ones:
1. It is true that vinyl ones do not require painting (though they can be painted). But they’re not as rigid as wood. That means that heat expands them more than it does wood ones, cold shrinks them more than it does wood ones. About two times more in both cases. Vinyl window frames expand more than glass. And that leads to breaking the seal between the frame and the glass.
And vinyl windows can’t be repaired, like old wood windows.
2. Vinyl windows don’t last as long as wood. Which is a boon for manufacturers and people like me. But not, necessarily, for homeowners. Yes, they often come with lifetime warranties. But not all lifetime warranties were created equal.
3. Replacement vinyl windows and new construction vinyl windows alike have double or triple glazed sash… That’s two or three glass panes. That’s a lot of insulation. The spacers of these windows are filled with desiccant (silicone or other such material). The fact that you have moisture-absorbing materials tells you that the seal on these windows doesn’t stop all moisture.
But desiccants can absorb only so much moisture, then they’re filled. And you have a permanently cloudy window thereafter.
It seems logical that most heat loss would happen through the glass, logical that two or three panes are better than one. But studies show that heat loss through glass is not all that much… (Sashes are responsible for most window heat-loss.) According to one study I read, it takes 65 years to recoup the cost of replacing a single-pane window with a double-pane window that are due to the reduction of heat loss through the glass part of a window. Vinyl windows are expected to last (under optimal circumstances) 25 years.