Vinyl Windows vs Composite: A Side-by-Side Comparison

vinyl windows vs composite

Last Updated on October 2, 2023

Are you in the market for new windows? Or are you replacing your old windows and trying to decide what type of window to get?

If so, then I am sure you have probably come across the terms “vinyl windows” and “composite windows.” But what are they? And how do they compare to one another?

Vinyl windows are made out of PVC or polyvinyl chloride. They became popular in the 1970s, and today they are one of the most popular types of windows on the market.

Composite windows, on the other hand, are made out of a combination of materials, including wood fibers, PVC, and resin. They both have their strengths and weaknesses.

Vinyl Windows Vs Composite: Which One is Better?

Vinyl and composite windows are both popular choices for homeowners seeking energy efficiency and durability. Vinyl windows are cost-effective, low maintenance, and come in various styles. Composite windows offer strength, resistance to decay, and a natural appearance. Both options have their advantages, but the right choice depends on your budget, aesthetic preferences, and desired longevity.

Vinyl windows are more affordable, making them a popular choice for cost-conscious homeowners. However, they may not be as durable in extreme weather and can also be more difficult to repair or replace if damaged.

Composite windows, on the other hand, are structurally stronger and more durable, as well as energy efficient and easier to maintain. They also tend to have a longer lifespan and higher resale value. But, they often come with a higher price tag upfront.

It’s important to note that both types come in various styles and colors, allowing you to find the perfect fit for your home’s aesthetic. In the end, it’s about finding the balance between cost and quality that works for you and your needs.

Do your research, read reviews, and carefully weigh your options before making a final decision. Read on for a more detailed comparison of vinyl windows vs composite, and consider your available choices wisely, as that will affect the look and function of your home.

What are Vinyl Windows?

What are Vinyl Windows?

Vinyl windows are a popular choice for both residential and commercial buildings thanks to their cost-effectiveness and energy efficiency. These windows are made from polyvinyl chloride (PVC), a durable plastic capable of withstanding harsh weather conditions without tearing, cracking, or warping.

They provide excellent insulation, require little maintenance, and their sleek appearance and customizable design options make them an attractive option for any building.

Types of Vinyl Windows

There are three main types of vinyl windows:

  • Double hung,
  • Casement, and
  • Slider.

Double-hung windows have two sashes that move vertically on either frame. Casement windows open outwards like a door with hinges at the top corners of the window frame. Sliders open horizontally from left to right like a sliding glass door.

Styles are available to suit any home’s architecture, including:

  • Bay
  • Awning
  • Picture
  • Geometric
  • Arched, and more.

What are Composite Windows?

What are Composite Windows?

When it comes to window replacements, composite windows are quickly becoming a popular choice. Composite windows are made from vinyl, wood fibers, and fiberglass. They offer lasting strength and resistance to warping and cracking.

Composite wood windows provide the best combination of durability and beauty for your home. Also, they have higher insulation values, helping to lower energy bills in the long run.

Types of Composite Windows

There are two main types of composite windows:

  • Single hung
  • Double hung

Residents looking for a modern twist on traditional window styles may want to consider choosing composite windows in a double-hung or single-hung design. Single-hung windows have a stationary upper sash and a lower sash that moves up and down. Double-hung windows have two movable sashes that slide up and down independently of each other.

For those seeking even more options, composite windows can also come with operating archtops or half-round shapes. With composite materials providing increased durability and energy efficiency, these popular window styles offer a contemporary upgrade to any home.

Also, some composite window designs feature multiple units in one frame, such as twin or triple sets, offering a unique touch to any living space.

Pros and Cons of Vinyl Windows


  • Inexpensive
  • Low maintenance
  • Customizable design options
  • Resistant to extreme weather conditions
  • Energy efficient


  • May not be as durable as composite windows in extreme weather conditions
  • Can not be painted

Pros and Cons of Composite Windows


  • More durable than vinyl windows in extreme weather conditions
  • Wider range of design options
  • Energy efficient
  • Provide excellent insulation
  • Can be painted or stained


  • More expensive than vinyl windows
  • May require more maintenance than vinyl windows

The Vinyl Windows vs Composite Debate

Trying to decide between vinyl and composite materials can be overwhelming, but there are a few things to keep in mind when making your decision.


Firstly, both vinyl and composite offer great energy efficiency and excellent insulation properties, keeping your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. However, composite takes the lead when it comes to durability and longevity. It can withstand extreme weather conditions without warping or fading, whereas vinyl may crack, warp or discolor over time. They also tend to have better soundproofing capabilities.

Insulation Property

While vinyl windows may seem like an affordable and popular option, it’s important to note that they often can’t compete with the superior insulation offered by composite materials. Composite windows are constructed with a thicker frame, allowing for better insulation against outside temperature fluctuations.

In addition to improved energy efficiency, composite windows also offer greater durability and strength, protecting against impacts and extreme weather conditions. Not only will this upgrade make your home more comfortable throughout the year, but it can also lead to considerable savings on your energy bills.

Energy Efficiency

In terms of overall energy efficiency, composite windows outperform vinyl in many cases. This is partly because composite materials offer better insulation and more options for glass coatings and gas fills.

Also, composite windows can often accommodate features like triple-pane glass and advanced locking systems, further enhancing energy efficiency and security.

So while composite windows may require a bit more time and effort during installation, the long-term benefits make them a worthwhile investment for many homeowners.

Appearance and Versatility

In terms of appearance, composite windows come in a variety of colors and finishes that can be customized to match your home’s unique style. Vinyl windows are less versatile, limited to white and light-colored finishes.

Composite windows can also be painted or stained to give them a natural wood look. On the other hand, vinyl windows cannot be painted.

In terms of design, composite windows are more versatile than vinyl. You can find composite windows in a variety of styles, such as single-hung, double-hung, casement, and more.

Design Options

Vinyl windows are available in a few popular styles, such as single-hung and double-hung. However, they are less widely available in other styles, such as casement or awning.

Composite windows, on the other hand, come in a wide range of styles, so you’re sure to find the perfect windows for your home, no matter what your style preferences are.

Compatibility and Installation

Both composite and vinyl windows are structurally compatible with most homes and can be easily installed. However, there are some differences to consider.

Composite windows tend to be heavier, so they may require more labor during installation. In terms of glass, vinyl windows typically use thinner glass which could make them more vulnerable to breaking.


When it comes to choosing new windows for your home, the cost is undoubtedly a major factor. While vinyl windows typically offer the most affordable option, composite materials may cost more.

However, it’s also important to consider composite windows’ long-term benefits. Not only do they tend to be more durable and energy efficient, but they also offer greater curb appeal, which could add to the resale value of your home.

So while composite windows may have a higher initial cost, they often prove to be a worthwhile investment in the long run.

Ultimately, the best choice will depend on your specific needs and budget. Do some research, weigh your options, and make an informed decision that will benefit your home for a long time.

Modern Advancements in Window Technology

Modern Advancements in Window Technology

When it comes to windows, the times they are a-changin’. Homeowners no longer have to settle for low-quality vinyl options that fade and crack over time.

A modern approach to window technology has made it possible for durable vinyl windows to withstand extreme temperatures and come in a variety of stylish finishes. Not only do these new vinyl options look great, but they are also energy-efficient and make for a cost-effective replacement solution.

So if you’re considering replacing your windows, wait to write off vinyl. The latest advancements have made it a more viable option than ever before.

Look for options with additives that guard against these potential issues and ensure a longer lifespan for your windows. Also, pay attention to the structure of the window frames.

Strong welded corners and multiple internal chambers provide not only a solid foundation but also improved insulation properties. Investing in high-quality vinyl windows can greatly enhance the appearance and performance of your home. 

How to Choose the Right Window Company?

It’s important to consider the many factors that will affect your windows’ function, style, and price. But with all the options on the market today, how do you know where to start?

Here are a few questions you should ask yourself before beginning your search for the perfect window:

  • What is my budget?
  • What is the climate like where I live?
  • What style are my home’s exterior and interior?
  • What are my window priorities (e.g., energy efficiency, security, noise reduction)?
  • How important is it to me that my windows match my home’s style?
  • Do I need any special features or options (e.g., easy-to-clean, tinted glass)?
  • What is the warranty?
  • How long will the windows last?
  • Are the windows ENERGY STAR certified?
  • What is the company’s reputation like?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you’ll have a better idea of what to look for in a window company. Here are a few tips on choosing the right window company for your needs:

  • Get recommendations from friends, family, or your local home improvement store.
  • Do some research online and read customer reviews.
  • Ensure the company you’re considering is licensed and insured.
  • Ask for a quote and compare prices.
  • Make sure the company offers a warranty on its products.

Final Thoughts

As you’re shopping for new windows, it all comes down to your priority: do you value style and customization or affordability? Both composite and vinyl windows have advantages, so consider what’s most important to you before deciding.

That being said, recent advancements in window technology make it possible for both materials to offer excellent energy efficiency and aesthetic appeal. So whether you opt for composite durability or vinyl’s cost-effectiveness, choose a window that fits your needs and budget.

It’s time to turn your house into the dream home you’ve always wanted. Upgrade to vinyl or composite windows today.

Vinyl Windows vs Composite: A Side-by-Side Comparison

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