For years, wood has been a readily available window substrate, and the most common choice for homes. It’s advantages are it can either be painted a solid color or stained and sealed to show off the wood grain. Wood also is strong and easy to work with, is a natural insulator and complements many forms of traditional home architecture.
There are some significant downsides to a wood window, however, that have driven many builders and homeowners to switch to other frame materials. Wood frame exteriors require a lot of regular maintenance. Whether you seal, stain or paint them, regular maintenance to the exterior with frequent touch ups and occasional refurbishing, sanding and applying new coats is almost always required. Wood windows are also prone to rot, which can damage their integrity and make it difficult for them to hold paint. Nonetheless, a properly maintained wood window can last for years.
Some manufacturers of wood windows will offer cladding as an alternative to vinyl and fiberglass. However, some clad materials can conduct heat and cold while others offer limited color options and cannot be painted. And the wood beneath almost all cladding is susceptible to water damage that seeps behind the clad material and rots the wood.