Compare Vinyl And Composite Windows


Compare Vinyl And Composite Windows

Considering vinyl and composite windows for your replacement project? Read our comparison series where we match up top window frames in terms of durability and strength, looks and style, ratings and energy efficiency, and pricing and overall value.

Durability And Strength

When it comes to durability and strength, there is not much difference between these two frame types - at least in a general sense. There will be a big difference between cheaply made vinyl windows and premium extrusions with sash reinforcements. There is less material differences for composites, but a good mid range Simonton window will be very close to a mid range composite. Composite windows probably get a slight nod in the durability category, although a premium vinyl window from a top end manufacturer will probably outlast a top composite.

Looks And Style

When it comes to looks and style, composite windows probably get another slight nod over vinyl. Vinyl windows are not known for their aesthetic qualities, not to say they are bad looking. They simply don't stand out like a wood window, although no other window frame material can touch a pretty wood in terms of looks. Composite windows can be made to look very nice, although it is certainly true that some lower end composites are not particularly good looking. Some composite window manufacturers have done a good job using color processes and finishes to add a nice fleet or looks and options that many homeowners like.

Ratings And Energy Efficiency

When it comes to ratings and energy efficiency, vinyl windows will probably beat out comparable composite windows. The composite manufacturers would probably take issue with this, but many contractors would prefer the performance numbers of a well made vinyl window over the composite equivalent. What is also true is that a cheap vinyl window will have mediocre energy efficiency at best and will only get worse with time.

Pricing And Overall Value

When it comes to pricing and overall value, composite windows will definitely be more expensive than vinyl windows. The typical price range for vinyl windows with installation is $200 to $750, while composite windows with installation is $300 to $1,100 - a pretty big difference if you are replacing 25 windows. The average cost of a vinyl window is $425 completely installed, while a composite is $550 completely installed - this is a roughly 33% price difference. For overall value, this will be more a function of the specific brand and model you buy, along with the quality of installation you get. A well made vinyl or composite window with a thorough install will provide excellent long term value.

Bottom Line

When comparing vinyl and compsite windows, it all comes down to the specific brand and model you select. There are excellent options in each category, along with selections that you should avoid if you want to maximize the long term value. Check out our top rated vinyl windows and our best composite windows pages to see our recommendations in each of these window frame materials.

Type Of Window
Frame Type
Basic Price Point
Installation Option
No. Of Windows
You Zip Code