If you’re thinking of upgrading your windows, choosing the right material is crucial. Both UPVC and timber windows have their own advantages and disadvantages, and it’s important to evaluate them properly before making your choice. In this article, we will compare UPVC and timber windows to help you make the right decision for your home.

UPVC vs Timber Windows UPVC windows are a popular choice for homeowners in the UK, mainly because they’re considered to be cheaper and more suitable for double glazing. However, is it really true, or are there other factors that you should consider before discounting timber windows? Let’s take a look at the comparison below to help you decide.


If you’re working on a tight budget, then UPVC windows will be cheaper in the short-term. On the other hand, timber windows are more expensive upfront, but the total costs are balanced out in the longer term. Based on a typical 90 x 60 casement window, UPVC windows cost between £250-570, while timber windows cost between £845-£910.


Maintenance with UPVC is minimal, but over time the material can become discoloured and brittle, at which point complete replacement becomes necessary. Good timber windows only need a quick coat of paint every 7-10 years to be well-maintained.


UPVC windows typically last between 15-20 years before they need replacing, whereas well-maintained timber windows can last up to 70 years or more.


UPVC tends to have a steel core, making it extremely difficult to cause damage, let alone break-in. Good, solid timber windows comply with the new Part Q Building security standards.


Fitting double glazing within the UPVC window frames will keep your home well-insulated and offer good noise cancellation. Timber is a naturally insulating material that provides better performance than UPVC.


UPVC windows do offer more style options and even faux wood grain, but they can be a single biggest threat to property values in conservation areas. Timber windows, on the other hand, can create a huge ‘curb-appeal’ with 82% of estate agents feeling that original features add value to period properties.

Environmentally friendly

UPVC frames are essentially plastic and metal, so are highly processed and hard to recycle, meaning they end up in landfill. With timber windows, you’re working with organic materials that are not only more sustainable but (if maintained) last considerably longer.

Final Verdict UPVC does have some merits; it’s cheap, fairly robust, and provides good insulation for your home. However, these benefits are weighted toward short-term gains, and eventually, they will cost you more in the future. For instance, UPVC lasts just a third of the time timber windows do, which means they’ll likely need replacing far sooner than expected. They could also have a detrimental effect on the value of your home, particularly if it’s a period property. Timber windows, on the other hand, can last up to 70 years or more, and are more environmentally friendly.

While UPVC windows may appear to be the cheaper option, timber windows are more durable, energy-efficient, and eco-friendly in the long run. With proper maintenance, they will last considerably longer and can enhance the aesthetic appeal of your home. So, if you’re looking for a long-term investment, timber windows are the way to go.


What are the differences between UPVC and timber windows in terms of durability and lifespan?

UPVC (Unplasticized Polyvinyl Chloride) and timber are two commonly used materials for windows. While both materials have their own benefits and drawbacks, there are some differences in terms of durability and lifespan.

UPVC windows are known for their durability and low maintenance requirements. They are resistant to rotting, warping, and rusting, and do not require painting or staining. UPVC windows can last for up to 20-30 years with proper maintenance and care.

On the other hand, timber windows are known for their natural beauty and warmth. Timber windows require regular maintenance, including painting or staining to protect them from rot and decay. If well maintained, timber windows can last for up to 30-40 years or more.

Which type of window material offers the best insulation for energy efficiency?


How do UPVC and timber windows compare in terms of maintenance requirements and costs?

The type of window material that offers the best insulation for energy efficiency is dependent on a variety of factors, including the climate, orientation of the window, and the specific product and construction of the window.

In general, windows with multiple panes of glass and low-E coatings offer the best insulation for energy efficiency. However, the frame material of the window also plays a significant role in the insulation properties of the window.

Fiberglass, vinyl, and wood frames are generally considered to be more energy-efficient than aluminum frames, as they offer better thermal insulation and have lower rates of heat transfer. Among these materials, fiberglass and vinyl frames tend to perform slightly better than wood frames in terms of energy efficiency, due to their lower thermal conductivity.

Are UPVC windows more environmentally friendly than timber windows?

UPVC windows are made from a plastic material that is derived from fossil fuels, and the manufacturing process can be energy-intensive. Additionally, the disposal of UPVC windows at the end of their lifespan can pose environmental challenges, as they do not biodegrade and are difficult to recycle.

On the other hand, timber windows are made from a renewable resource, and if sustainably sourced and harvested, can be a more environmentally friendly option.

In This Article…


Laura Wakeham

Laura is an experienced writer with a background in the construction, wood work and hardwood industry - having written for various nationwide publications including Houzz, Construction Weekly and other more local editorial platforms. With over 10 years experience, Laura has detailed knowledge on the ins and outs of hardwood fabrications from orangeries to conservatories, windows and doors.

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