Installing UPVC Windows for an Old House: Is it a Good Solution?

a house with metal sidings and upvc windows

If your old house is fitted with wooden windows, retrofitting with new UPVC windows can be a budget-friendly way to reduce maintenance effort and costs. Naturally, both options have their own pros and cons.

The decision to replace windows in an old house doesn’t just stem from a desire to modernize. It’s also about improving comfort, safety, and efficiency. Installing UPVC windows, with their variety of styles and benefits, is a great solution if you are looking to change your old windows.

We lay out the advantages and disadvantages of both to help you determine if plastic or wooden windows are the best choice for your home.

Why Choose UPVC Windows?

Wood and plastic (UPVC) are two of the most popular window types for residential buildings. But is one definitively better than the other? That really depends on what you value in your windows.

a house with yellow sidings and white upvc windows

Here are some factors to consider:


The biggest advantage of plastic over wood is its natural durability and longevity – even with minimal maintenance. Although wooden window frames can last up to 40 or 50 years under optimal conditions and with proper care, this is rare.

Wooden windows require consistent upkeep throughout their lifespan. They might need to be painted or stained every three to four years (depending on the weather and direct sunlight exposure) and they’re also susceptible to pest infestations.

In contrast, UPVC windows can last 20 to 40 years with little maintenance. UPVC is resistant to weathering and does not corrode or rot. This makes it an excellent material for exterior applications, like window frames, where it can withstand diverse weather conditions over many years.

Low Maintenance

Unlike materials like wood, UPVC doesn’t require regular treatments, such as painting or sealing. It is easy to clean, usually needing only a wipe down with soapy water to maintain its appearance.

Also, UPVC is impervious to water and salt, making it an ideal choice for coastal properties or those in areas with high rainfall. It also doesn’t warp in high heat, ensuring structural integrity is maintained.


While UPVC windows can look attractive, they can’t replicate the timeless appearance of wooden frame windows. If you own an older or historic home, wooden windows likely mesh better with the overall look of the house than plastic ones.

Furthermore, you can easily change the appearance of wooden windows with a paint job, which until recently, was not possible with UPVC windows. However, with the advancement of specialized paint and design films, UPVC windows can also be perfectly tailored to the surroundings of the house or facade.


Wooden windows can cost up to twice as much as plastic ones. Additionally, you have to factor in the added maintenance costs and the time needed to ensure the windows look their best over the years.

In comparison to materials like aluminum or wood, UPVC tends to be more affordable. Its longevity and low maintenance requirements result in reduced long-term costs. If you’re budget-conscious or don’t have time to invest in upkeep, plastic is probably a better bet.

Energy Efficiency

When professionally installed, both types of windows can be energy-efficient. However, if the wooden frame begins to rot or gets damaged, warm air can escape in the winter and cool air in the summer, making your HVAC system work harder and less efficiently year-round.

UPVC has excellent insulation properties. When used in window frames in combination with double or triple glazing, it can significantly reduce heat transfer, leading to energy savings and a more comfortable indoor environment.


UPVC can be recycled, making it an environmentally friendly option. In fact, at the end of their long life cycle, UPVC windows and doors can be processed and reused.

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Can You Replace Wooden Windows with Plastic Ones?

Yes. For many homeowners, replacing older wooden windows with plastic ones is a viable choice. Not only are plastic windows efficient and affordable, but they can also give your home’s exterior a modern, clean look.

Here’s a brief guide on how to approach the process and the considerations involved:

  • Assess the condition of your current frames and take accurate measurements
  • Select the right UPVC windows such as styles, casements, tilt and turn, sash, and bay windows.
  • Choose a style that complements your home’s architecture
  • Consider energy efficiency. Double or triple-glazed UPVC windows are best
  • Hire a professional to carefully remove the old wooden frame and replace
  • Check the operation of the windows, ensuring they open and close smoothly

Installing UPVC Windows

When renovating or upgrading an old home, particularly when installing UPVC windows, hiring professionals who are familiar with historic or older structures is paramount. The unique challenges and intricacies of older homes necessitate specialized knowledge and expertise.

Here’s why this is essential:

  1. Professionals experienced with old homes will be more attuned to preserving and complementing these features.
  2. Older homes might have settled over time, leading to uneven or out-of-square window openings. Experienced professionals can address these issues while ensuring the new windows fit perfectly.
  3. Professionals familiar with old homes understand the balance between preserving historic charm and ensuring that renovations meet modern safety and efficiency standards.
  4. Older homes might have health hazards like lead paint or asbestos. Professionals experienced in older structures will know the precautions to take and can guide homeowners in addressing these issues safely.

While UPVC windows offer modern benefits in terms of energy efficiency and low maintenance, installing them in older homes requires a delicate balance between the new and the old.

Hiring professionals who appreciate and understand the nuances of old home structures ensures that this balance is achieved, preserving the character of your home while providing contemporary comfort.

How Much Do Replacement UPVC Windows Cost?

a house with white sidings and windows

The pricing for UPVC windows varies based on several factors:

  • Size
  • Style
  • Glazing options
  • Installation complexities
  • Fitting challenges due to irregular window sizes in older homes
  • Geographic location
  • Hardware and extras such as decorative glass or Georgian bars

It’s worth noting that if you’re replacing multiple windows at once, you might get a discount or a more cost-effective rate. It’s also a good idea to account for any potential extra costs, like repairing or replacing window sills or adding additional insulation.

Tips on Costs:

  • Multiple Quotes: Always get multiple quotes from different suppliers and installers. This will give you a better understanding of the market rate in your area and potentially help in negotiating prices.
  • Warranty: Check the warranty on both the window frames and glazing. A good warranty can add value and peace of mind to your purchase.
  • Energy Efficiency: While cost is a major factor, also consider the energy efficiency rating of the windows. Higher efficiency might mean a higher upfront cost but can save money on energy bills in the long run.

Even though larger, high-quality UPVC windows might cost more upfront, they offer good value over the years due to their low maintenance needs. Simply cleaning the UPVC windows a few times a year with a pressure washer (avoid high-pressure cleaners as they can damage the seal) keeps them looking pristine.

an old house with new black upvc windows

When deciding between plastic and wooden windows, the style of your home (old vs. modern), your local climate (mild vs. harsh), your budget, and how much time and energy you’re willing to invest in maintaining your windows are vital factors to consider.

Answering these questions can assist you in determining the best window option for your home.

If you currently have wooden windows and are looking for a plastic replacement or are even considering buying UPVC windows, reach out to the window experts at Oknoplast. Their specialists can help you find the best UPVC window for your home, ensuring the following features:

  • Energy-efficient
  • Complement your home

When it comes to window installation and repair, the pros at Oknoplast have got your back.

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will receive a very small commission if you click through and make a purchase. These links help to pay the editorial costs of writing a blog. For more information, please read my full affiliate disclosure here.

I also use Artificial Intelligence Image generators to create some of my images. These are to show you examples of my ideas and inspiration when I cannot produce the real images myself.

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