Wood Window Boxes vs. PVC Window Boxes
When it comes to choosing a window box material selection is very important. Window Boxes made from wood is the old standard by which all window boxes are measured. Though making a window box from wood is a cheap and easy task and you might even be handy enough to make your own, there are a lot of drawbacks to using wood as the material of choice.
The life expectancy of a wooden window box is 3 - 5 years. Some woods are more rot resistant than others and can last longer such as cedar or redwood however even high quality woods like this still suffer from eventual deterioration. The best thing you can do to extend the life expectancy of a wooden window box is maintenance. With proper maintenance a window box can last up to 20 years. So let's delve into that.
A wooden window box needs to be emptied of it's dirt each winter. The reason for this is that wet dirt will freeze and expand which pushes out on the joints of the window box causing them to split apart. As these seams begin to open up this allows insects and bugs to get past the paint and into the material where it is wet and damp. Painting a window box is also very important. A painted box tends to prevent bug penetration much more successfully than a stain. For painting I recommend to avoid dark colors. The main reason for this is dark colors result in more expansion and contraction from heat absorption which causes the box to contract and expand more which allows for splitting at the seams.
Painting the flower boxes a neutral color is most preferred. In addition to paint color selection you will also want to make sure you are caulking and doing touch up paint each year after the winter. Since there is a lot of movement in the box from one season to the next this will cause paint to chip and possible deterioration of the box in places. Caulking those damaged spots and painting will extend the life of the box tremendously. Also by painting the box a neutral color it will absorb less heat which also helps prevent the soil from drying out as quickly and helps with keeping the plants and flowers healthy. Removing wooden window boxes during the winter is the ideal solution.
PVC Window Boxes as an Alternative
Nowadays we have more choices however for window box selection. For starters, composite PVC window boxes and other plastics are available which solve the issue of rotting and deterioration. However, not all plastics are equal. Some plastics like polyethylene are made into a moulded product which could be hollow. These are great for affordability but do have some drawbacks such as: cracking, bowing, sagging, or damage during a winter freeze.
Composite PVC window boxes are made of solid PVC material and can offer some advantages over a hollow material. As a solid material you can get a similar look and feel to a wooden window without the rotting and maintenance of a wooden window box. Also solid PVC is less likely to crack, warp, or distort than a hollow counter part. Nowadays, some companies offer to make custom PVC window boxes in virtually any size to match any window and even offer to ship them out fully assembled so that you simply have to remove them from the packaging and go straight to the installation. And unlike vinyl or polyethylene, PVC window boxes can be painted with an exterior latex paint.
About the Author
Matthew Buquoi is the owner of Flower Window Boxes which specializes in custom PVC window boxes they build and ship all over the country.