Hi, everyone. We're replacing all the single-pane aluminum windows in our house, and have a couple that look like the picture that I've attached. We're going with new construction windows. Our contractor is telling us that wood windows in this situation would require large extension jambs entirely covering the drywall on either side of the window, in addition to building up the desk surface (?!), and trimming the whole thing out in front (i.e., where the recess meets the main wall - this is hard to explain). He says that vinyl or fiberglass windows are best for this situation, and wouldn't require this work.
I'm just learning about the various window types, how they are installed, etc., but this is very surprising to me. Is there a way to make wood windows work (say, Andersen 400) in this situation? Can short extension jambs be used, and their face covered with some sort of tapering trim, or several pieces of trim of decreasing thickness? Why does he need to build up the desk surface? And finally, what is this big difference between vinyl and wood windows to which he is referring?
I'm obviously quite ignorant of this stuff and am hoping that some experts out there can help me figure this out!
Find a new contractor. The material of the window has absolutely nothing to do with the way it is install. Wood, vinyl, or fiberglass could all be used in either a "pocket style" or full-frame installation. You just need to choose the correct product line (not material) based on your preferred install method, and size it appropriately. His method would look nice, but is not the only way.