Despite the rise of aluminum, steel and uPVC as framing material for windows, timber still retains its quintessential charm and elegance. Provided you select the right type of wood, your windows will continue to look and perform elegantly for decades. However, you should not use chemical compositions to clean or wipe the timber windows, and you must also buy windows made of premium quality wood so that they last long and you get the ultimate value for money.
Types of woods used in timber windows
- Hardwoods: Hardwoods are sourced from slow growing trees such as oak, mahogany, teak and beech. Hardwood timber windows are more durable and may also be resistant to pests besides being capable of taking on high polish due to their smooth grain structure.
- Softwoods: Softwood timber windows are cheaper and prove to be a more economical option because the trees such as fir, red cedar and larch grow fast but durability may be a factor unless the wood is properly treated to make it pest proof and weatherproof.
- Engineered wood: Engineered wood is a cheaper yet durable alternative to hardwood for timber windows. There is a whole range of engineered woods comprising of medium density fiber board, plywood, glued laminated timber and laminated veneer timber available in various grades. Marine grade laminated veneer timber is structurally strong and resistant to environmental erosion and warping or defects, and you can even use engineered wood timber to suit the aesthetic value of your home.
Choose timber windows which are made of high quality materials:
- Quality manufacturers of timber windows use only specially selected hardwoods from trees grown in cold climates. Of course, one can use mahogany or teak from tropical regions, which are just as tough.
- Importantly, quality manufacturers pick heartwood, which is the toughest section, while removing knots and resin exudation sections.
- Alternatively, manufacturers may use engineered wood with finger joints and a precision machining process for close fit that factors in cold and heat contraction/expansion to prevent warping.
- Pre-treatment which includes kiln drying to control moisture and pre-treatment with proper chemicals and processes like acetylation to enhance durability. Even softwoods so treated have exceptional durability and resistance to insects.
- Design plays an important role. For instance, a slight horizontal slope is provided by quality manufacturers.
- Finely engineered timber windows will have rounded corners as well as end grain sealants. These serve the purpose of better paint adhesion and prevention of water ingress.
Buying/installing timber windows
- It is always advisable to buy from quality manufacturers fully coated, finished and glazed by the manufacturer in the factory. The coatings are consistent, uniform and will last longer as well as provide better protection. Spray painted windows have a better look and durability.
- Opaque paints may result in more durability in comparison to clear lacquers. However, clear lacquers can bring out the texture and beauty of wood grain. In this case be prepared to carry out re-coating every couple of years because transparent or translucent coatings are susceptible to UV degradation.
- Avoid buying unfinished or raw timber windows, and then try finishing and treatment on site. Such processes are always incomplete, and may not give the desired result in terms of looks or protection for the wood.
- Installation and how it is carried out also affects appearance as well as durability. Manufacturers recommend that timber windows be slightly recessed, and that there should be some form of overhang to protect from direct rains.
Now that you know about timber windows you can pick the type you like and be sure that they will last a lifetime.