Today’s timber windows and doors can offer the best overall package of all materials available – precision made, fully finished with correct joinery details, double or triple glazed, no cold air or draughts getting through.
It’s not such a surprise really when you consider how far the modern timber window has come since the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s where, poorly made, untreated softwood frames were fitted with single panes of glass on site after the frame was fitted into the brick work. The bad name that timber gained, stuck for some time due to the moisture leaks and rot that followed their use, so along came aluminium and then cheap, plastic windows.

A longer life – timber will outperform all others

Whilst quality timber windows can sometimes cost 30% to 50% more to buy than their plastic counterparts, independent research by the Wood Window Alliance (WWA) has demonstrated that the 60 year life of timber compares very favourably to the life of plastic at just 35 years – this in turns levels out the price difference in favour of timber when you calculate a whole life cost. Timber windows also have the environmental credentials in their favour, being carbon negative and from a sustainable, natural resource, the opposite to uPVC windows.

As a result, timber windows are gaining market share rapidly in the UK, now representing 25% of demand by value and with this, manufacturers of windows from man-made materials are seeing the balance tip, with them attempting to reproduce the look of timber.

Along with appearance, modern day windows keep the weather out, offer double and triple glazing and technological advances in glass, which all add up to a product that is highly energy efficient, thermally insulated and offering outstanding U-Values, exceeding the latest requirements for Part L building regulations. Owners of timber windows can feel the benefits on their wallets for the years ahead too with significant savings on energy bills when compared with old fashioned single glazed windows of the past.

Studies by Imperial College London and Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh have shown that wooden window frames made to the EU standards will last from 56 to 65 years in average conditions. Aluminium-clad windows will last even longer.

Dr Gill Menzies explains the results of her Service Life study at Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh in the video below: