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Why should you choose timber versus uPVC windows?
Is timber better than uPVC? Is it the right choice for your home and your specifications? Is it the right price point for your budget?
Timber versus uPVC windows
These are questions that you need to consider on the road to choosing your new windows or replacing your old windows to make the best decision for your home. Perhaps you already have uPVC windows. Perhaps you are building a new home and window options are a huge consideration in the visual aspect of the house as well as thermal considerations for living in it. Perhaps your current timber windows are draughty, and you want to live in a home with a more modern feel. Spending some time to answer these questions will save you a lot of money and heartache in the long-term.
So, are timber windows better than uPVC windows? What are the differences that can affect your decision?
I’ll address some of your concerns here to help you make a more informed decision. Our team of experts at Timeless Sash Windows are also available to discuss your individual questions that may arise, as each home and situation is uniquely different.
Pros and cons of timber windows versus uPVC windows
- Longevity – timber can be repaired and repainted over time. Well maintained windows can last more than a century. uPVC appears to be cheaper in the short term – based on an initial quote. But beware of the shorter lifespan and inability to repair or alter.
- Environmentally friendly – timber is produced sustainably and is recyclable at the end of its life. uPVC is less environmentally friendly, from the production to the degradation.
- Maintenance – Depending on the choice of wood – windows have an anti-rot and anti-warp guarantee. uPVC is lower maintenance in the short term – there is no need to paint or fungicide and it does not rot, warp, peel or chip. However, discolouration and degradation due to UV rays occurs. There are also difficulties with the replacement of fittings.
- Visually pleasing – a higher quality look and feel to timber windows.
- Natural – timber provides a healthier natural environment for your home.
- Heritage – timber windows express the heritage of period homes & in listed properties the timber must be kept. uPVC can cause a decrease in property value in heritage homes due to poor aesthetic and lack of historical and architectural values
- Versatile – from a quality joinery virtually any design can be achieved. uPVC is manufactured – there is less flexibility with unusual shapes and sizes, however it is quick to install – a wide range of colours and finishes are readily available.
The lifespan of timber windows
Many Georgian and Victorian houses still have their original timber sash windows. If the timber is starting to rot it may just need to be repaired in sections rather than completely replaced. Competent joiners can refurbish these windows to make old look like new, or if you need a total overhaul, can make new look like old. The joy of timber is in it’s versatility, the style of the mouldings, the detail in the architrave, the shutters and surrounds. Such handcrafted details cannot be achieved with uPVC.
Furthermore, with correct care and maintenance (for a complete guide on the care and maintenance of sash windows, click here), timber windows really will last a lifetime. The paint protects the wood and seals it from weather damage. On the other hand, uPVC will need less care, but over time the suns UV rays and weather will cause the plastic to discolour and eventually need complete replacement. This in turn has environmental impact in the challenges of recycling.
Is the use of timber in windows bad for the environment?
Would you rather live next to a forest or a PVC factory? Trees are planted and cut down in a sustainable way. Requesting wood from a sustainable source ensures that even more trees are grown every year. As they grow they absorb CO2 and in fact, the manufacture of a timber window uses less energy than a similar uPVC one.
Timber is the only sustainable raw material that you can use as we can produce more of it every year in a symbiotic relationship with our planet. The timber in your windows provides a natural environment in your home.
At our joinery in Co. Meath, we have FSC approved timber. Furthermore, the wood chippings from the manufacturing process are collected and compressed into cubes that are burned to produce the energy needed for the factory, releasing less harmful emissions and reducing the carbon footprint of your windows further.
The aesthetic appeal of timber windows
Windows reflect the style and fashion of the architects and designers of the house. The beauty of a well placed and well made window provides an elegance and status to your home. Over time, windows can be painted different colours if you choose to change the property image and to reflect artistic and social trends.
Insulation and energy efficiency
It is a common misconception that timber windows are less efficient than uPVC, but modern techniques in glazing show similar energy ratings with even the oldest designs. Remember it is the glass that you use that provides the energy efficiency and not the frame, although the efficiency in the design of the frame will have an impact. We have our own Slimline glazing system that lets you keep the character of your 18th/19th century window whilst making it much more efficient.
Draught proofing and secondary glazing are available at a much lower price point than full window replacement, and you benefit from maintaining the heritage of the property and the area. Remember that if you are replacing your windows simply for energy efficiency, you must also consider attic insulation, draught elimination and insulation of hot water cylinders.
There are regulations to study regarding period houses in Ireland. In many houses and areas, planning permission is required to make any changes to your windows. Before you embark on a costly mistake, ensure that you have met the guidelines that are specific to your property. Many windows can be restored without the cost of replacement. Timber sash windows are often the only choice for historic properties to preserve the heritage. It is a good idea to ask three different companies to advise and quote you on your windows so that you can review the situation armed with all the information.
Do your research
We at Timeless Sash Windows recommend thorough research into your window project. Consider survey guidelines, the eventual aesthetics that you would like to achieve, your budget in the short and long term, insulation requirements, recommended maintenance and any other factors particular to your home and your values. Quotes should be compared with an understanding of lead time, timber or uPVC frames, glazing options, economy, longevity, service reviews, security and guarantees offered.
Ask around. Every home has windows. Once you embark on the route to renew your windows, you will quickly realise that there is large choice of products on the market. Traditional sash windows, casement windows, timber, aluminium and uPVC are just some of the subjects that you will need to be aware of.
Purchase a solution and not a problem
Investing in windows is not a decision to be taken lightly. It is perhaps a choice that you will make only once. Ensure that you are working with a company that have smart standards from the initial survey, a transparent quote, and a reputation for quality in product, fitting and after sales care. Your choice should reflect your personal values.
The benefits of timber windows
We work with timber only. All our windows, shutters and doors are exclusively crafted from wood in our Timeless joinery in Co. Meath. We provide timber solutions throughout Ireland. Our workers are working in a healthy environment and we are proud of our product – so we are biased.
Here is a guide to help you to make your own choice.
What’s in it for you?
A warm home, that is created from products that are kind to the environment and produced naturally from the environment, that can last a lifetime, and eventually be recycled without harm.
Author: Jennifer Ritchie, 20th April 2018