The lasting appeal of wooden window frames

Published:
4:17 PM July 26, 2022



Updated:
12:24 27 July 2022

Kevin Underwood, Technical Director of the British Woodworking Federation (BWF), explains why wood is one of the most beautiful, durable and long-lasting solutions for windows

Wood is one of the oldest and therefore most durable building materials, providing homeowners with a beautiful, durable, and most importantly, long-lasting solution for windows.

When replacing windows in a period or heritage property, there are a wide range of considerations – from material and color, to warranty implications and compliance with building regulations. To sensitively replace original sash windows, this is especially important, especially when it comes to making sure the windows are in keeping with the aesthetics of the area.

The Cotswolds Design Codewhich aims to protect the distinctive qualities of the area, advises that while other materials, including metal, may be appropriate in some contexts, wooden window frames – and doors – are generally necessary.

Timber windows can offer a wide range of benefits to Cotswold homeowners looking to replace their windows, including the following…


Traditional timber-framed windows embellish homes in Stow-on-the-Wold
– Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Lasting performance

The British Woodworking Federation (BWF) Home Improvement Index found that half of heritage property owners replace windows less than every 15 years. However, when properly cared for, wooden window frames can last up to 60 years, with some types of modified wood even reaching a lifespan of 80 years.

The durability of wooden window frames means they can last longer and cost less over their lifetime compared to alternatives. Not only can wooden window frames have a long life – often longer than other commonly used window materials – they can also reduce lifetime costs when maintenance and replacement are taken into account. .

Engineered, treated and modified woods, which are primarily used by BWF members in the manufacture of wooden window frames, improve longevity. Modern wood window frames also incorporate a range of features designed to improve durability, including rounded edges and water-shedding angles on horizontal surfaces such as sills and beads, which provide the finest finish. best and most durable.

Wooden window frames can also have a positive advantage if you plan to sell your home in the future. Research has shown that people are willing to pay an average of 11% more for a home with well-maintained period features, of which traditional wooden windows can be a key aspect.


Picturesque Cotswold street scene in Burford, Oxfordshire, UK

To gently replace the original sash windows, it is important to ensure that they are consistent with the aesthetics of the area
– Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Easy maintenance

Modern wooden window frames require much less maintenance than is often thought. Many manufacturers and BWF members offer warranties of up to 10 years for painted products and seven years for stained products.

This means that all that is needed in the first decade after the frame is installed is a simple rub down with sandpaper and a refreshing coat of paint. However, it is important to always check with your supplier what is needed to keep the windows in good condition.


Historic houses in the Cotswold village of Castle Combe, described as the prettiest village in England

The Cotswold Design Code aims to protect the distinctive qualities of towns and villages, such as the picturesque Castle Combe
– Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto


View of flowers in pots on a traditional English cottage house window

Timber windows are a natural choice for owners of heritage properties
– Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Wood window frames can also be easily repainted, so the look of a home can be cost-effectively transformed to suit homeowner preferences throughout the life of the window. Not only does this allow windows to stay fresh throughout their life, but it also allows new owners to leave their own mark on a property.

It should also be noted that the Cotswold Design Code advises generally avoiding the use of stained wood as it is not a traditional joinery finish and does not complement Cotswold stone.

Put wood back in the frame

Timber windows are a natural choice for heritage property owners looking for long-lasting performance, easy maintenance and aesthetic appeal. The installation and maintenance of wooden windows is a key aspect of any heritage property and, in addition to retaining the character of a property’s original features, can also add value to a heritage property. Their improved durability means they can be longer lasting and less expensive over their lifetime compared to alternatives, providing a lower total cost of ownership for Cotswold homeowners.

READ MORE: Look inside a Cotswold stone barn near Lechlade.