The installation of wooden and timber windows took an enormous dip during the late eighties when homeowners began turning toward UPVC. The promise of zero maintenance plastic windows easily overshadowed the budget timber window which was commonly problematic. The old wooden window required high levels of maintenance due to movement, weathering and rot, and the market was crying out for an alternative to alleviate these stressful problems.
Although plastic windows filled the void, it’s obvious that people hadn’t completely fallen out of love with the traditional wooden window as many of the upvc styles were designed to imitate timber. This is clearly evident in the upvc designs of “Rosewood” that imitates mahogany, and the rich looking “Golden Oak”. Later designs were even made to imitate the most traditional of timber windows, the sliding sash, also known as the box frame window. Obviously the look of natural wood is as appealing as ever, but the hassle element was more than enough to persuade the masses to opt for plastic.
However, the window industry is experiencing a resurgence of demand for traditional wooden windows, and there are a number of reasons to explain why. Although the changes are nowhere near as swift, fashion is just as relevant in the construction industry as it is on the catwalk. What’s in today will be out tomorrow, or at least in twenty years or so. That same twenty years has also given plenty of time to evaluate the long term performance of plastic, and it’s now obvious that there’s no such thing as “No Maintenance”, just ask anyone who has watched their upvc windows discolour, or struggled to make minor repairs without replacing the entire window.
Timber merchants and wooden window manufacturers have learnt from the mistakes of yesteryear and improved their products enormously. Durability has improved dramatically, especially as there are now timbers such as “Accoya” that come with a massive 60 year guarantee. Wood preservatives and finishing’s have also made huge advancements, and spray finishing prior to installation is becoming common. Many of the spray-finish wood coatings of today even carry their own personal protection guarantees. Additionally, the mechanisms and locking systems that operate and secure the moving parts of a window give the end user peace of mind. With the added bonus of wood being a sustainable, bio degradable product that won’t harm the environment long term, it’s no surprise that there is far greater confidence in timber windows than ever before.
For anyone harbouring fears that timber windows will still be problematic in comparison to plastic, you need not worry, in fact, the reverse is more likely. Plus, as the famous chocolate advertising slogan goes, “Why have cotton, when you can have silk”!