Considerations When Specifying Wood For Windows And Doors

Timber has many intrinsic qualities, its strength and durability as well as its natural warmth and beauty. However there are a number of essential considerations when specifying wood for your windows and doors.

~ What type of wood is best? ~

There are various species of timber. Timber needs to be treated to provide protection from environmental damage, decay and insect attack. It avoids expensive remedial costs and preserves the integrity of the timber for long-term use. Hardwoods tend to have more heartwood and require less protection. Softwoods tend to have more sapwood and therefore need more protection. Consideration must be given to the following types of hazard

1. Internal with no risk of wetting and/or condensation.

2. Internal with risk of wetting and/or condensation.

3. External above damp-proof course – painted.

4. External above damp-proof course – uncoated.

Discuss the type of wood best suited for your home with an architect or a local manufacturer.

~ What effect does climate have on the choice of timber? ~

If you live in an area where the air is dry most of the time you should only choose kiln-dried timber. It has considerable benefits over air-dried timber. Kiln-dried timber is subjected to controlled heat procedures that create a stable moisture gradient throughout the timber. Kiln-dried timber is checked for moisture content between 8%-12%, which is the range allowed by standards authorities. Air-dried timber exposed to hot sunlight dries out unevenly and will tend to crack, twist or warp. Always check that you are supplied with the correct timber for dry air conditions – Kiln-dried timber. Air-dried timber is often used where the air is humid most of the year.

~ How important is the thickness of wood used in window and door manufacturing? ~

Exterior windows can be manufactured in a range of thickness depending on the type of window and quality required. Thick sashes in windows offer a much longer guarantee than thin sashes and are therefore of a higher quality. Exterior and interior doors can be manufactured in many different thicknesses and styles from flush to panelled and it is advisable to make your choice after consulting catalogues from local manufacturers. Generally, the thicker the wood used the higher is the quality and the longer the guarantee. Selecting inappropriate size and thickness of windows and doors can detract from the value of your home. Quality products that combine character and performance will certainly add value.

~ What alternative types of finish are available? ~

Finishing your products is important because it must be done in a timely manner to meet guarantee requirements. Deciding on the type of finish you want well in advance of manufacture is advisable. The options fall into three categories, stains, paints and sealers. Visit your local store or manufacturer for professional advice and recommendations on how to address your specific needs. You need to consider

1. which finishes perform best in my region of the country

2. how does temperature and humidity level affect my choice of finish?


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