Why Choose Traditional Timber Windows Over uPVC Plastic Windows
When the time comes to replace your windows, homeowners are often faced with a difficult decision between heart and head. Your heart says wooden windows are more natural, more beautiful, more authentic; your head tells you that cheaper plastic alternatives will save you money and maintenance. But is this really the case?
The wood vs uPVC debate comes down to five essential factors… and timber windows come out on top in all of them, including the money in your pocket. In this article, we look at those five factors in more detail:
- Environmental Impact
- Value For Money
Looking for high quality, timber sash window or casement window installation, replacement or refurbishment? Get in touch with The Specialist In Traditional Sash Windows today by filling out our quick enquiry form or phoning us on 0800 389 7384. We will be able to provide you with a free, no obligation quote.
1. Aesthetics: Nothing beats the look of timber windows
Few people would argue against this point. Whether it’s a period property or a new build, uPVC simply cannot match the beauty of wood. The natural properties of wood – its grain, its solidity, its ability to take paint – give it a distinct aesthetic advantage over plastic alternatives for windows. This is especially the case with sash windows; wooden sash windows are always going to provide the traditional and luxurious effect that has made them such a popular choice for period homes since the Georgian era.
Even wood-effect plastic windows are pale imitations of the real deal. While, from a distance, it may be difficult to notice the difference, the look and feel of plastic windows up close offer none of the charm and luxury associated with high-quality timber.
Moreover, because of wood’s inherent strength, the frame thickness of wooden windows can also be kept more streamlined than with uPVC, thus letting more light into the room and creating a better aesthetic, both inside and out. You can also paint timber windows whatever colour you want, whereas plastic frames come in a small range of colours and can’t be changed.
2. Function: Wooden windows work just as plastic alternatives
If you are replacing old timber windows that have been poorly maintained, you may be tempted by the thought of a modern plastic window that does not jam, rot or let in draughts. But modern replacement timber sash windows, for example, are made to just as high specifications as uPVC windows and are just as effective at keeping out the cold, noise and burglars.
Modern wooden sash window frames are precision-made to run smoothly without leaving gaps between the sashes and the frame, so draughts and noise are blocked out. Built-in locks make them very secure, as does double glazing, fitted in compliance with the latest building regulations. Indeed, wood is better suited to take the extra thickness of double or triple glazing, because uPVC frames are hollow and prone to bowing under the weight.
3. Maintenance: Wooden frames are easier to maintain than plastic
There is a myth that plastic window frames last forever, whereas wood rots, swells and needs frequent repainting. The truth is that the estimated life of new timber windows is double that of plastic alternatives. That estimated lifespan is 60 years, but there are plenty of examples of old period houses that show that, with proper maintenance, wooden windows like timber sash windows can last well over a hundred years.
Plastic becomes discoloured and brittle after a few years in the sun and there is nothing you can do about it. Wood window frames can be restored every two or three years with a light rub down and a couple of coats of paint, effectively restoring them to as good as new. You can also choose a different colour whenever you want, an option not available for plastic windows.
4. Environmental Impact: Wooden windows are more environmentally friendly
On the subject of windows reaching the end of their life, there is the question of what happens to uPVC windows when they’re ripped out and replaced. According to research by the World Wildlife Fund, 82% goes to landfill. Plastic recycling and incineration are both underdeveloped and costly technologies. The WWF report predicted that by 2020, the capacity to recycle it will be a fifth of what is required.
Additionally, the manufacture of uPVC windows uses eight times more energy than for timber windows. Worryingly, producing uPVC window frames involves the production of just under 50% of the extremely hazardous gases that the EU has been targeting to eliminate, such as the harmful carcinogen benzene, released during laser cutting. As the world tries to cut down on the use and disposal of plastics, the benefits of plastic-free windows will become increasingly important.
Wooden windows are, by far, the more sustainable and eco-friendly option for your home. The EU Timber Regulation has outlawed any timber products formed from illegal and unsustainable harvesting, ensuring that the EU timber market only permits timber harvested from sustainable sources. Here at Traditional Sash Windows, we are committed to ensuring all our windows are produced and installed in the most environmentally green ways, as per our Eco-Friendly Credentials.
5. Value For Money: Timber sash windows add value
If you are only interested in the short-term cost of replacing your windows and not concerned about the long-term benefits, consider the effect on the value of your property.
Perhaps you expect to move out long before your windows begin to deteriorate. If that is the case, you will want to get the best price you can for the house. Fitting plastic windows may save you money now but it will reduce the value of your property by more.
This is especially true if it is a period property that was originally built with timber sash windows, or the house is in a conservation area with other period properties. The fitting of unsympathetic doors and windows has been found to be the single biggest threat to property values in such cases.
Ready to embrace the beauty of traditional timber windows?
Hopefully, this has removed any doubts you had about going with your heart and fitting beautiful wooden sash windows, rather than the cheaper plastic alternatives. It’s something you’ll be looking at every day. Why compromise? Follow your heart.
For more information on our sash window installation and refurbishment expertise and services, view our sash window replacement and upgrade page.