Windows have a big impact on the character of your home, so if you are replacing them choosing something appropriate to the age and style of your home can feel like a weighty responsibility. What’s more, choosing the wrong windows can devalue a property so you must buy well to protect your investment.
If your home should have timber windows to maintain authenticity, there are lots of choices on the market – but with so many options it can be hard to know what sets a good window apart from the rest.
Fortunately, we have some top advice on where to start. With the help of industry experts Timber Windows, here are the seven things all homeowners should look out for when choosing new timber windows.
1. Choose the right style for your home
Timber windows come in a number of styles and designs, so it is not enough to just choose wood over a modern material when you are trying to maintain an authentic look.
If you are replacing original windows you can take your cues from what is already there. Victorian and Georgian properties tend to have a mixture of casement and sash windows with older homes having sashes with more lights (or sections of glass) to each sash. As glass manufacturing methods improved over time, the panes they were capable of making became bigger, so as a simple rule, the older the home, the more lights each window will have.
If you don’t have the original windows and want to reinstate the charm of an old home, look to any neighbouring properties built around the same time for an idea of what style to choose. Or, if you are adding windows where they may not have been before – on an extension or barn conversion for example – choose timber windows to suit modern lifestyles such as bi-fold doors to allow greater access to outside.
2. Check the quality of the wood
Lower quality wood will twist, warp and could rot much faster than a high-end choice. If you can, look for slow-grown wood that is well suited to the exterior of a home. Engineered timber is a good choice as it does not swell and contract with changes in moisture levels which can lead to sticking doors and windows. Engineered timber is created by layering wood to optimise durability, while maintaining the look and feel you expect from wood. Joiners find it easier to work with meaning maximum quality at reasonable prices.
Also look for woods that have natural properties that help it last. Redwood for example contains a chemical that helps make it more resistant to rot. This is perfect if you are worried about the ongoing maintenance of timber. While they still need looking after in the same way you would with any other part of your home, if you choose a good wood and products with robust guarantees, you will need to spend less time caring for them.
3. Make a sustainable choice
As well as the quality of your wood, making a sustainable choice is really important. Look for wood from a noted source that has been grown with respect to the environment. Even when you buy handmade windows in the UK, you need to check the origin of the wood as tropical hardwood that is commonly used is cheap and easy to import but can have a negative impact on the environment, both in airmiles and how it is grown.
Look for European woods from colder climates which are grown much slower than tropical woods and therefore remove more CO2 from the atmosphere in their lifespan. Ask your supplier about the source of the wood so you can be sure it is from a sustainable forest.
4. Look for optimum insulation and security
Owners of period homes often want new windows for improved thermal efficiency and security. Modern timber windows can be double glazed meaning much better levels of insulation and less heat loss. If you choose sashes, check the draught-proofing between each sash to ensure your home stays warm. Then looks for locks that conform to modern standards to keep your home secure.
5. Find a fitter with specialist expertise
When you choose new wooden windows, find a company that can offer not only the highest levels of design, but can also offer their advice when it comes to installation. Some companies offer a supply and fit service which has advantages as the people making the windows are also the ones who install and thus know the fit better than anyone else. It also makes the process more straightforward for the homeowner.
Look for a company that also understands the importance of choosing an authentic look window – this is especially important if you live in a conservation area.
6. See the windows in person
Always see examples of the windows in person. Some window suppliers might be able to show you homes where their windows have been fitted, but a showroom gives you the chance to look at (and test) the windows at your leisure.
7. Don’t forget the finishing touches
One of the beautiful things about timber windows and doors is the option to finish them in whatever paint colour or stain you like. Colour is another way to add personality to your home and paint does this, while protecting the wood.
Finally, don’t forget that the ironmongery you choose for your new windows will need to match the overall look and feel of the property. Handmade latches, hinges, knockers and locks will all add that finishing touch and period style.