Six reasons to specify wood windows

Tony Pell, the Chair of The Wood Window Alliance (WWA), explains the benefits of timber windows – and it’s not all about aesthetics

beautiful, embodies character and delivers design credentials for a wide range of build- ing projects from domestic to healthcare, education and commercial. Wood windows can conjure up thoughts of traditional design, but their versatility and longevity mean that they are now specified for even the most contemporary projects as the sustainable long-term choice. Here are six reasons why wood is good for any type of build:


Built for longevity Modern WWA member wood windows are factory finished and highly engineered to have a long life. Overall, they are found to provide better long-term value than PVCu windows. A report by Heriot Watt University, Whole Life Analysis of Timber, Modified Timber and Aluminium-clad Timber Windows, found “an expected service life for timber windows of between 56 and 65 years; for modified timber windows between 68 and 80 years; and for aluminium-clad timber windows 71 and 83 years. These are set against a base case for PVCu of between 25 and 35 years.” The report also compared differing exposure levels and concluded that “in all exposure conditions over 60 years, PVCu window frames were shown to have the highest whole life cost.”

Wood windows are carbon negative over their lifetime Buildings contribute to nearly a third of all carbon emissions and following the Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change’s report on limiting global warming to 1.5°C, there is increasing pressure to design zero carbon buildings. A report by Heriot Watt University, Whole Life Analysis of Timber, Modified Timber and Aluminium-clad Timber Windows, found that considering all aspects of materials production, conversion, transport, maintenance and disposal, a typical wood window made to WWA standards has a negative GWP (Global Warming Potential) over 60 years. The same study revealed that using a timber frame in place of a comparable

ood windows are undeniably better looking than their PVCu equivalents. Wood is intrinsically

PVCu frame will save 160kgs of CO2e over 60 years in average conditions – that’s around one and a half tonnes of CO2e in a typical house. As part of membership criteria, all WWA manufacturing members must hold either FSC®

or PEFC™ chain of custody.

Wood windows require minimal maintenance There is a misconception that wood windows require regular upkeep and are high mainte- nance. This may be true of the decades old, single-glazed wood windows but modern window frames made to WWA standards are given a specialist paint or stain factory-finish coating. This not only means the window frames have an attractive, even finish but they are extremely durable, and weather protected. The peeling paint is a thing of the past with microporous paint that allows the timber to breathe. WWA-approved factory- finished windows are backed with a specialist supplier-backed coating guarantee – typically 10 years for paint and seven years for stain coatings.

Wood makes people feel good Wood is proving to be the catalyst for archi- tecture professionals in creating spaces that promote a real connection to nature. Using timber in a build can have a calming effect, improve air quality by moderating humidity and lead to a general feeling of wellbeing. In a 2010 Australian study, children’s heart beats reduced when they were taught in timber- built classrooms. Two years ago the WWA undertook independent research with 1,000 homeowners across the UK which revealed that 49 per cent of homeowners feel that

having natural materials in their homes makes them feel happier.

A quality choice As with any building product, a key consid- eration has to be the quality of the manufac- tured product and its correct installation. Founded and managed by its members, the Wood Windows Alliance (WWA) is the benchmark for the industry, providing the reassurance of high quality, performance and sustainability standards. Using engineered softwood, quality hardwood or modified timber, all member products are provided with supplier-backed guarantees; typically 30 years for the frame and 10 years for glazing and hardware.

The design choice Crucially, wood windows offer the potential to add character and personality across a myriad of projects. Of course, wood windows are the first choice when it comes to period properties; particularly those in conservation areas. For sympathetic replace- ment of original windows, WWA members can offer intricate period detailing for exact replication. However, it is in contemporary projects where wood is increasingly being used to deliver impact and longevity. With triple glazing and slim sightlines, contempo- rary wood windows are the sustainable, alternative choice.

To find a supplier you can trust, visit The WWA’s website or find them on Twitter:


ADF MAY 2019


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