Wooden Window Frames insulate and Add Value

While some homeowners are opting for uPVC and aluminium window frames, nothing beats the look and insulation offered by natural wood frames.



Having lived in my home for over 20 years, I have also lived with wooden window frames. Yes, these might require a bit more maintenance than other more modern alternatives, but for me, nothing beats the natural beauty of wood. Plus, wooden window frames also up the insulation factor in a home.

Used as a building material for centuries, wood is still used today to craft finishings and fittings for homes, and particularly wooden doors, door frames and window frames. Some people prefer the traditional look of wooden frames and that's why wooden window frames are a material of choice for craftsman homes. When forested within plantations that specifically plant, grow and harvest trees for construction, timber is a natural and renewable resource that many a homeowner prefer to use when building their home.

But did you know that wooden window frames provide insulation to a home? The natural beauty of wood can also be used to add insulation to a house, almost 400 times more than other types of window frames. While they do require regular maintenance to keep them in good condition, wooden window frames have a longer life than many other window frame materials.

As mentioned above, the only downside to installing wooden window frames is the fact that they require regular maintenance with the application of an exterior sealer or wood treatment to prevent rot and keep the timber healthy. And when properly maintained, wooden windows add to the value of your home and are still more affordable that newer window frame options.

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Wood Window Frames require Regular Maintenance

As an organic material wood continues to expand and contract in line with the changing seasons and the ambient environment. During the winter or dry season, the cells inside the timber shrink due to loss of moisture and this means that the wood itself shrinks. In the summer months, or when there it lots of rain, the cells absorb moisture and the wood expands. It is because of this constant expansion and contraction that wooden window frames require ongoing maintenance.

The cells within the timber are microscopic, and because of this the treatment you apply needs to be viscous enough to be absorbed. A varnish is not suitable for exterior wood at all, since it is a thick substance that sits on top of the wood and is not absorbed into the cellular structure. An exterior sealer is the best product to use for exterior wood, either solvent-based or water-borne.

Failure to apply a regular treatment to wooden window frames will result in the wood drying out and cracking.

apply regular treatment to wood window frames

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Treat According to Region

While wooden window frames require a fair bit of maintenance, this is more so in hot, dry areas and areas with high humidity or in coastal regions. Regular blasting from the sun can quickly dry out windows and also evaporate any treatment applied. In hot dry areas an annual application of exterior treatment should be done. In coastal regions, wood frames are under constant blasting from salt laden winds and there are sealers that are specifically designed for these regions.

If in any doubt as to the proper product to apply to your wooden window frames, ask for advice or do your research before you buy. As previously mentioned above, only apply a viscous or runny exterior sealer that is solvent-based or water-borne, as these are specifically formulated for timber and wood products.

Annual maintenance of wooden window frames does not have to be too time consuming. If attended to on a regular basis, it can head off any future problems before they begin - saving you lots of time, effort, and money.

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How to Apply an Exterior Sealer

Clean the window frame (inside and out) by wiping with an old paintbrush and a cloth. A good clean will reveal any hidden issues and remove dirt and debris from the area where the treatment is to be applied.

Next, use a fine sanding sponge to wipe down the frame. If very dirty or covered in grime, a gentle rubbing with mild detergent and water will clean. Use a dry rag to wipe dry the frame after cleaning.

Treat any signs of mildew or mould with warm water and tea tree oil, or mix 4 parts water with 1 part white spirit vinegar. This will kill off any mould spores and prevent a  reoccurrence.

Allow the wood to dry thoroughly before applying the exterior treatment - following the manufacturer's recommended instructions for application.

With regular TLC and ongoing maintenance and inspection your wooden window frames will continue to add to the look of your home.

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