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Bunzena

Advice Wanted - Best Timber for Building Windows

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Hi - looking for some advice and opinions on the best wood to build some windows.  The softwood ones in our current home are less than 10 years old and many are simply rotting away.  Despite being reasonably well cared for.   The Pine [Deal?] they are made from flexes and moves in the heat and cold - and it's not long before water enters the end-grain and the rot starts.  The movement also seems to 'blow' the double glazing units with alarming regularity too.  We didn't fit them - and there's no warranty or come back.

 

I've replaced a couple with joinery-made windows made from Accoya.  Brilliantly stable and supposedly durable - the problem is they cost a fortune. 

 

So I've resolved to make some more replacements myself.

 

Windows have to be wood - not interested in uPVC >:( or aluminium.

 

They will be painted - but want to use a hardwood - or [like Accoya] a durable/chemically altered softwood.  It needs to be readily available and not be so exotic as to cost an arm and a leg.  Have researched and researched - and just got more confused. 

 

Any thoughts?

 

Thanks.

 

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51 minutes ago, topchippyles said:

Softwood go for douglas fir and harwood oak, idigbo, mahogany or redwood 

I always fancied trying small diameter sweet chestnut, clean grown coppice after the first metre was discarded. Bigger stuff tends to shake and spiral but fast grown off the stool seems stable.

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Having built our windows and doors from Siberian larch next time I would look for an engineered wood like this http://www.lathamtimber.co.uk/products/engineered-timber-woodex-/woodex-reg-/red-grandis-

 

I have had trouble with movement opening up the sealant around the DG panels. Now part of this is probably down to the fact my "kiln dried" larch was not as dry as it should have been. To be fair to the Larch we have had not rot problems and the windows must be getting on for 10 years old now.

 

Can't stand the look of Acoya but can see the appeal if it's good as claimed.

 

Made windows in Idigbo for a customer and they were far more stable than ours. You won't get mahogany but Sapele is OK 

 

Edit. Here is another supplier of engineered wood for windows http://www.timbmet.com/uk/products/range/engineered-timber/tec-door-window-stair-parts/

Edited by Woodworks
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2 hours ago, Bunzena said:

Hi - looking for some advice and opinions on the best wood to build some windows.  The softwood ones in our current home are less than 10 years old and many are simply rotting away.  Despite being reasonably well cared for.   The Pine [Deal?] they are made from flexes and moves in the heat and cold - and it's not long before water enters the end-grain and the rot starts.  The movement also seems to 'blow' the double glazing units with alarming regularity too.  We didn't fit them - and there's no warranty or come back.

 

I've replaced a couple with joinery-made windows made from Accoya.  Brilliantly stable and supposedly durable - the problem is they cost a fortune. 

 

So I've resolved to make some more replacements myself.

 

Windows have to be wood - not interested in uPVC >:( or aluminium.

 

They will be painted - but want to use a hardwood - or [like Accoya] a durable/chemically altered softwood.  It needs to be readily available and not be so exotic as to cost an arm and a leg.  Have researched and researched - and just got more confused. 

 

Any thoughts?

 

Thanks.

 

Accoya is indeed one of the best options.  You should be able to purchase it for around the same price as Oak.  So not cheap, but most of the cost of bespoke wooden windows is the labour so if you have the ability to do the joinery yourself this should work out pretty economical.

 

Otherwise if you really want to save cash good clean Larch or Douglas Fir - but you may have to buy it unseasoned and dry it yourself, as very few people dry these timbers in the UK.  Your other problem with UK grown timber is finding stock that is really clean - you don't want to be battling knots at every step.   Also not as stable as Accoya.

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find yourself some reclaimed pitch pine from older house pulldowns, your looking for floor joists and rafters, a bit more prep work but will produce long lasting windows

 

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Thanks to all who've replied.  Great suggestions.   

 

Woodworks - completely get that you don't like the look of Accoya [it doesn't look like wood!] - but it seems to perform like nothing else.  It simply doesn't move.  Finding a decent source isn't proving easy. 

 

[Also thanks for those links - will look at the options carefully. We bought some bi-fold doors about 5 years ago made of laminated Oak and they have been extraordinarily good.]

 

Douglas Fir appeals - but, as you say Squaredy, may be hard to find fully seasoned.  And there are some people who claim it can be hard to paint. 

 

Love the idea of Sweet Chestnut openspeaceman!  Never seen or come across anyone that has used it for windows though.  Given how durable it is - might be worth a shot.

 

Interesting thought agrimog.   We used to live in an old Victorian house that had windows made of some sort of Pine. Close grained and so hard the painter and decorator we had reckoned it was 'ossified'.  No rot, took paint beautifully.  So that is a thought too.

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Thanks to all who've replied.  Great suggestions.   
 
Woodworks - completely get that you don't like the look of Accoya [it doesn't look like wood!] - but it seems to perform like nothing else.  It simply doesn't move.  Finding a decent source isn't proving easy. 
 
[Also thanks for those links - will look at the options carefully. We bought some bi-fold doors about 5 years ago made of laminated Oak and they have been extraordinarily good.]
 
Douglas Fir appeals - but, as you say Squaredy, may be hard to find fully seasoned.  And there are some people who claim it can be hard to paint. 
 
Love the idea of Sweet Chestnut openspeaceman!  Never seen or come across anyone that has used it for windows though.  Given how durable it is - might be worth a shot.
 
Interesting thought agrimog.   We used to live in an old Victorian house that had windows made of some sort of Pine. Close grained and so hard the painter and decorator we had reckoned it was 'ossified'.  No rot, took paint beautifully.  So that is a thought too.
If your wanting hardwood for a paint finish, then think about sapele. I use it at work for exterior door frames. Very good longevity. Bit of a pain to work with though.

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For painted windows look into using Linseed Oil paint, modern paints are really useless.

Google it and do your research.

Kiln dried Sapele will move around a lot so beware, iv'e been back to doors and windows 3 times

where they have expanded and stuck in the frames.

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find yourself some reclaimed pitch pine from older house pulldowns, your looking for floor joists and rafters, a bit more prep work but will produce long lasting windows

 

 

40 years ago we got some old factory floor joists a foot deep and about 9” wide. There was some surplus planking (made from the joists) that a builder friend used as gutter boards around a Workshop I had built 28 years ago. I didn’t mean him to waste them there but was working offshore to find them up on return. I never painted them but checked them 10 years ago when I sold the property. They had a bit of algae on them and were discoloured but otherwise still solid. 18 years unpainted in Scotland and still solid

Whenever I get the chance I buy up pitch pine. My last lot came from a church that was being removed.

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