Have timber windows been framed? We look into the myths and truths about wooden window frames with Elouise Steyn, in-house architect for leading windows and doors manufacturer, Swartland.

There is an awful lot of hearsay about which material is best suited for window frames. As with any comparative views, there is a lot of invalidated opinion tossed about, which often blurs the lines of what is the truth and what isn’t. We speak to Elouise Steyn, in-house architect for leading windows and doors manufacturer, Swartland, to tackle some of the myths that pervade about wooden windows.

When it comes to window frames, there are quite a few materials to choose from, however, Elouise explains that timber remains a great choice: “Over the years, there have been a few myths that have evolved about timber windows, which is sad, as the reality is that wood remains a terrific option for durable and eco-friendly window frames. Timber windows are an aesthetically beautiful option whether you are retrofitting a heritage home or designing a contemporary new-build. They are also strong, energy efficient, a renewable resource, and highly adaptable in terms of design and climate-related aspects.” She goes on to debunk some of the myths surrounding wooden windows:

MYTH 1: Timber windows are not available with double-glazing as an option.

TRUTH: Many people believe that timber window frames are solely designed for single glazed windows, however this is not the case. Swartland for example, offers gorgeous double glazed window frames as part of its Cape Culture range – ensuring that you can still have beautiful wooden windows that are energy efficient – keeping your home warm in winter and cool in summer. Swartland’s double glazed timber windows are SANS 613-certified and compliant with all the necessary National Building Regulations. They have been tested for deflection, structural strength, water-resistance, air-tightness, operating forces, and the best possible energy efficiency.

MYTH 2: Timber windows rot quickly.

TRUTH: The truth is that if maintained and looked after correctly, rot should never be a problem and your timber windows can last a lifetime. In fact, it can be said that the longevity of any wooden window lies in it being properly sealed and maintained on an annual basis, and there is ample evidence to suggest that well maintained wooden windows made from good quality timber could last for well over 60 years. Swartland’s Ready-2-Fit range of wooden windows and doors are professionally sealed and glazed before they even leave the Swartland factory, so that when they arrive on-site, they are ready to be installed with no further labour required to seal or glaze them. This not only saves the builder and homeowner time and money on installation costs, but it also ensures that the windows and doors are adequately protected against exposure to any damp or wetness. It also vastly increases the overall build quality – ensuring that the windows and doors are finished to Swartland’s exacting standards and therefore any warrantees are upheld.

MYTH 3: Timber windows are overpriced.

TRUTH: Because timber windows can last for over 60 years, combined with the fact that they can be easily repaired, repainted and resealed – over their lifespan, they actually work out much less expensive than their counterparts. Also, if you take into consideration that wood is a great insulator, and that wooden windows tend to add to the overall property value due to their enviable aesthetics, installing wooden windows offers an excellent return on investment.

MYTH 4: Timber windows require extensive maintenance.

TRUTH: With the use of water-based sealants, maintaining your wooden windows is a synch – quick and easy, with no more sanding required. Simply wash the frame when you wash your windows with normal soapy water. Rinse with water to remove any soapy residues. Then apply the water-based sealant by simply spreading it on to a sponge and wiping it onto the timber. It is exceptionally fast-drying, ensuring optimum time savings. What’s more is that a good quality water-based sealant, such as Swartland’s German engineered Maxicare Water-based Sealant, also boast a number of other useful benefits, including increased flexibility, excellent durability, it is UV-resistant, non-flammable, lead-free, as well as being stain- and water-repellent. The darker hues usually contain heat-reflecting pigments, which results in a lower surface temperature of the wood – thereby reducing movement in the substrate. And, in order to protect the wood against fungus and dry rot, it contains powerful anti-fungal agents.

MYTH 5: Timber windows aren’t energy efficient.

TRUTH: This couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, good quality wooden windows such as those Swartland for example, offer the best insulative value and the highest cradle-to-grave environmentally friendly credentials on the market. As a rule, wood has an impressively low thermal conductivity, which means it is an excellent natural insulator. The innate thermal properties of timber easily meet mandatory energy efficiency regulations. As a material, it is also carbon neutral, recyclable, and an entirely renewable resource if sourced from sustainably managed forests.

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