Key trends for timber windows
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Key trends for timber windows
Jonathan Hey,managing director at Westbury Joinery, discusses the longevity and aesthetics afforded by timber windows...
In the larger scheme of a building project, windows and doors can, on occasion, be considered merely another component to check off the list.
This can be a grave underestimation of their importance, for windows and doors are a superb opportunity for architects to make a design statement that adds an incredible finish to a well-designed building.
They should, in fact, be a focal point, furnishing the exterior much like the occupants will furnish their interior.
Windows are considered the eyes of the property, bringing natural light in and framing the outside world for the occupants.
Whether choosing a traditional sash or a contemporary casement, the windows you choose make an enormous contribution to the final aesthetics.
Historically, modern developments used modern window styles, however, the classic look of sash windows has seen a rise in popularity over the past five years in new builds for a more traditional and timeless look.
When opening an entrance door it is said to be like shaking hands with the house.
Therefore, an entrance door that suits the architecture of the property is essential.
Material, design, door furniture and size are vital elements to consider.
A small door for example, on a large house with a sizable entrance would not support correct proportioning - consider even a double door for a look of grandeur.
An essential of installation aesthetics Architects should consider the windows from the outset when planning a design to ensure the correct recess for installation.
Recessing a window back from the exterior of the building gives depth and shadow.
A traditional styling often forgotten making an incredible difference.
Correct recessing also reduces the wearing effects of weathering and helps to increase the lifespan of the installation, as well as reducing some unnecessary heat loss.
This recess is recommended at 75mm as a maximum and 20mm as a minimum.
For replacement windows where a recess exists, previously the trend was to bring the window forward, however, in recent years it has once again become fashionable and logical to keep this feature in order to provide character and style.
A more traditional extended cill projection has also become increasingly popular even on modern homes.
Technicalities of quality manufacture Choosing timber windows, designed in a traditional style but made using modern technologies, provides the greatest longevity for both aesthetics and durability.
For example, modern joinery machinery can create cuts for joints so precise that no sanding is required.
Paint manufacturers highly recommend that a surface is not sanded prior to application of paint, as this can cause raised wood fibres which can increase the ingress of moisture over a period, reducing the life of the paint finish and the timber.
As a word of warning, all timber windows are not made in the same way.
However proficient they are technically, fenestration products are only as good as the material used.
Today, quality manufacturers use engineered, knot free (clear graded) timber which has been procured from sustainable sources.
This engineered timber increases the stability and durability of the products, outperforming the hardwood species that would have previously been deemed as superior.
Many architects still specify tropical hardwoods which not only do not meet today's environmental standards, but also fail to match the stability, paint adhesion and overall performance of quality engineered softwood's.
Timber framed windows create curb appeal, which has been proven to actually add value to a property when replacing inappropriately designed products.
Correctly designed wooden windows and doors are beautiful, energy efficient and, if maintained correctly, have a service life beyond that of the building.
You only have to look at a period property to see sash windows that have lasted for hundreds of years.
No product is maintenance free, be it plastic or timber, but the difference with timber is that it is the only naturally renewable window and door material.
Maintenance is kept to a minimum with good structural detailing, quality engineered timber and modern paint systems which allow the timber to breathe and move.
In summary, timber windows and doors allow for a vast range of design options, and styles which, can be argued, are more pleasing aesthetically than those produced in plastic or aluminium.
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