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Timber Windows: What You Should Know Before You Buy

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Inside shot of Hardwick flush casement timber window installed in a traditional derbyshire home

Timber Windows: What You Should Know Before You Buy

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Published on: December 23rd, 2021

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Timber Windows – a buyer’s guide

Timber windows are stylish and have a natural look that will enhance the beauty of your home. They are also easy to maintain, durable, and provide great insulation. Timber windows are environmentally friendly, as they help you save energy by helping your home stay warmer in winter and cooler in summer. These benefits make timber windows an excellent choice for anyone looking for a premium window. Here is what you need to know before making the final decision on whether these windows are right for you.

What are timber windows?

Timber windows are windows that are made from wood! This natural material is durable, beautiful, and maintainable. Timber windows will provide you with great insulation, can be custom-made to suit your home, and are environmentally friendly.

Timber windows are suitable for any style of property, both traditional and contemporary. You can find them in single or double-hung, casement, tilt-turn, or sliding sash styles.

The benefits of timber windows

Timber windows are better for the environment

Timber windows are environmentally friendly. In a recent study in conjunction with Derby University, Gowercroft compared our own timber windows with those of another manufacturer. We also compared timber windows with aluminium and plastic (uPVC) windows.

Whilst you would expect timber windows to be more environmentally friendly, even we were surprised by the results. Over the lifespan of our products, they deliver a significantly positive impact in terms of Carbon Dioxide equivalent, energy usage and all other environmental factors featured in the LINA assessment, this is delivered through long-term sequestration of Carbon in the timber, reduced energy use due to the high-performance levels, low levels of maintenance over a long life span, and relatively easy recovery at end of life. We have taken great pains to make our workshop and manufacturing processes as environmentally friendly as possible too, which feeds back into these results.

The competitor’s timber windows didn’t fare so well as the wood wasn’t as long-lasting and the manufacturing process was less conscientious. However, this result was nothing compared to the highly damaging extraction, energy-intensive manufacturing processes and relatively low recycling rates for Aluminium and uPVC windows.

Timber windows can last longer

Timber windows when made by reputable firms dedicated to quality and longevity can exceed a 70-year lifespan, with relatively minimal maintenance. The use of modern, treated timbers that are impervious to water and seasonal expansion and contraction significantly improve lifespan. We also use microporous paints and varnishes that prevent water ingress while allowing the wood to breathe and dry (a bit like a Gore-Tex® jacket for your windows!).

Poor quality softwood or uPVC windows can only be expected to give a 10-20 year service life and some are significantly worse than that. Frequently the last few years of these other windows lives are very inefficient, seals start to deteriorate and the frames start to lose their shape, causing draughts and leaks.

Who should consider timber windows?

People who want premium windows

For people who want the best windows, timber windows are a great choice. Timber windows are naturally beautiful and have a natural look. They can have a more traditional appearance, which is a great option for anyone looking for a classic window. Plus, they’re easy to maintain and come with a variety of options to suit different budgets. These benefits make timber windows a great choice for anyone looking for a premium window.

There are few downsides to timber windows. Even the higher price is offset by the fact that they last so much longer than other types of windows.

People who want energy efficiency

Timber windows are a great choice if you want energy efficiency. They’re a good option for any climate and keep a home at a comfortable temperature, especially when coupled with super-efficient double glazing or even vacuum glass.

Timber windows are energy-efficient, which means they help you save energy and reduce your carbon footprint. The base substrate is more thermal efficient than other window types, meaning that they are warmer to the touch and very rarely have build-ups of condensation. This can help your heating and cooling bills, and it will help you be more environmentally friendly.

People who live in older buildings

Timber windows are perfect for older buildings because they will be more authentic to the original design. Some older buildings such as Listed Buildings or those within a conservation area may have to fit windows that match as closely as possible the original items. These are often called Heritage Windows. Heritage Windows are special because they typically have much narrower double glazing than standard windows to appear as authentic as possible. The super-efficient Vacuum Glazing mentioned earlier is excellent for this type of window as it has the narrowest profile of any double-glazed window.

Gowercroft produce an award-winning range of heritage windows – read more about them here.

Listed building after renovation by the heritage window company Gowercroft
Heritage windows installed in a listed building

How to reduce maintenance

People often think that timber windows need a lot more maintenance than plastic or metal windows, but this isn’t always the case.

Timber windows made with the modern timbers mentioned earlier – Accoya® and Red Grandis – and coated with modern paints can give a lifetime of service with the minimum of maintenance. Because the modern woods don’t expand or contract as much as standard timbers, the paint or varnish is under less stress and is less likely to split or crack. It’s these cracks in the paint that shorten the life of timber windows. They let water in which rots the wood. In winter the water freezes and forces the wood fibres apart, speeding up the deterioration process. Aside from the internal damage, the cracked and blistered paint looks awful and needs hours of work to keep it looking good.

When modern microporous paints are used in combination with treated woods, there is very little expansion and contraction in the wood, and moisture is kept out while still allowing the timber to breathe. As a result, the paint will hardly ever crack and the wood is more resistant to any water ingress anyway. This means that a well-made window using these materials will last over 70 years with minimal maintenance and periodic recoating.

Gowercroft timber windows come with a 10-year warranty and we also offer a maintenance service called TimbaCare which means you never have to lift a brush in anger again!


Timber windows are a very durable and environmentally friendly way to improve the appearance of your home. They’re a great investment that will last a lifetime and offer a variety of benefits. If you’re interested in installing timber windows in your home, it’s worth taking the time to learn about them!