The ideal wood types for creating window frames include Red Grandis, Accoya, Oak, Idigbo, Iroko, Sapele, and European Redwood (commonly referred to as “softwood”). This article will discuss the pros and cons of these woods based on our experience, helping you make a more informed decision. However, it is always advised to consult a professional to find the best option for your specific situation.
Red Grandis: A Durable and Responsible Choice
Red Grandis hardwood is an excellent choice for high-quality windows, doors, and joinery products, primarily due to its durability and responsible supply chain. The merchants we source our timber from only sell FSC chain of custody-certified Red Grandis. This wood is similar in strength to oak, machines well, and has a high density compared to other woods used for windows and doors, making it more resistant to dents and scuffs. Red Grandis is our top recommendation for windows, doors, and joinery.
Accoya: A Sustainable and Durable Option
Accoya wood, derived from plantation-grown Radiata Pine in New Zealand, undergoes a treatment process in the Netherlands that results in a highly durable timber. Accoya wood is ideal for windows and offers several benefits. However, ensure that you purchase windows with a proper finish coating and use high-quality brass or stainless steel fittings due to the wood’s acidic nature. While Accoya wood can be more expensive, its renewability and durability make it an attractive choice for those looking for eco-friendly wood windows.
Oak: A Timeless and Culturally Significant Choice
Oak wood has a deep cultural significance and offers durability, making it a popular choice for window frames. However, oak is not without its drawbacks. The cost of oak wood can make it the most expensive option, and its moisture movement can cause issues, especially in wetter climates. Furthermore, the grain may open up when exposed to the elements, and finishes can break down quickly, leading to washed-out areas that can blacken or turn gray. While oak windows can be an excellent option, they do require regular maintenance like any other window.
Idigbo: A Versatile and Durable Alternative
Idigbo is a well-rounded wood type suitable for external joinery. It has proven to be durable, cost-effective, and stable, making it a popular choice before Red Grandis took its place as our top recommendation. Idigbo is suitable for various finishes, including stain and paint, and can be a decent substitute for oak. The environmental impact of Idigbo, however, has led us to recommend Red Grandis instead.
Iroko: A Teak Substitute with Challenges
Iroko is a hard and extremely durable wood, making it a suitable option for window frames. However, it is not always our first choice due to its higher cost, tool wear, and occasional distortion or bending. Iroko’s oily nature can also make it challenging to achieve long-term success with coatings. We recommend staining Iroko and reapplying the stain regularly to maintain its appearance.
Sapele: Mahogany Look with Moisture Movement Issues
Sapele wood has been used in joinery for its dense and hard properties, as well as its resemblance to mahogany. However, it has moisture movement issues, particularly in damp regions like Devon, leading to site visits for adjustments. While Sapele may still be suitable for some clients, we recommend Red Grandis as a better alternative for wooden windows, doors, and joinery.
European Redwood: A Classic Choice with Limitations
European Redwood, often referred to as “softwood” or “pine,” used to be the top choice for window frames for centuries. Many old windows made from this wood are still in use today. However, we no longer recommend European Redwood due to issues related to its decline, especially in exposed locations. Instead, we suggest using Red Grandis for windows, doors, and joinery.
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