When it comes to purchasing windows, homeowners have more options than ever before. While every manufacturer makes convincing arguments that a window frame built of a particular material is superior to others, the truth is that different materials are better suited to different situations and different aesthetic designs. There are applications for every type of window frame, but wood excels in a number of areas. In fact, wood windows offers some substantial benefits over other types of window frame material.
The Benefits of Wooden Window Frames
The biggest benefit of wood is that it has a classic look and feel that can’t be matched by any other product. This is particularly true for owners of more traditional homes, where vinyl windows, fiberglass, and other modern materials look out of place or don’t blend well that the rest of the home’s facade. It says something for the classic look of wood that manufactures attempt to mimic its appearance when building window frames from other materials.
When it comes to energy efficiency, wood insulates better and just about any other kind of frame. In fact, wood is approximately 400 times better insulating and steel and roughly 1800 times better at insulating than aluminum. Because of these excellent insulation qualities, wood not only provides a barrier against external temperature fluctuations, but also provides a barrier against sound penetration.
Wood window frames are often “greener” than their composite alternatives. Many people falsely believe that because trees must be cut to produce wooden window frames, then they cannot be as environmentally friendly as other frame types. Trees, however, are renewable resource and wood window frames will biodegrade if allowed to. Most composite frames must be manufactured either from non-renewable petroleum products or from other minerals mined through ecologically damaging processes. When it comes time to prepare window frames, nothing accepts paint, stain, and other surface preparations the way that wood does. Wood is the most customizable of all window frame options. It is also the option that adds the most to the value of a home.
Wood Frame Construction
Wooden window frames can be constructed from a number of wood species. Typically, frames are made from pine, alder, fir, or some other softwood. These woods provide the most affordable window frames on the market. More expensive frames that utilize cherry, walnut, oak, mahogany, and other exotic hardwoods can be constructed for specialty applications. Almost all window manufacturers today ensure that the wood used in their window frames comes from managed forests, where trees are harvested sustainably. Homeowners and contractors should look for windows that are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council or FSC to ensure environmental practices.
Wood Window Manufacturers
Wood windows can be purchased from major window manufacturers like Marvin, Windsor, Kolbe, and Lincoln. Windsor and Lincoln both focus on producing high quality, affordable wood windows. Lincoln, in particular focuses on windows produced using traditional mortise and tenon joinery and will create custom windows in almost any color, size, or shape. Windsor is renowned for producing some of the most affordable windows on the market. Both Marvin and Kolbe produce made-to-order windows using a variety of soft and hard woods. Both companies also offer extensive specialization options for their wood windows. Buyers can choose to use rare woods, design and develop unique divided lite patterns, invest in custom shapes, choose from exclusive finishes, and customize millwork to meet exact specifications. Both companies will also produce historically accurate replicas of windows for specialty applications.