Posted: 15 March 2017
Lomax + Wood were asked to contribute to Essex Life’s ‘Ask An Expert’ feature, sharing their expertise on choosing timber for windows and doors.
Firstly, I would suggest that the first priority is to be sure that the timber is sustainably sourced. The best way is to ensure the supplier has products sold under FSC® (Forest Stewardship Council). A supplier with FSC® Chain of Custody Certification not only guarantees the timber is sustainably sourced but also that the workers welfare involved in that process is audited. The Lomax + Wood FSC® Chain of Custody also ensures the product is FSC® from source through to installation, if Lomax + Wood site fitting is specified. The fitting of wooden windows and doors is within the scope of our certification for our high performance timber sash windows, casement and doors.
Secondly the type of timber. The choice between hardwood and softwood can often be confusing and misleading with regards to the best species to use. The term hardwood and softwood does not reflect the strength of the timber or it’s durability only whether it is deciduous (hardwood) or coniferous (softwood.) For example Balsa wood is a hardwood but used for model making, it is of low density and certainly not suitable for external windows and doors. Today a quality manufacturer will offer a range of suitable softwoods and hardwoods, which are engineered laminated sections to ensure they are knot free and provide the stability and strength suitable for high performance double glazed windows and doors. These species will include European Redwood, Dark Red Meranti, European Oak and Larch. The type then chosen reflects the finish required, for example if the products are to be painted Engineered Redwood, softwood, is a suitable choice, with a tight grain ensuring it takes the paint well, It also offers an economical price. If a stained finish is desired then one of the hardwoods is usually the correct option such as engineered oak, but be careful to ensure no joints are visible on outward facing surfaces. One must also note that stained products, whether on a specie like oak or not, will require more maintenance to ensure the integrity of the surface coating than a painted product.
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