16Nov 2023

Timber vs UPVC Windows: Making the Right Choice for Your Home

Posted in: Comparisons  –  By Patchett Joinery

Are you torn between timber framed windows or UPVC windows for your home? Do you ask yourself, “What are UPVC windows?” or “What benefits do wooden window frames offer?” Let’s delve into the advantages of both.

Timber windows, often called wooden replacement windows, bring a classic charm and warmth to any home. They’re known for their durability and timeless appeal. While UPVC windows, sometimes known for their wooded effect, offer modern homeowners a low-maintenance and cost-effective solution.

This article is perfect for homeowners, architects, and anyone keen on understanding the differences between timber vs UPVC windows.

By the end, you’ll have a clear picture of which window type suits your needs best. So, let’s continue to learn more about these two popular window materials.

Understanding UPVC: What Does UPVC Stand For?

UPVC stands for Unplasticised Polyvinyl Chloride. It’s a type of plastic known for its durability and resistance to weathering. Unlike other plastics, UPVC doesn’t contain any plasticisers, making it harder and non-flexible.

This makes it an ideal material for windows and doors. Its properties, weather-resistant and low maintenance, have made it a popular choice for homeowners.

Town Houses with White UPVC Window Frames Installed

What uPVC Window Styles Can You Get?

uPVC windows come in a range of styles, each designed to meet specific architectural and aesthetic needs. Here’s a breakdown of some popular uPVC window styles:

  1. uPVC Casement Windows: Hinged windows that open outwards, providing good ventilation and a modern look.
  2. uPVC Sliding Sash Windows: These slide vertically, offering a blend of traditional and modern UPVC benefits.
  3. uPVC Tilt & Turn: Flexible windows that can tilt inwards for ventilation or open fully.
  4. uPVC Bay Windows: These extend from the home, allowing more light and space.
  5. uPVC Bespoke Windows: Custom windows tailored to specific needs, ensuring a perfect fit and design.

What are the Uses of uPVC Window?

They offer a range of benefits, from durability to energy efficiency. But beyond these advantages, uPVC windows are versatile and can be used in various settings and styles. Here are five common uses of uPVC windows:

  1. Standard Home Windows: These windows provide insulation and security for everyday living.
  2. Conservatories: uPVC is often chosen for conservatories due to its resistance to weathering and ability to maintain a consistent temperature.
  3. Office Buildings: For modern office spaces, uPVC windows offer a sleek look while ensuring energy efficiency.
  4. High-Rise Apartments: Due to their durability and low maintenance, uPVC windows are often used in apartment complexes.
  5. Schools and Institutions: Schools often opt for uPVC windows because of their safety features and long lifespan.

What Is Timber?

Timber is essentially wood that’s been processed for use. It’s a natural material that’s been a part of human civilisation for ages. From building homes to crafting furniture, timber’s versatility is unmatched.

Especially in window framing, timber framed windows offer a blend of aesthetics and functionality. They bring a touch of nature indoors, providing warmth and charm that’s hard to replicate.
If you’re interested in exploring the range of timber windows, check out our timber casement windows and sliding sash windows.

A wooden window frame with roses at the bottom part

Different Types of Timber Used in Windows

Timber, a natural resource, comes in various types, each with unique properties. Regarding window styles, certain types of timber are preferred due to their durability and appearance.

  1. Oak: Known for its strength and durability. It’s a popular choice for window frames.
  2. Pine: Lighter in weight and colour, it’s often used for indoor frames.
  3. Mahogany: Rich in colour and highly durable, it’s a premium choice for windows.
  4. Teak: Resistant to moisture and termites, making it ideal for windows.
  5. Cedar: Lightweight and resistant to decay, it’s often used for its aromatic properties.

What are the Uses of Timber?

Because of its versatility, Timber wood is used in many applications. Here are some common applications:

  1. Furniture Making: Tables, chairs, and cabinets.
  2. Flooring: Timber floors add warmth and elegance to any space.
  3. Roofing: Timber trusses are commonly used in roofing for their strength.
  4. Decking: Outdoor spaces often feature timber for its natural look.
  5. Fencing: Timber fences are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Timber vs uPVC Windows — What’s the Difference in Looks?

Regarding the aesthetic appeal of windows, both timber and uPVC have their unique charm. Timber windows exude a classic and timeless beauty reminiscent of old-world charm.

Their natural grain patterns and warm tones can add character to any home. On the other hand, uPVC windows offer a sleek and modern appearance. They come in various colours and can easily fit into contemporary home designs.

FeatureTimber WindowsuPVC Windows
AppearanceClassic, NaturalModern, Sleek
TextureNatural Wood GrainSmooth
CustomisationCan be stained or paintedAvailable in various colours
SuitabilityTraditional homes, heritage sitesModern homes, commercial spaces

Disclaimer: The above table provides a general comparison and the actual appearance can vary based on specific designs and finishes chosen.

Timber vs uPVC Windows: Aesthetic Differences

The visual distinction between timber and uPVC windows is evident in their finishes and colour options. While timber can be stained to enhance its natural beauty, uPVC windows offer a variety of colour choices.

FeatureTimber WindowsuPVC Windows
FinishesStains, PaintsColour options, including wooded effect uPVC windows
Visual AppealWarm, NaturalClean, Contemporary

Comparing Material Properties: Timber vs uPVC Windows

When choosing windows, understanding the material properties is crucial. Timber windows are revered for their natural strength and durability.

Being a natural material, timber has inherent properties that make it resistant to certain elements. In contrast, uPVC windows are made from a type of plastic which offers its own set of advantages, including resistance to rot and corrosion.

FeatureTimber WindowsuPVC Windows
DurabilityHigh (natural resistance to elements)High (resistant to rot and corrosion)
StrengthStrong (natural wood strength)Moderate (reinforced with steel or aluminium)
Physical PropertiesNatural grain and textureSmooth, consistent finish

Energy Efficiency Showdown: Timber vs uPVC Windows

Energy efficiency is a top concern for homeowners. Timber framed windows have natural insulating properties, helping to maintain indoor temperatures. uPVC windows, on the other hand, are designed with multi-chambered profiles that trap air, acting as a barrier to heat transfer.

FeatureTimber WindowsuPVC Windows
InsulationNatural insulatorMulti-chambered design for insulation
Energy SavingsCan help reduce energy billsEffective in maintaining indoor temperatures

Lifespan Analysis: Timber vs uPVC Windows

The longevity of a window type is a significant factor in decision-making. While timber windows, with proper care, can last for decades, uPVC windows also offer a long lifespan with minimal maintenance.

FeatureTimber WindowsuPVC Windows
LongevityCan last decades with proper careTypically lasts 20-30 years with minimal maintenance

Ensuring Safety: Security Considerations for Timber and uPVC Windows

Safety and security are paramount when selecting windows. Timber window frames provide a sturdy barrier and, when paired with the right type of glass, can offer enhanced security. uPVC windows are often reinforced with steel or aluminium, providing added strength against forced entry.

FeatureTimber WindowsuPVC Windows
Security FeaturesSturdy frame can be paired with security glassReinforced with steel or aluminium for added strength

Sustainability Spotlight: Timber and uPVC Windows

Timber windows, being a natural resource, are often viewed as environmentally friendly, especially when sourced from responsibly managed forests. Their biodegradability stands as a testament to their eco-friendliness, ensuring that they leave a minimal footprint on our planet.

On the flip side, uPVC windows are made from plastic, which raises questions about their environmental impact. However, their long lifespan and recyclability make them a contender in the sustainability debate.

FeatureTimber WindowsuPVC Windows
SourceNatural resource, renewable if responsibly sourcedSynthetic, derived from plastic
LifespanCan last decades with proper careTypically lasts 20-30 years
RecyclabilityBiodegradable, leaving a minimal environmental footprintCan be recycled multiple times
Carbon FootprintAbsorbs CO2 during growth, eco-friendlyManufacturing can have higher emissions, but long lifespan can offset

Maintenance Guide: Timber vs uPVC Windows

When it comes to window upkeep, the materials you choose can dictate the effort and frequency of maintenance. Timber windows, with their elegant and premium nature, require periodic care. This maintenance not only ensures they remain functional but also enhances their lifespan and beauty, making every effort worthwhile.

Caring for Timber Windows

Timber windows radiate a natural elegance that homeowners cherish. However, to maintain their pristine condition and ensure longevity, a consistent care routine is essential. Here’s how you can keep them in their best shape:

  1. Regular Cleaning: Keep them looking fresh by dusting and wiping them with a damp cloth.
  2. Protection: Every few years, it’s wise to apply a protective sealant or paint. This step helps them resist the elements and keeps their look vibrant.
  3. Check for Damages: Especially after storms or severe weather, it’s good to check for signs of rot or other damage.

Cleaning and Maintaining uPVC Windows

uPVC windows, with their modern appeal, are designed for convenience. While they’re relatively low-maintenance, some care can go a long way in preserving their appearance and functionality. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Routine Cleaning: A simple wipe with soapy water and a soft cloth keeps them clean.
  2. Avoid Abrasives: To keep their finish smooth, always use non-abrasive cleaners.
  3. Hardware Check: It’s a good habit to check that locks and hinges are functioning well regularly.

Cost Analysis: Affordability of Timber vs. uPVC Windows

Choosing the right windows for your home is not just about aesthetics; it’s also about investment. While both timber and uPVC windows have their respective price points, it’s crucial to consider the long-term value and charm that each brings. Timber, with its timeless appeal, often stands out as a worthy investment.

FeatureTimber WindowsuPVC Windows
Initial InvestmentWhile slightly higher, it reflects the quality and craftsmanship of natural material.Often lower but may lack the bespoke charm of timber.
Long-Term ValueAdds significant value to properties; longevity ensures a one-time quality investment.It is more affordable initially but may require replacements sooner, adding to long-term costs.
Maintenance CostsPeriodic, but enhance the window’s lifespan and beautyLow, but without the periodic touch-ups that keep timber windows looking pristine.

Disclaimer: The above costings are general estimates. Prices can vary based on suppliers and specific requirements. It’s always wise to get multiple quotes and consider the lasting value of your investment, especially in the UK.

Considering Alternatives: Aluminium-Frame Windows

Some homeowners pick aluminium-frame windows for their clean design and ongoing strength. These windows give homes a fresh, updated look. But, while aluminium has a modern feel, it can’t match the charm and cosy feel of timber window frames. For those who love a mix of old and new, timber is still the top choice.

Timber vs uPVC Windows: Concluding Thoughts

When deciding between timber and uPVC windows, it often comes down to individual preferences and home needs.

Timber windows offer timeless elegance and durability, seamlessly blending tradition with modern efficiency. While uPVC windows have advantages like cost-effectiveness and easy upkeep, they don’t quite match the authentic charm and premium feel of timber.

Discover the blend of tradition and innovation at Patchett Joinery, with over 170 years of crafting premium timber windows and doors. Making the correct choice means aligning with your home’s essence and preferences. For expert guidance, reach out to our seasoned team.