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Wood types

Hardwood, softwood, or modified timber for your windows and doors?

Deciding on whether to choose a hardwood, a softwood, or a modified timber for your windows and doors depends on a number of factors such as your particular requirements, the properties of different woods and your budget. Whichever you choose, it’s important that the timber is correctly treated and finished so that it performs well.
We only use premium timbers which are dehumidified and treated prior to manufacture. Our products are spray painted in the factory with four coats of microporous paint or stain to give them a long lasting and durable finish. With good care and maintenance, this factory coating will protect your chosen timber from any type of degradation for many years. The timbers we offer are::
Pine – an engineered softwood, finger-jointed for extra strength.
Meranti – a ubiquitous hardwood. Solid, long-lasting and excellent value.
Oak – a dense hardwood; market-leading for both domestic and commercial use.
Accoya™ – a modified timber that has been treated with a non-toxic acetylation process which changes the cellular structure of the timber making it extremely durable and resistant to environmental damage. Accoya is virtually rot proof with a 70 year minimum service life stated by TRADA, it can even be submerged in freshwater for 25 years with out degradation (see section on What is Accoya™ at the bottom of this page for more details).
Sashed timber types
To help you decide on the most suitable timber choice for your property we have summarised the main characteristics of the timbers we offer in the table below.
Sashed timber comparison table
Wood is a truly sustainable building material, when selecting the wood type for your windows and doors there are three considerations: appearance, durability and cost.

1. Appearance

Obviously the look and feel of your windows and doors is important, one of the great benefits of wood over uPVC or metal is it’s visual warmth and aesthetic.
If you opt for painted items (not clear stains) then pine will give you a smooth finish. With meranti, oak and Accoya™ you will see more of the wood grain resulting in (in our opinion) a warmer textured finish with a visible wood grain.
Pine wooden sash windows spray painted white
Above – Pine softwood spray painted white.

Meranti wooden sash windows spray painted white
Above – Meranti hardwood spray painted white.

Oak wooden sash windows spray painted white
Above – Oak hardwood spray painted white.

Oak wooden sash windows spray painted white
Above – Accoya™ modified timber spray painted white.

If you prefer to have a stained wood finish then the colour of the wood comes into play more than the grain. Pine is a pale coloured wood, meranti is red in colour, oak has a warm colour most people are familiar with, and Accoya™ also has a warm colour but is paler than oak. We offer a range of stain colours, but the final finish will differ considerably depending on the timber you choose. We have a sample pack of our various stain colours on all our timbers that we can loan to customers considering stained finishes.
Stained Meranti Hardwood (left) next to Stained Pine Softwood (right) Stained Oak Hardwood

2. Durability

The most important factor in the longevity of your windows is the external coating of wood. We apply four coats of factory sprayed microporous paint to all our products. If maintained and cared for your factory coating should last 10 years, but this will vary depending on local conditions, for example, pollution from a busy main road will degrade the factory coating much faster. As long as your window and doors’ external coating remains intact and timbers are protected from the elements your window will last a lifetime or longer.
However, if the external coating is allowed to deteriorate so that any part of the wood is exposed to the elements then degradation of timbers will start, regardless of whether your windows are made from softwood or hardwood. That said, softwood will degrade much faster than hardwood. If you opt for pine softwood windows then the timbers will start to degrade immediately whereas hardwoods and Accoya™ will last considerably longer when exposed to the elements.
One of the most exposed elements of a window will always be the external cill, which is why all our softwood pine windows come with a hardwood cill for extended durability.

3. Cost

Our pine products offer an affordable range of timber windows and doors, and account for around 10% of customer orders.
Our meranti products cost just 20 to 30% more than pine, they are generally considered excellent value for money, and more than 60% of customer orders are in meranti.
Oak and Accoya™ is 30 to 40% more expensive than meranti, and account for around 30% of customer orders.

What is Accoya?

Accoya™ is a natural wood created by taking sustainably sourced, fast growing softwood that is modified through an innovative, non-toxic process called acetylation to create a high performance wood that has some remarkable properties.
Accoya is:
  • Is a class 1 durability wood
  • Guaranteed against timber rot for 50 years above ground and 25 years in underground moister or fresh water
  • Harder and stronger than comparable hardwoods and a better insulator
  • Highly resistant to swelling and shrinkage – by 75% or more
  • Suitable for challenging applications due to its high strength-to-weight ratio
  • Coatings such as paints and stains last 3 to 4 times longer
  • An effective barrier to mould and insect attack
  • Made from sustainable sources, and FSC approved
  • Recyclable
Accoya™ is the result of more than 80 years’ research and development that has brought together a long-established and extensively proven wood modification (acetylation) technique and leading-edge proprietary technology to create a premium, high performance wood. Accoya™ is produced from well managed sustainable sources including FSC, PEFC and other regionally certified woods. Only abundantly available, fast growing source species are used to create Accoya™.
The following video explains more about Accoya™:

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