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. At Sashed we only use top quality sustainably sourced timbers which are dehumidified and treated prior to manufacture. Our four coats of microporous paint or stain finishes are applied using a spray gun in our factory. Along with good care and maintenance of your windows and doors, this factory coating will protect your chosen timber from any type of degradation until the factory coating requires repainting.
The principle wood types we use are:
Pine – a Nordic softwood (engineered and finger-jointed for extra strength)
Meranti – an Indonesian hardwood
Oak – a European hardwood
We are also able to quote for other timbers, as follows:
Sapele – a durable tropical hardwood from West Africa
Red Grandis – a versatile and fast growing hardwood from South America
– 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. Any Sashed products made from Accoya™
benefits from a 50-year guarantee against rot.
Wood is a truly sustainable building material, and all our wood comes from sustainable sources. When selecting the wood type for your windows and doors there are four key considerations, in no particular order, these are; appearance, durability, cost, and thermal performance.
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.
Pine – Softwood
Meranti – Hardwood
Oak – Hardwood
If you opt for painted items (not clear stains) then pine and oak will give you a smoother finish. With meranti you will see more of the wood grain resulting in (in our opinion) a warmer textured finish with a visible wood grain.
Above – Pine softwood spray painted white.
Above – Meranti hardwood spray painted white.
Above – Oak hardwood 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, and oak has a warm colour most people are familiar with. 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
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 hardwood and softwood windows. 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, such as meranti and oak, 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.
Some of our larger windows and doors can only be manufactured in lighter and stronger hardwoods so it can support its own structure. For more detail on timber durability, please see the table at the bottom of this page.
Our pine products offer an affordable range of timber windows and doors, and account for around 30% 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 is 30 to 40% more expensive than meranti. If you choose a painted finish, given the additional cost of oak, we believe that meranti offers better value out of the two kinds of wood. However, when ordering stained items oak is less red in its appearance and this usually justifies the extra cost of using oak.
4. Thermal Performance
is also a consideration when choosing hardwood and softwood for your windows. There is little difference between the thermal performance of these woods when new, however hardwoods do have slightly better thermal performance than softwoods over time.
Wood type durability in more detail
The table below is information taken from an independent third party website www.wood-database.com
and shows typical measurements for the three wood types Sashed offers. As you can see meranti performs very similarly to oak, and sometimes better, in many of these durability tests.
* Specific Gravity = Density MC = moisture content.
** The Janka hardness test measures the resistance of a sample of wood to denting and wear. It measures the force required to embed an 11.28 millimetres (0.444 in) diameter steel ball halfway into a sample of wood. This method leaves a hemispherical indentation with an area of200 mm2.
*** Flexural strength, also known as modulus of rupture, or bend strength, or transverse rupture strength is a material property, defined as the stress in a material just before it yields in a flexure test.
**** Young’s modulus ( E ) describes tensile elasticity or the tendency of an object to deform along an axis when opposing forces are applied along that axis; it is defined as the ratio of tensile stress to tensile strain. It is often referred to simply as the elastic modulus.
***** Crushing Strength is the greatest compressive stress that a brittle solid can sustain without fracture.
****** Shrinkage, a change in dimensions occurring as the timber dries from a ‘green’ to a seasoned condition.