26 Jun uPVC vs Timber Windows and Doors
Timber and uPVC are the main materials used to produce windows and doors for UK homes and other properties. If you’re looking for casement windows or patio doors, say, you may well be asking yourself, ‘Timber or uPVC – which should I choose?’ or ‘Which is best?’
When you’re trying to decide which material is the right choice for your home, comparing timber and uPVC’s particular qualities is an excellent starting point. We’ve created this guide to uPVC vs timber windows and doors to help you make a well-informed decision.
Natural or Synthetic
Timber is wood that’s been specially grown and prepared so that craftspeople, such as our Devon joinery team, can turn it into useful products. A particularly outstanding timber is Accoya, which is treated to make it exceptionally durable.
The abbreviation uPVC stands for unplasticized polyvinyl chloride. This is a rigid plastic (‘unplasticized’ means it doesn’t contain plasticizers, which make plastic flexible).
Buildings have been fitted with timber windows and doors for centuries. The grand Ham House in London boasts wooden sash windows from the 1600s! However, uPVC windows and doors are relative newcomers – they didn’t become mainstream products until the 1980s.
Bespoke or Mass-Produced
Wood is warm, beautiful and full of character, so wooden doors and windows make homes more luxurious. It’s fair to say that uPVC products are less characterful.
Whereas we offer bespoke timber windows and doors that are largely crafted by hand, uPVC is mass-produced. So comparing our wooden patio doors with uPVC doors is like comparing tailor-made suits with ‘off-the-peg’ versions. Mass-produced products are unlikely to give you the same level of satisfaction as bespoke options.
Imagine your neighbour gets uPVC casement windows. They might last for 20 years.
If you choose timber casement windows, your neighbour will turn green with envy when they realise your windows could last several decades longer than theirs! Timber can last for generations (just think of Ham House’s windows). Indeed, Accoya windows can have 90-year lifespans.
Maintenance and Repair
A selling point for uPVC doors and windows is they’re low maintenance. Just wipe them down, clean the glass and oil the hardware.
Timber products may require a little more looking after (for example, sash window care involves lubricating the tracks occasionally). But thanks to modern innovations, they’re low maintenance too. For example, we use breathable microporous paint for our windows and doors, which lasts for many years and prevents soggy wood. And while wood movement is natural, timbers such as Accoya resist warping.
Plus, as our sash window restorations demonstrate, timber is repairable. That isn’t true of uPVC, which is prone to bowing, yellowing, peeling and going brittle. When that happens, it must be replaced.
Matching Your Home’s Style
Think of uPVC and you think basic, modern, white. These days, more colours are available, and some products emulate traditional styles, such as leaded windows. Even so, uPVC has few customisation options and looks out of place in period settings. Planning authorities may well object to uPVC installations at listed buildings or in conservation areas.
If you have a period home, casement windows, etc. made of timber are almost certainly best. We design our products in an architecturally sensitive manner, and even the smallest details are customisable. The casement windows we made for a Grade II listed Devon cottage are superb examples.
Timber works brilliantly with modern buildings too – it’s so versatile. Our bi-fold windows gave a Devon restaurant a fresh look.
Double-glazed uPVC windows are commonplace, but what about timber ones?
Timber windows are the most energy-efficient kind and can be double-glazed for enhanced performance. We even offer slimline heritage double glazing to complement period architecture.
Our timber is responsibly sourced, and we work with Eden Reforestation Projects to plant hundreds of trees and make a positive environmental impact.
Unlike uPVC at the end of its useful life, timber is 100% biodegradable and doesn’t contribute to plastic waste or release harmful chemicals.
Value for Money
Because their manufacturers benefit from economies of scale, uPVC products are relatively inexpensive.
Bespoke timber products may represent a slightly bigger investment – but as the Wood Window Alliance emphasises, they’re better value as they can last so much longer.
Bespoke Timber Windows and Doors
uPVC vs timber windows and doors – which is right for you?
Timber has many advantages over uPVC. It’s natural, beautiful, lasts for decades, works with traditional and modern styles, and is a fantastic investment, to name just a few.
As South Devon window and door specialists, we’re passionate about making high-quality timber products to enhance your home and lifestyle.
Looking for superb timber windows and doors? Contact JTP Joinery today.