Window casements are a preferred form of windows as they allow maximum ventilation. Traditionally they were made of materials such as wood or metal. However, UPVC (Unplasticized PolyVinyl Chloride) window casements have increasingly gained popularity over traditional materials for a many number of years. A few reasons why UPVC window casements have been favoured for so long is its ease of maintenance, high thermal insulation ability, low cost and durability against the elements.
However traditional materials are making a comeback. This is following improvement in the technology from the treatment of the materials to the construction of the materials and casements themselves.
Maintenance: Pros and Cons
Of course, UPVC still has many benefits. UPVC is a highly resistant material which allows use of any detergent for cleaning and does not require painting over or lubrication of any sort during its lifetime. This does away with the usual hassles of periodic painting or polishing that used to be required in the case of wooden window casements.
Use of such paint or polish could also prove hazardous to children and infants given to tendencies of biting or licking the painted or polished surfaces of wooden windows. However, with the new composite materials available for the job, that now require minimal maintenance, this is no longer an issue.
Insulation and Energy Efficiency
UPVC window casements and wooden window casements both offer an enhanced level of thermal insulation. Whilst wood itself is a poor conductor of heat in itself and can function effectively as an insulator, UPVC can sometimes provide greater efficiency of thermal insulation and therefore, has a greater rating of energy efficiency.
However, new wooden casements made from Accoya wood (see our Accoya page to learn more) are extremely energy efficient, and our timber-alu-clad window casements offer multiple layers of insulation around the window seals.
Cost: Wood vs. UPVC casements
Thirdly, UPVC are extremely cost efficient during installation as well as after that. UPVC, being a man-made material, can be tailored with respect to the requirements of a customer by changing a few modifiers and stabilizers added to PVC material. This makes UPVC usually cheaper than wooden casements, but with wood you are paying extra to add quality casements and a traditional and warm feel to your home.
You can also now get a lot more freedom of choice with wooden window casements in the same way as UPVC, however because they are required to undergo several processes and treatments to achieve properties as demanded by a customer, this is why they are usually more expensive. Wood can also be more customised than UPVC, which often comes hand-in-hand with cost, but embellishments and variety of wood choices enable you to create a custom look rather than an out-of-the-box white plastic look.
Durability: Wood Casements vs UPVC
Durability, is the factor which is most attractive in a UPVC window casement, since it is durable against all elements of weather, be it heat, cold, exposure to sunlight or snow. With traditional wooden window casements, you would have found the polish tends to flake away with constant exposure to the elements, but with designs such as the timber-aluminium casement, you get the durability of the metal ensuring the exterior is protected whilst allowing you to enjoy a wooden interior.
Wooden casements made from engineered Accoya wood also is extremely durable, with a guarantee of over 50 years – something UPVC may not be now able to boast. Like UPVC, Accoya wooden window casements owe their durability and longevity to its strength and engineered design, and is both UV resistant and weather resistant, so it does not fade or take on a dull appearance over time.
Appearance: Pros and Cons
While UPVC has several advantages over wooden window casements, the latter are still in demand for the classic aesthetic appeal they have over UPVC window casements. The aesthetic appeal exerted by wooden window casements ensures greater value of the property in which they are installed.
Both UPVC window casements and wooden window casements have their advantages, but ultimately it is up to the look you would most like for your home, and whether you wish your window casements to add to your property or simply offer functionality. If the former, then the difference in cost should simply be seen as an investment in your home, and is one that will make you money in the long run, whilst allowing you to allow the luxurious feel of adding wood to your home.