21 Jul Wood or UPVC windows – the truth behind the myths in Enfield and East Finchley to help you decide
Windows can be romanticised by some people as the lens through which the sunrises and sunsets are seen from your home, the frame around your family’s fun garden moments or the way you flood your home with the sun’s warmth to make it all the more cosy, no matter the time of year… yup, I’m one of those people. I’m a big fan of letting the light in – it makes for a more homely home. But when you put this emotion to one side there is a practical decision for you to make when you call in a builder to extend, build or refurbish your home – will you choose wood or UPVC?
At a fundamental level the considerations that will guide our choice are likely to be 1) the aesthetic – the look of the windows, 2) the impact on the value of your home, 3) durability, 4) environmental impact, 5) security, and 6) cost.
If you have a modern house, then UPVC may well suit the look and feel of your home and, as they are often cheaper than wood, you may be able to invest in larger expenses of window for the same cost. However, if you’re looking to paint your windows to suit the design of your home inside and out then wood is the clear choice.
2. The value of your home.
While it is true that double glazing can increase the value of a property, not all double glazing is UPVC, and when it comes to windows, the value of your home will often be determined by how well your windows ‘suit’ your property. So, if you have a Victorian or Edwardian property (as there are many thousands of these across London and the south east) and you replace your wooden sash windows with modern UPVC ones, you could be negatively impacting the value of your home. However, changing the UPVC windows on your 1970s property for wooden ones will rarely have a negative impact on the value of your property, and can often increase its saleability.
When you think of the durability of wooden widows you think of the rotting sills and peeling paint on a Victorian terrace near you. However, the decision of wood or UPVC based on the consideration of durability is not that simple, because wooden windows are produced today in such a way as to make them just as durable for just as long as UPVC windows, if, and this is the important bit, if they are looked after properly. And you have to remember that plastic windows will degrade also – they can discolour and become brittle due to exposure to too much of the sun’s heat and UPVC windows cannot be repaired in the same way as wooden windows can.
4. Environmental impact.
There are a number of factors to consider here. The first is whether you can increase the energy efficiency of your home. Some people think you have to have UPVC windows in order to have double glazing, but that simply is not the case. You have a genuine choice today. The second consideration here is heat loss as wooden windows are seen to expand and contract more than UPVC windows, leaving them more likely to be draughty. However, this is totally down to the quality of the windows and the wood they are made from which will reduce such movement and the seals that facilitate such movement over the seasons and throughout the years. In other words, a well-made window will not have drafts no matter what material it’s made from.
Wood is often thought to splinter, whereas UPVC would bend and hold if someone tried to break in, but wooden windows can be supplied to comply with either Part Q Building Security Standards or the Secure by Design standards as set by the police. Therefore, once again, you can make your choice based on other criteria.
Though there are cheaper wooden and more expensive UPVC windows, on average, wooden windows are likely to be more expensive. However, wooden windows that are well looked after can last longer and be easier to repair or renovate. Therefore, this could mean that in the long term, wooden windows may offer you better value for money, depending on how long you intend on living in your home.