Wooden casement windows vs uPVC windows?

A picture of a wooden casement window with no glassWhilst you’re looking at replacement windows for your home, you’re probably wrestling with a common dilemma: Wooden casement windows or ‘posh’ UPVC. For some, the decision is a pretty easy one.

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If you just want to replace like-for-like, it’s simply a case of finding a company to make new to match the old. For others, it’s an opportunity to make changes or improvements…

Perhaps you want to refresh the look of your property? Windows give your home a personality and changing the design can have a significant effect. Maybe your old windows are at the end of their life but you are still keen to save money? In that case, purchase and install costs will be high on your agenda along with energy efficiency in the long term. And what about maintenance? Do you want to ‘fit and forget’ for example?

Plenty of people will offer you an opinion – some based on facts and personal experience, some based on snobbery! But ultimately you have to decide what works best for you. Consider these two questions before you decide on timber casement profiles or plastic window frames.

Question 1: What’s your budget?

The first thing you need to know is that UPVC window frames are significantly cheaper than wooden casement windows prices – especially if you need made to measure. This sounds very clear cut, but (and there’s always a ‘but’) unless you are only bothered about the initial up-front cost, this shouldn’t be a ‘no-brainer’.

So, first consider what sort of property you have and what would best suit it. Many period property homeowners opt for wooden windows as they believe it is more in keeping with the style of their home. Estate agents will also tell you that timber framed windows will add value when you come to sell, although that one is difficult to really know for sure until you reach that point.

But it’s also worth considering that uPVC has come a long way since the bright white plastic windows of the 1970s. Now you can buy rather impressive ‘wood effect’ UPVC windows that still look good but don’t cost as much as the real thing. You can also choose from other popular colours such as grey and sage green which are proving popular on painted timber at the moment. The best advice is to go and have look and then decide for yourself rather than just listen to opinions.

Finally, on the cost question, think about the long-term value of each option. UPVC may be considerably cheaper up front, however well-made and expertly fitted wooden windows should last much longer – at least twice as long, possibly more, depending on who you ask (and which they prefer of course!).

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Question 2: How much time do you really spend on property maintenance?

Let’s be honest, despite best intentions not everyone is good at getting on with those important home maintenance jobs. If you’re one of those people who prefers to spend summery days sitting in the garden rather than actually doing gardening, then how likely are you to want to take the time needed to sand down and paint or varnish wooden window frames?

Even if you mean well, how likely are you to stay on top of this important task every year? Gorgeous timber windows do need some TLC to stay at their best – and once you’ve let things slip, your windows will definitely show the lack of care.

So, be honest. If you know you will invest the time (or the money if you get someone else to do it) in maintaining wooden window frames, then go for it. Alternatively, if you’re looking for the effortless option, UPVC is your friend. Expect very little maintenance. Seriously, we just mean a quick clean every now and then when they’re visibly dirty and perhaps a bit of oil whenever locking mechanisms get stiff, as you would with any type of window or door. That’s it.

Other points in favour of UPVC are that it won’t change shape or warp over time, whereas each time wood gets wet and dries out it tends to warp a little.

Over to you…

That’s it! Although some will try to confuse or distract you, these are the two key questions to answer. Other issues such as finding a style or colour you like, energy efficiency and performance, fitting costs – if you look around you can find excellent solutions for either timber or UPVC.

So just concentrate on the real issues and go from there.

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