Timber vs. Aluminium Windows

There are a number of different building materials at your disposal, each coming with a long list of pros and cons.

Though typically associated with being a more costly option, a hardwood window is in fact cheaper than an aluminium window of the same performance. We look into some of the benefits of using timber, specifically for window and doors frames.

Why You Should Use Timber For Your Next Project

While there are a number of arguments in favour of utilising aluminium for windows or door frames, the primary argument is based on the low price. A low performance aluminium window will be cheaper to purchase than a hardwood window and is promoted to require minimal maintenance – making this a seemingly better choice for those looking to save on costs. However, an aluminium window with the same energy rating as a timber will window actually cost more. And remember, energy savings result in a homes overall performance and comfort, and the many benefits of timber windows and door frames can contribute to greater savings.

Thermal Performance

The natural insulating properties of timber make this an extremely energy efficient building material. In fact, it the savings made on your energy bill due to choosing a building material that is a natural thermal dampener outweigh the initial price of the timber. Conversely, studies relating to a materials ‘U-Value’ have shown that aluminium is inferior when it comes to energy efficiency. While there are some quality, insulated aluminium windows, these are typically more expensive than timber, thereby losing out on any savings.

Aesthetic Appeal

One of the main pros associated with timber is the aesthetic appeal it adds to any project. While aluminium can detract the visual beauty from some homes, timber will always add to and enhance the existing décor. Timber is also a great way to integrate nature into your home and keep with the natural surrounding environment. Further, timber definitely adds a warmth and depth that cannot be achieved by aluminium.

Sustainability and Longevity

Aluminium is not sustainable. Although aluminium is beginning to be recycled, it is not a renewable resource and the production of aluminium creates 85 times more greenhouse gas emissions when compared to timber (refer to http://www.yourhome.gov.au/materials/embodied-energy). Moreover, re-growth forests and plantations take in large amounts of carbon dioxide from the air and as they mature, act as a long-term storage for carbon. The more timber we use, the more forests are planted to store more carbon inside building products. The sustainability of this material can also be linked to the natural insulating properties which reduce the need for excessive use of heating or cooling. Refer to the life cycle assessment of window systems for more data.

Though the necessary maintenance of timber can be a perceived as a negative, in sheltered positions, a timber window requires similar maintenance to aluminium. In full exposure to the elements, timber is able to be maintained and if done regularly, it will outlast aluminium. Furthermore, if serious degradation occurs, timber is able to be restored to its original state. Conversely, aluminium can corrode over time and once corroded, cannot be restored and will need to be replaced – adding costs and more greenhouse gas emissions. When it comes time to renovate your home, timber windows are able to be painted or stained to match current fashion. An Aluminium window needs to be replaced again.

Cost

Taking into consideration the above benefits, timber can actually work out to be far more cost effective in the long term than the aluminium alternative. For one, you’ll likely never have to replace timber if it’s been installed properly and is maintained correctly and you can enjoy savings across energy bills thanks to improved insulation. Timber can also add value to your home which is great if you’re looking at selling.

For further information on the benefits of using timber in your home, or for more details on GoodWood, please do not hesitate to contact us or request a sample.