The morning sun rays are so warm, clear light falls on the desk and the room is filled with a cosy sunset; this is exactly why windows are so important in the construction of a building. There is a saying that windows are the eyes of a building, thus – one of the most important parts in building construction is how you choose the most appropriate window solution for your home. This time we will have a look at the properties of wooden windows, find out why they are worth choosing, and what we can do to help them serve for up to 100 years.
WOODEN WINDOWS – A GOOD DECISION
The main advantage of wooden windows is the fact that wood is a natural, environmentally friendly and renewable resource. It is a breathing material, which provides optimum air moisture in the room. It eliminates the growth of unwanted, unhealthy micro-organisms, such as mould. Wooden windows have the lowest thermal conductivity, which means that they provide great retention of heat in the premises during winter, but in summer – coolness. Wooden windows have a long lifespan, because they can be repaired and renovated. Also, if the building conforms to the status of cultural historical heritage or if you are willing to create a historical mood of the building using some décor elements in window-panes, wooden windows are the most appropriate solution.
We would like to emphasise that a great property of wooden windows is also their design, because in accordance with the chosen wooden material and the protective finishing, its texture gives a cosy and warm mood to the premises. Nowadays it is possible to paint wood in any colour shade, using environmentally friendly, water-based varnishes and paints.
The experiment* executed in Latvia in August this year, proved that in comparison to plastic windows wooden windows are safer, because they turn to coal slower. In the process of burning wooden windows fell out after 35 minutes, but plastic windows – already after 7 minutes. It should be added that within the utilisation process of wooden windows the surrounding environment is not harmed, because when burning a wooden window it does not emit toxic gases.
TOPICALITIES IN THE PRODUCTION OF WOODEN WINDOWS
The latest innovations in the production of wooden windows entirely change ancient belief. They are no longer produced of solid wood only. Currently a preferred material for wooden window profiles is glued wood. In such wood there are no knot or texture defects, nor any resin pockets or blue rot, the wood is uniform in colour, as well as texture. Window profiles produced of such wood are highly stable and resistant to deformations and temperature fluctuations. According to its properties a modern wooden window has become long-life, durable, provides excellent sound insulation properties, rain and wind durability, as well as convenient window exploitation and maintenance.
The same as in any field, windows also have their trends. The main differences are the equipment chosen by the clients. Families living in the city find sound insulation important to shield themselves from the outdoor noises, therefore more and more windows have to be equipped with special sound insulating systems. Very often new families choose child-safe equipment for their windows (lockable or fixed handles, which prevent children from opening the windows in the absence of adults). But clients living in the countryside prefer classical solutions without any specific equipment. Within the last two years a common trend can be observed in the choice of colour – currently the most popular being various shades of grey. Style painting is also in demand – which is acquired by mixing 2% of white paint to the varnish to achieve a “milky” effect, so that through light shading the natural texture of the wood remains visible.
The European market is greatly affected by the costs of raw materials, technological achievements, political and regulatory considerations. In addition to this windows and outdoors have decorative meaning, therefore they are affected by cultural aspects. SIA “Flora” provides this regarding the choice of materials – in Northern Europe 90% of the market is formed of wooden windows, in Central Europe very powerful market positions are held by PVC windows, but in the Southern Europe a popular choice is aluminium windows. One of the largest export markets of SIA “Stali” is Scandinavia. The company characterises the Scandinavian choice of windows as simple and functional. These are large windows that provide good lighting, therefore in the choice of windows one of the most important factors is large glass spaces and less wooden details. Scandinavians prefer modern solutions such as self-cleaning and self-shading windows.
Thanks to the high thermal insulation of the windows, a topical tendency in architecture is to form a façade of large, wide glazing. This solution allows one to expand the room visually, provide more daylight and be closer to nature.
If wooden windows are regularly and correctly maintained, they do not have to be repainted for up to 15 years.
MAINTENANCE OF WOODEN WINDOWS
Wooden windows must be maintained and cleaned with special solutions at least once a year.
Such cleaning solutions protect and refresh the finishing, retaining its flexibility. It is prohibited to wash the windows with acidic, abrasive solutions. If wooden windows are regularly and correctly maintained, they do not have to be repainted for up to 15 years. Once per year it is also advisable to inspect the fittings of the windows, to make sure that they are free from dust or sand, which prevent proper window sealing. House owners must implement regular maintenance of the structures, which includes: lubricating the fittings, cleaning the constructions, adjusting the mechanisms, checking the sealing rubbers, checking silicone and finishing.
Special attention should be paid if the window is located in the south part of the building and is subject to more intensive sun light. Of course the repainting of wooden windows has to take place every 10 to 15 years on average, but as with any other qualitative product, wooden windows can also serve for a very long time, if used and maintained properly.
The article was created in cooperation with producers of wooden windows in Latvia SIA “Staļi” and SIA “Flora”.