As the economy becomes more stable, confidence in the construction sector is growing and it seems that 2015 is the year to build. Over the last year, self and custom building has featured heavily in the press, with news of the new land release scheme – Right to Build. In addition to the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding scheme, it seems that summer is going to be filled with prospective self-builders developing large scale projects, with many focused on developing energy efficient, beautiful properties.
Benefits of Timber
Historically, self-builders have opted for PVC-U but there is an increasing demand for timber windows, and in turn manufacturers are meeting the needs of customers by improving product specification and performance. From sliding sash and casement windows, to flush-sash conservation designs, a vast range of looks can be achieved using timber.
It’s a common perception that timber products are a more expensive option than alternatives like PVC-U. Studies have shown that timber windows offer better long-term value than low-cost PVC-U windows, even allowing for maintenance. On average, timber window frames made to Wood Window Alliance standards are likely to last around 60 years with the proper maintenance, compared to 30 years for PVC-U. Timber frames can also be repaired simply and inexpensively – when a fitting on a plastic windows breaks, often the whole window requires replacement. So although the initial outlay for timber windows may be higher, over the product’s lifetime timber definitely is the more cost effective choice.
Furthermore, timber is an excellent insulator, particularly when teamed with a wide range of double & triple glazing, a combination which can result in reducing the buildings carbon footprint particularly when incorporated with other elements of modern building design. With increasing developments in areas of conservation, Building Regulations and planning permission will often stipulate the need for timber window frames that also require modern functionality, including security, sound-proofing and thermal efficiency. Where previously flush-sash timber windows could not meet the same security and thermal efficiency specification as PVC-U competitors, improvements in modern engineering processes have enabled manufacturers to produce traditional looking designs with modern functionality.
It’s worth bearing in mind that renovating with plastic or metal windows can vastly impact on a property’s appearance, as the majority of homes in the UK were built with timber windows. Property experts suggest that modernising with PVC-U actively devalues a property, so by upgrading to double-glazed factory finished timber windows you can actually improve the value of a property while also preserving its character.
Where previously windows were supplied primed or with a basecoat stain, there has been a growing trend for factory finished products, which means that many of the latest designs are supplied pre-painted or with a stain finish. JELD-WEN’s factory finished windows come with up to 10 years guarantee on the paint finish. So wise self-builders are ensuring that, not only do they get a quality finish but, their investment pays dividends over time.
2015 has also seen a noticeable increase in demand for colour options. Where white was once the number one choice, we’re now noticing the use of green and grey tones is on the rise, particularly in conservation areas. Self-builders can now choose from a wide range of RAL colour paint finish options for their softwood timber windows. JELD-WEN’s latest spray-line technology also allows for dual colour paint finishing. Finishing the outside of the window frame in one shade, and using an alternative colour for the interior offers a modern twist which complements both the inside and outside of a property, boosting it’s selling power.
Another tip for improving sales potential is the use of oak throughout a property. Leading manufacturers are meeting the demand of style conscious self-builders by increasing the range of oak products available on the market. With so much choice available self-builders can now co-ordinate the oak look throughout a property with A rated energy efficient windows, oak patio doorsets, solid oak and oak veneer interior doors and even an oak staircase for a luxury, high-end finish.
Window energy efficiency
One of the most important developments in window manufacturing relates to energy efficiency, due to increasingly stringent requirements for window energy ratings. To meet the demands, JELD-WEN and other savvy manufacturers are developing A+ energy rated windows in compliance with the BFRC Window Energy Rating scheme. Self-builders are now able to install the highest quality products that offer excellent thermal efficiency, sound insulation and an attractive appearance for their project.
With timber windows now able to cover a range of energy performance levels, they are the ideal specification for sites with varying performance requirements that also stipulate the need for a uniform appearance throughout. JELD-WEN’s Stormsure + casement window is a good example of how manufacturers are achieving this. In addition to offering the highest possible energy rating, the Stormsure + casement is available with a thicker sash, to accommodate both triple and double glazing, and is supplied with premium Pilkington glass as standard.
For more advice and information on JELD-WEN’s latest window designs including the new Stormsure A+ energy rated casement range, or to request a brochure visit www.jeld-wen.co.uk
This blog was guest written by Tony Pell, Senior Product Manager at JELD-WEN, the UK’s leading manufacturer of timber windows, doors and stairs.