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The advantages and disadvantages of hardwood and softwood window frames

Wooden window frames on patio doors. Image by DenisFilm (via Shutterstock).
Wooden window frames on patio doors. Image by DenisFilm (via Shutterstock).
In one of our previous articles, we looked at the differences between aluminium and wooden window frames. We have also compared PVC-U with wooden windows too. If you’re in the business of comparing hardwood with softwood, some are more equal than others.


The density and durability of wood types are measured by the Janka hardness test. This is an industry standard scale that judges each wood’s hardness. It is based on the force that is required to embed an 11.28 mm steel ball.

Hardwood is longer lasting than softwoods. In unpainted form, wooden window frames can last 15 to 40 years. Treated and properly maintained over time, at least a century. Some softwoods can last up to 60 years.

Whether you choose softwood or hardwood, you have a classic look which stands the test of time in your home. There is the flexibility and its more sustainable manufacturing process, compared with PVC-U window frames.

As wood is a breathable material, it can expand or contract depending on the seasons. Moisture varies according to wood density; softwood has a reduced moisture uptake compared with hardwood. Redwoods are a popular choice for softwood window frames. They are easy to maintain, repair and coat.

One drawback of softwood frames is the amount of times you need to maintain them, compared with hardwood equivalents. Temperate hardwood windows require less maintenance and have good thermal performance.

Whether you choose softwood or hardwood frames, you wouldn’t want to see PVC-U windows in your home. Nothing can rival the look, its staining, the authenticity, or the smell of real wood.

Chartwell Wooden Windows, 25 April 2017.



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