16 May

Timber myths

There is a popular misperception that solid hardwood is the best product available for external joinery. It’s not. The two things you need from timber joinery are stability and durability.

Hardwood will not consistently deliver on both stability and durability: yes, it’s durable but it’s not always stable.

This means that the joints in hardwood timber products can move, and this can break the outer layers of the paint covering them, subsequently allowing water in, which swells the wood and breaks the joint. This is typically the point when the rot sets in and the wood starts to decompose.

This is an all-too-common look associated with timber hardwood windows. Water ingresses and swells the joint causing the paint to crack which allows further water ingress and eventually the wood rots. But don’t despair – not all timber windows and doors are made equal.

So why do people still use hardwood in timber doors and windows?

Hardwood does have a valid place in timber manufacturing and is ideal for thresholds because of its density, however:

  • It will not be stable
  • It takes the best part of a century for hardwood trees to grow
  • Using hardwood produces a high percentage of wastage (up to 40%)
  • Relying on hardwood is not a particularly sustainable or environmentally friendly way of manufacturing
  • Hardwood is not stable enough for making doors and windows

The scary image of rapid deforestation and unsustainable wood production.

So what material is best for making windows?

Engineered timber is the best product available on the market for windows and doors. It’s not cheaper – it’s better.  

Manufacturers who are interested in achieving long-lasting and quality products, that won’t need to be continuously maintained and that won’t come at the expense of the environment, will use a blend of engineered Redwood, and Accoya® which gives the best stability and durability, making it the ultimate window and door material.

Naturally, Westbury is something of a pioneer in engineered wood. At Westbury, we use Accoya® as part of a wider system that ensures our products are trouble-free, require a minimum of maintenance and won’t need replacing. When you buy Westbury windows, you only buy once, and this surely is the ultimate goal of sustainability and money-saving.

So what is engineered wood and why is it so good?

Engineered wood is made from:

  • Logs that are cut into 24mm thick planks (scantlings to those in the know)
  • The scantlings are easier to dry all the way through as opposed to large sections of timber which are seldom dried out to the core when they arrive on-site, as this can take several years. The result of this oversight with solid hardwood timber will mean that the timber can end up warping when in situ
  • The seasoned timber sections (or scantlings) are then layered together in alternating directions which ensures they stay straight and stable
  • The scantlings are then bonded together and compressed under immense pressure to create a laminated timber section
  • The bonding ensures that it does not delaminate/pull apart
  • This creates a superior timber – it is stronger, well-seasoned and more dimensionally stable than solid timber

Yes that’s right – bonding means gluing

Some people fear that the use of glue and lamination will result in a cheaper and inferior product that will separate over time. But they don’t know glue like we know glue. High-tech glue makes the best use of modern science and when applied under compression creates a bond that ensures there is no delamination (it won’t pull apart). Engineered wood is, therefore, a reliable, stable and trouble-free product that won’t require adjustment or maintenance.

Those at the cutting-edge use glue

At Westbury we’re pretty impressed with the power and strength of glue used at the leading edge of manufacturing (think spaceships, Formula 1 cars, aeroplanes and bridges) and so we use the most high-tech binding methods in the assembly of our windows and doors too! We use the right glue to complement traditional jointing systems – and this ensures that our joints have more strength than the wood itself! And that’s clever.

Back to Accoya® – You need Accoya®!

Put simply, the best windows and doors are made from Accoya® – the revolutionary material of choice at the top of its game. In fact, it has changed the game (see www.accoya.com). But don’t worry, it’s nothing new! This is a proven and well-established technology in the Netherlands. And if you’ve been to Amsterdam, you’ll know how much the Dutch like their windows! They also have some of the most stringent rules and regulations on their buildings in the world – so you know if they’re using Accoya® windows it has to be good!

So many windows!

What else makes Accoya® windows and doors better than traditional solid hardwood?

We already know it has both durability and stability which make it superior to hardwood, but Accoya® (acetylated wood made from Radiata pine trees)  also has several other advantages that put it way ahead in the timber race.

Accoya® is:

  • Sustainable Accoya® is created from only fast-growing, abundantly available, FSC® or PEFC™ certified tree species such as Radiata pine. These are quick growing trees (28 years) with minimal wastage in production
  • Environmental – It is 100% environmentally friendly – a natural product designed to last a lifetime with minimal-to-no impact on the planet
  • Longevity – The pine goes through a (non-toxic, environmentally friendly) chemical process (acetylation) which makes it a super strength version of its original form – more durable and more stable. Rated as a Class 1 timber, Accoya® is just about as durable as wood can be – this means it’s not going anywhere so neither are your windows and doors.
  • Quality – This is the cutting edge of timber technology combining the strength and versatility of wood with the ingenuity and science of modern engineering. It’s guaranteed to last 50 years above ground and 25 years in soil, is indigestible to insects and virtually rot-proof
  • Low maintenance – You won’t have to do much to maintain these products and you won’t need to replace them either. Swelling and shrinkage is massively reduced (even below ground or under water)
  • No painting – There is practically no movement in the joints of Accoya® windows and doors. This means no water ingress and no cracks in the paintwork. The acetylation process even improves its paint retention and in-ground conditions. Users won’t have to repaint their joinery for approximately 10-12 years!

If you can’t get enough of hearing about this wonder wood, you can learn more about Accoya at www.accoya.com.

Westbury windows and doors are made with a blend of Accoya and Redwood.

So, next time someone tells you that timber window frames rot, or that hardwood is the best product for the job – you can tell them that Westbury windows are made from engineered timber, and they won’t rot, move, swell, warp or crack. And that’s because Westbury windows and doors are part of a system – a system that combines all of the most advanced technologies in precision manufacturing and engineering to create one unbeatable and very beautiful window or door that will genuinely last a lifetime.

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