Traditional timber window finishes

Different timber finishes

The high performance and beautiful aesthetics that we associate with traditional timber windows are created in part by the type of finish that they utilise. A finish is a protective layer that is applied to timber to protect, and enhance the performance and aesthetics of a window. Common traditional timber window finishes include wax, shellac, drying oil, lacquer, varnish and paint. We offer a variety of finishes here at Wessex Restoration. The timber finishing process There are three steps generally used in the traditional timber window finishing process: Sanding First of all the timber window is sanded down either by hand or using a power sander. This ensures that the … Continue reading

Air dried vs. kiln dried oak

Air dried timber

Believe it or not, but kiln dried oak, although widely used across the industry, is actually ill-suited to the needs of heritage window restorations. Air dried oak is much better suited to the thermal, aesthetic and performance demands of timber windows. Here’s why. The drying process The drying process helps to give finished timber most of its structural, thermal and aesthetic properties. There are two processes used across the industry for drying timber: air-drying and kiln drying. Air-drying, the process that we use here at Wessex Restoration, creates a finished timber that is much better suited to the demands of heritage window renovation than kiln drying. Why air drying is … Continue reading

Hardwood vs softwood windows

Restored sash windows in a period property

  There are two particular types of timber species: hardwoods and softwoods. These are both used in a range of applications across the restoration industry, but when compared, which one is better? We thought we’d investigate and try to find out… Hardwood vs. softwood: what’s the difference? Hardwood is the term used to describe wood from mainly deciduous, broad-leaf plants that flower. They are generally slow growing and have a high-density cellular structure, which makes them difficult to work. Hardwoods include timber species such as alder, balsa, beech, hickory, mahogany, maple, oak, teak, and walnut. The term softwood is used to describe wood from mainly evergreen, coniferous plants that have … Continue reading

6 types of timber for replica wooden windows

Profile Replication

There are lots of different types of timber out there that can be used to manufacture wooden windows, but which exactly is the best wood to use for a heritage window? Type 1: Douglas fir One of the only softwoods that we use, Douglas fir is perhaps one of the best, and one of the most well-known, trees used in timber production across the world. Interestingly, its high quality timber is harder than many ‘hardwoods’. Growing to often massive dimensions (a Douglas fir felled in 1897 in Washington, USA reported measured 465 feet high and 34 feet deep), this type of timber is incredibly strong and long-lasting, making it a … Continue reading

How energy efficient are timber sash windows?

Energy efficient sash windows

How energy efficient timber sash windows are depends a lot on a number of factors, such as age and quality. How old the windows are and when they were constructed, will play an important part in determining their energy efficiency. The development of energy-saving technology over the last few decades has meant that modern timber sash windows are far superior in terms of thermal retention and energy efficiency, compared to older units constructed at the beginning of the 20th century. Single glazed timber sash window In a study of the energy efficiency of a timber, single glazed window, Paul Walker of Glasgow Caledonian University found that the U value of … Continue reading

Why you shouldn’t replace timber windows with uPVC

Energy efficient sash windows

When looking to upgrade your old timber windows, it’s tempting to opt for the cheapness and convenience of uPVC. Some double glazing salesmen use horror stories of rotting wood and cold draughts of single glazed timber windows to persuade people to switch to uPVC. But these are just that – horror stories. Scare tactics to sell. Whilst it’s true your original timber windows might not be the best performing, the reality is today’s modern timber systems are designed to offer better levels of thermal efficiency, security and, above all, the classic charm that draws people to houses with timber windows in the first place. People choose uPVC for a number … Continue reading

Installing fire rated doors in your heritage property

White wooden FD30 Fire Door

Under the current Fire Safety Order, renovations of period properties must abide by building regulations by using approved fireproof products and materials. However, according to the Listed Building Act, replacement doors must retain their original style and period features. So how do we do it? Last month we wrote about our renovation of the University of Bristol’s teaching rooms and offices. As part of the project at 30-34 Tyndall’s Park Road, Wessex Restoration was contracted to install timber wall panelling and wood-panelled doors. According to modern-day building regulations this means that, among other considerations, all replacement internal doors have to be fire rated. Fire doors are especially important to stop … Continue reading