So you want to renovate your windows, and you're faced with two choices; will they be made out of timber, or aluminum? What's the difference between the two and how do the two materials impact on our environment?
One of the first things you would probably be thinking about is cost efficiency. Which material will give you more for your buck?
At a first glance, aluminum has a cheaper upfront cost, however it won't be too many years before you will have to replace those same aluminum windows with new ones!
According to South West Exteriors, typically you should expect to get about 10-15 years out of a set of aluminum windows, whereas hardwood timber windows, when looked after properly could outlast 100 years. Think about it, in that time, you will already have had to replace your aluminum windows between 10 times!
The next factor you may not have thought about when choosing your windows, is the energy efficiency of the materials. Timber tends to be the cheaper option in the long run as far as your energy bill goes as it naturally retains the energy inside due to it's sealing and insulating properties. So if you think about it, in the long term, timber windows will virtually pay for themselves with the amount of energy you save over the years.
As long as land hasn't been overextended, timber is actually a sustainable source to use when making your windows and doors, as trees can be cut and replanted. According to Narangba Timbers, the process to manufacture aluminum is found to produce 8 times as high a volume of greenhouse gases as the process it takes to manufacture timber windows and doors.
The process of manufacturing aluminum windows also involves a lot of quite toxic chemicals which contaminate the surrounding land. Whilst a timber plantation deals with the cutting and replanting of trees, which is better for the environment as there are no harmful chemicals involved.
If you compare aluminum to timber in terms of aesthetics, designers will often favor a timber finish as it is a more pleasing aesthetic. Over time, aluminum can show signs of wear and rust, detracting from the overall aesthetic, whereas timber can actually create an appealing look as the timber softens and wears with age. There is nothing like the timeless elegance of timber (especially when the timber has a natural finish!)
In the end, it all comes down to personal preference; if an aluminum finish is what is required for the design then you are best to choose aluminum.
However if you are looking for a long lasting, quality and overall aesthetically pleasing material, you are best off going with timber. When you choose timber, you invest into the future of your home and can have peace of mind that the material will be around for a long time to serve your needs.
Cardiff Joinery is currently receiving a lot of clients with windows in excess of 80 years old, which shows the durability and great lifespan of timber! As technology and knowledge about timber has greatly increased in the last 80 years, we are now using higher quality timbers than they used years ago and we expect our doors and windows could possibly outlast the 100 year lifespan expectation of timber in the past!