Old windows with peeling paint

How To Remove Paint From Wooden Window Frames

Wooden window frames are built to last. If you care for them well enough, they will stay strong and secure for years. So many years in fact, that there’s a chance you’ll fancy a change to the look of your house before you even begin to think about replacing them for practical reasons.

If you’re a bit bored with how your wooden windows look – if the paint is peeling or you’re desperate for a dash of a different colour on your window frames – you could always consider re-painting them before you replace them.

Cheaper and quicker than investing in replacement windows, a new paint job can completely refresh the look of your windows and even your whole house. It is important to do this job properly to maintain the lifespan of your frames. Making mistakes could leave your windows at risk of damp and a rot. A slapdash paint job could also leave them flaky, uneven, and looking far worse than when you started.

As with so much in life, proper preparation is the key to a fantastic finish. That means removing the old paint carefully and completely before you even think of cracking a can of gloss open.

There are a couple of ways to remove paint from wooden window frames, but we reckon the cheapest and easiest way is using a chemical paint stripper and a couple of readily available tools.

Simple Steps to Remove Paint From Wood

Using a wood stripper before you paint your wooden window frames is the easiest way to achieve a professional paint job when you’re refreshing your windows. It may take some time, but not much effort, and is definitely worth it in the long run. 

Follow the steps outlined below to keep the task of removing paint from your timber windows as smooth and simple as possible:

  1. Prepare the Area

Paint stripper for wood can be quite a harsh chemical. Accidental spillages could cause damage, and when it works, the flaking paint will cause an almighty mess.

So, your first step is to lay down a waterproof dust sheet or tarp underneath the window. Make sure it’s secure, and the surrounding area is completely covered. 

  1. Prepare Yourself!

Then suit yourself up. Grab some heavy duty waterproof gloves (rubber or work ones) to keep the chemical stripper away from your skin. A pair of goggles will protect your eyes, and a respirator will help keep any fumes out of your lungs.

It’s best to wear old clothes, and be prepared for the possibility of binning them after you finish.

  1. Consult Your Paint Remover Product

Most brands of paint stripper will have their own specific instructions. Application times and techniques can vary from product to product. Make sure your paint stripper is as effective as possible by familiarising yourself with the instructions for that particular product before you start. Follow the guidance closely.

  1. Apply the Paint Stripper

Use a cheap paint brush to apply a thick layer of stripper to the frame. Do it in small sections but with a heavy hand – you don’t want it dripping or running down the frame, but it will need to be a thick layer to penetrate the surface of the paint.

  1. Wait

Leave the wood stripper to soak in. This will take around 20 minutes, but will change depending on the paint remover for wood that you’re using. Check the manufacturer’s instructions, and set a timer. Leaving it on too long could damage the frame.

After the specified time, you should see signs that the paint remover is working. The paint may start to bubble, look uneven, or maybe start to flake away.

  1. Scrape the Peeling Paint Away

After the allotted time has passed, use a specific scraper tool to ease the paint off the frame. Take your time and work with care. The wood stripper should do the hard work, and you don’t want to accidentally damage the frame.  If you can work the scraper under a small section of paint, you should be able to lift it off in strips.

  1. Repeat

If there is still a lot of paint left, or you are seriously struggling to scrape it off, you can usually apply a second layer. Check the instructions for any restrictions around timings.

  1. Brush Over the Frames

When most of the paint is off, use wire wool or a wire brush to ease the paint out of any curves, creases or crevices. You can be a little more rigorous with this, but again make sure not to damage the wood.

  1. Wipe Down the Frames

Use a damp cloth to wipe down the frame and remove any residue.

  1.  Sand the Surface

Use a fine sandpaper (around 220 grit) to go over the window frame, to work out any scratches or scrapes and make sure the surface is smooth. It shouldn’t take long, and will give a far better finish to your next layer of paint, stain or varnish.

One of the joys of wooden window frames is how long they last, but sometimes a change feels necessary. A new lick of paint is an easy, quick, cost-effective way of refreshing the look of your windows without cutting their lifespan short. Make sure you take the time to do the job properly and you will get many more years out of them, while still getting the thrill of a brand new style.

If your wooden windows are past their best, we offer a fantastic range of timber replacement windows. From our top quality JELD-WEN range to classic timber sash and timber casement styles, we have something for any property. If you have any questions, get in touch to speak to one of our knowledgeable team.

Windows with external shutters

Hardwood vs. Softwood Windows

Choosing the right windows for your home is really important. It’s not like you get do-overs (not without incurring costs, anyway). 

If you’ve decided on fitting your home with wooden windows but are confused about the differences between hardwood and softwood windows, read on.

What’s The Difference Between Hardwood and Softwood Windows?

You might be familiar with the terms hardwood and softwood, but do you fully understand the differences between them?

Hardwood timber refers to deciduous trees. Species like oak, mahogany, teak, walnut and maple are all hardwoods. They have a high density and are incredibly durable. 

Softwoods are of a lower density and come from coniferous trees like fir, pine, spruce, yew and cedar. These are generally speaking, less durable than hardwoods, although that isn’t their defining difference. 

Some hardwoods aren’t very durable at all, like balsa, which is extremely light. Yew timber, a softwood, is extremely hard-wearing. In broad-stroke terms however, hardwoods are generally more durable, and harder to mould and work with, whilst softwoods are the opposite. 

Hardwood vs Softwood Windows

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty and see how each type fares against the other in a number of categories, and examine some of the differences between hardwood and softwood that you should know about. 

How Long do Hardwood and Softwood Windows Last?

Both hardwood and softwood windows can last your entire lifetime if maintained and refurbished. There are cases of listed buildings with softwood windows that have lasted well over 150 years!

You can expect your wooden windows, especially hardwood timber, to last up to 60 years or more (some of our wooden windows come with a 40-year fungal and rot guarantee). Softwood windows are more responsive to the seasons and will expand and contract more, whilst hardwood windows are a safer bet in terms of longevity.

Although all woods are susceptible to fire damage, hardwoods are much more fire resistant than softwoods (if that is something you need to consider). 

What Looks Better: Hardwood or Softwood Windows?

It’s a dead heat in this match. Both hardwood windows and softwood windows can look equally stunning. Hardwoods give you that genuine timber feel that creates a fantastic traditional look. Softwoods tend to be more subtle and understated in appearance.

Bear in mind that softwood timber is much more workable than hardwood, giving you more flexibility in terms of carving and creating complex joints.  

Are Hardwood or Softwood Windows Cheaper?

As a general rule of thumb, you can expect hardwood windows to be up to 30-40% more expensive than softwoods. As it takes longer to grow, and is harder to harvest and then work into window frames, this is simply the price you pay for the extra cost and effort that goes into collecting and making it ready for sale. 

Softwoods are also a more sustainable option in terms of the environment. As they grow much faster, softwoods are able to be more sustainably sourced.

Shop our website for great deals on our fantastic energy-efficient windows. We offer both softwood and hardwood windows, with ranges of sash windows, casement window and more. We also offer hand made bespoke windows, so you can pick the perfect windows for your home. 

Timber windows

How Often Should You Paint Timber Windows?

When it comes to windows, timber is a practical choice that looks stunning, too – provided that it’s given the right finish.  This finish might consist either of a transparent coat of oil or wax that’ll seep between the fibres of the wood and ensure that moisture can’t penetrate or cause rot.  On the other hand, it might consist of an opaque layer of paint that’ll do much the same thing while at the same time changing the colour of the frame itself.

In order to get the best from your wooden window frame, you’ll need to ensure that the finish is periodically refreshed.

When should I paint timber windows?

When painting your timber window, you’ll need to first do a little bit of prep.  This might mean sanding down the existing surface, and giving it a gentle (but thorough) wash.  Of course, between the time you wash the wood and apply the first coat of paint, you’ll need to allow the surface to dry – once you paint the wood, you’ll trap any moisture inside, where it can do damage.

As a rule, then, it’s best to paint exterior windows on hot, dry days where this drying can occur naturally and quickly – and so summer is often the best bet.

What paint should I use on timber windows?

Your choice of paint will depend largely on the style of the surrounding building.  White is a classic choice.  One considerable advantage of brightly-coloured windows like this is that you’ll be able to easily see when it’s time to break out the paintbrush again.

After you’re done painting, you might wish to apply a protective coat of varnish.  This’ll protect the paint from minor nicks and scratches.  Varnishes are available in various levels of glossiness, and you’ll be able to apply several coats to achieve a more enduring finish.

How often should I paint timber windows?

The lifespan of a coat of paint will depend on the stress that a window is expected to absorb.  If it’s in constant sunlight, and exposed to lashing winds and rain, then we can expect it to deteriorate more quickly.  Your best bet might be to keep a photographic record of what the window is supposed to look like, which you’ll be able to refer to later, when you suspect it might be time to apply another coat.

As we’ve seen, many factors can influence how often a timber window requires repainting.  In general, it’s best to check the frames closely once a year – make a note in your diary and find five minutes to do it at the same time each year.  You might find that some windows will demand a fresh coat every few years, while others can last for almost a decade without the need for attention.

Looking for new windows for your home? Browse our sliding sash or conservation windows or find out about our handmade bespoke windows. If you have any questions, contact our friendly team.

Timber windows

Sash Windows: uPVC or Timber?

Sash windows are a fantastic way of injecting a little Victorian-era charm into your period property, but they’re an attractive solution for more contemporary-style exteriors, too.  If you’re shopping for a sash window, then you’ll generally be faced with two materials to choose from:  uPVC and Timber.

uPVC (or un-plasticised poly-vinyl chloride) is a form of plastic that’s hugely popular in doors and windows.  It’s resilient and can be reshaped at high temperatures, which makes it an economical choice.  Timber, on the other hand, is a naturally-occurring product which (provided that it’s harvested responsibly) is infinitely sustainable (and it looks great to boost).

Let’s run through the advantages of both materials so you can figure out which one will be most suitable for your home.

What are the advantages of uPVC sash windows?

upvc sash window

uPVC windows are cheap

Sash window cost is undoubtedly a factor that’ll influence your purchasing decision.  uPVC has significantly reduced the cost of sash windows, compared to their timber equivalents.

When it comes to running costs, the material used matter less. In fact, uPVC and timber tend to be roughly equivalent when it comes to thermal efficiency.  With that said, the lower up-front cost of uPVC sash windows is sure to make them an attractive proposition.

uPVC windows are tough

Another key strength of uPVC is that it’ll withstand pretty much anything nature can throw at it.  You won’t need to worry about water damage causing the material to disintegrate over time, and minor knocks and scratches are very unlikely to cause lasting damage.

uPVC windows don’t warp

Timber is formed of fibres that will change shape in correspondence to moisture and heat. uPVC however is much more resistant to these fluctuations.

uPVC windows are low-maintenance

Timber windows need to be treated occasionally if they’re to stay in tip-top condition.  This might involve sanding, cleaning, and finishing – all of which might be tricky if the window is on the third floor!  By contrast, uPVC demands little attention; give it an occasional wipe with a damp cloth and it’ll look and function just as well.

What are the advantages of timber sash windows?

timber sash window

Timber windows look great

Many people believe timber windows are more attractive than their plastic counterparts.  This is especially so if you’re installing them into a period property, where plastic windows might look out of place.  Considerations like this are subjective – but most of us will probably agree that a properly finished wooden window frame looks better than a bright-white plastic one. Of course, uPVC windows are available in colours apart from white, but they are priced at a premium.

Timber windows last for a long time

Provided that it’s properly looked after, the lifespan of a wooden window frame more than justifies the initial cost.  The average wooden window will last for around six decades, compared to around three for uPVC windows.  Check the length of the warrantee on offer for extra reassurance – we provide a forty-year guarantee against rot and fungal problems on our softwood compounds.

Timber windows are eco-friendly

It might seem obvious that timber should be greener than uPVC.  After all, plastics are created using oils that have come out of the ground – oils that can’t be replaced once they’ve been extracted.  Timber, by contrast, comes from trees that can be replanted over and over again.  Of course, this is meaningless if the timber in question isn’t obtained responsibly.  That’s why we ensure our timber windows are FSC certified, and provide a Chain of Custody on request.  That way you can see exactly how the materials came to arrive in your windows!

Timber windows are easy to customise

One significant edge that timber windows have over uPVC is that they can be modified.  uPVC doors and windows are destined to remain in the same shape for the duration of their lives – they can be melted down and reshaped into a new window, but they can’t be modified once they’re in place.  This means that if you’re looking to drill into your window to install a new lock, or you’d like a different set of handles or hinges, you’ll need to opt for timber windows.

That said, bolting on new hardware isn’t the only way you might want to customise your windows.  You might wish to buy your window unfinished, and then apply your own coat of paint.  Timber is the only material that’ll allow for this.  uPVC windows, by contrast, aren’t made to be painted, which means you’re stuck with whatever colour you initially choose.

So what should you choose – timber or uPVC sash windows?

When deciding whether to opt for a timber or a uPVC sash window, you’ll need to assess what’s important to you, and what the best match will be for your home.  If you’re upgrading the windows on a period property, timber tends to be the better choice.  You might even find that planning permission restrictions forbid you from opting for anything else.

On the other hand, if you’re buying for a more contemporary property – and perhaps replacing a set of existing white uPVC windows, then uPVC might hold greater appeal.  It’s also worth considering how much time you’re likely to invest in caring for your windows – particularly if they’re being installed somewhere difficult to reach.

Looking for new windows for your home? Browse our sliding sash or conservation windows or find out about our handmade bespoke windows.

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Wooden window frames

How to Clean Wooden Window Frames

Wooden window frames and sills can be an excellent addition to a house, particularly if you want to retain the traditional appearance of a period property. However, wooden frames do require a little bit more maintenance than frames made from uPVC or aluminium

Due to the nature of the product, it stands to reason that wooden windows require a little more attention from the outset; this could include wood staining, treatments, oiling or painting. Like other types of window frame, over time they will need a little TLC. With constant exposure to different weather conditions, it’s likely they’ll need a good clean every now and then too. But what is the best way to keep wooden window frames clean?

How Do You Clean and Treat Wooden Window Frames?

Here we’re going to take a look at the different methods you can use to keep your wooden frames clean without causing damage, as well as preventative measures that can be applied to help protect your windows and increase longevity.

Simply Does It

Sometimes the best methods are the simplest. There’s no need to spend a small fortune buying specific cleaning solutions when household products can work just as well.

There are however different techniques to consider depending on the finish of your wooden window frames:

Painted Windows

Provided that the paint is in good condition:

  • Use a soft brush or scouring pad with some washing up liquid to lift the dirt.
  • Rinse thoroughly with warm water, using a soft cloth to remove any excess water and product.
  • If your windows and sills are painted white, a diluted bleach solution can also be used to remove stubborn stains or mould patches.

If the paintwork is a little worse for wear, use a soft bristle brush to remove any flakes before cleaning. A new coat of paint would also be recommended to help maintain protection.

Stained Windows

  • Use a soft bristle brush to remove any excess dirt build-up.
  • Once you’re satisfied that all of the excess dirt has been removed, use a dilute solution of washing up liquid and warm water with a soft cloth to wipe away any marks or grubby areas. Using a spray bottle may help make the job easier.

Avoid using bleach on stained windows as this can cause discolouration and will dry out the wood. To help protect the integrity of the wood against sunlight and water damage, re-stain your wooden windows every 2-3 years depending on the colour chosen.

Varnished Windows

If your windows are varnished and have started to look a little dull, it might be time to give them a good clean.

  • The same methods used for stained windows will often get the best results.
  • If stubborn stains or watermarks can’t be shifted, use a fine sandpaper to remove the top layer of varnish, reapplying as you go. Reapplication should only be done when the frames are completely dry; this will prevent the varnish from “bubbling” and the wood from rotting.

Waxed or Oiled Windows

As with stained and varnished windows, a good going over with a soft bristle brush and a diluted washing up liquid solution is the most effective method for removing dirt and grime. As most household detergents and rainwater can be slightly acidic, it’s important to re-apply the wax or oil regularly to feed the wood and help prevent weather damage. Do not use bleach to clean natural wood finishes as this will cause discolouration.

Useful Tips for Cleaning Wooden Windows

Being conscientious when cleaning wooden window frames is one thing, but no one (we imagine!) wants to spend hours doing it. These tips and tricks will help make cleaning your wooden windows that bit easier:

Removing Mould and Mildew from Your Window Frame

As we’ve mentioned before, using bleach to remove mould spots on painted wood is effective, but this won’t work for stained, varnished or waxed/oiled wood, and could do more damage than good.

Try using a vinegar dilute, instead.

  • Mix four parts water with one part vinegar.
  • Soak the mould spots.
  • Leave for a few minutes.
  • Clean as advised above.

If the mould and mildew build up is on the inside of the window, consider investing in a de-humidifier. This will reduce the amount of moisture in the room, thus reducing the chances of mould growth.

When Something a Little Stronger is Needed

If your window frames are particularly grubby and washing up liquid isn’t quite cutting it, add a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda to give it a little more kick. Alternatively, use biological wash powder diluted in warm water; this is particularly good for removing organic matter such as bird droppings and plant sap.

Avoid Pressure Washing Your Window Frame

This might sound like common sense, but it’s all too easy to reach for the pressure washer to speed things up. This can however be detrimental for your wooden window frames. Not only could the pressure of the water cause the glass in your windows to break, it can also cause the frames to warp and even damage seals and paint work.

Use Liquids Sparingly

If your windows are varnished, waxed or oiled, minimise use of liquids as much as possible. Avoid soaking the wood and always remove any excess moisture with a dry, lint-free cloth so as not to cause water marks or crystallisation as the solution dries.

Problem Solved

As wonderful as they are, cleaning wooden window frames can be a bit of a sticking point, but we hope you’ve found our guide useful. Follow our tips and tricks and we’re confident your windows will look tip top for many years to come, without breaking the bank!

If you’re looking for new wooden windows, we have a fantastic, high quality range including windows from leading manufacturers JELD-WEN. Get in touch with our friendly team with any enquiries. 

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wooden windows

uPVC vs. Timber vs. Aluminium Windows

If you’re looking to improve the thermal efficiency of your home, then you’ll want to ensure that your windows are up to the required standard.  Windows are a notorious weak-point in many buildings, by simple virtue of the fact that they’re thinner and more heat-conductive than the surrounding walls.

Windows come in a number of different forms.  Some of these differences can boost the insulating performance of the window – double-glazing, for instance, sees two panes of glass placed parallel to one another on either side of a layer of vacuum, inert gas or dehydrated air. This significantly increases the window’s ability to retain heat.

As well as the glass that goes into the window, however, we should also consider the materials which comprise the frame.  Generally speaking, windows are built either from uPVC, timber or aluminium.  Each of these materials has their merits – and your choice will hinge upon the building you’re installing them into, as well as your personal taste.  Let’s examine the options in closer detail.

uPVC

uPVC is an inexpensive plastic that’s found in white window frames across the country.  It offers excellent insulation and demands relatively little care and attention.  uPVC tends to cost far less than aluminium or timber, and is very easy to maintain.

That said, when we consider that these materials contribute to the value of the property they’re installed into, this economy often proves a false one in the long term.  While uPVC might not require cleaning and re-finishing in the same way that wood does, it’s got a much shorter shelf-life, and will not boost the value of the property in quite the same way.

Another significant weakness of uPVC is that it’s significantly weaker than the other materials.  This means that plastic frames must be made much thicker than wooden or aluminium frames in order to offer the same degree of performance.  The result is a window with a much smaller amount of glass, which in turn will reduce the amount of light in the interior of the building.

uPVC windows are a good choice for those looking for effective insulating performance for little hassle, at a reasonable price.  In the long term, however, their energy efficiency tends to suffer in comparison to the other materials available – and their look is not one that many homeowners will appreciate.

Timber

timber window

Timber window frames are a popular choice among those looking to invest in the outward appearance of their property.  Aesthetically, they offer a great deal more than their plastic counterparts, and, since every piece of wood is different, each wooden window is utterly unique.

Wood is naturally very good at insulating heat, which makes it an excellent choice for homeowners looking to save money during the winter.  Even inexpensive glass will perform well in a wooden frame.

Timber also offers a great deal of flexibility once it’s been installed.  The wood can be given a range of different finishes, each of which will have a profound effect on the way it looks in the end.  A coat of wax will penetrate the surface of the wood, helping to protect it from water damage as well as emphasising the qualities of the grain. A coat of paint, on the other hand, will afford homeowners the ability to create a window of any colour they like.

Of course, all of these virtues come at a price – wooden windows tend to be more expensive than uPVC.  They also demand more frequent maintenance if they’re to look and function their best.  They will, however, repay this investment by boosting the value of any property they’re installed into – and they’ll last a great deal longer.

Aluminium

aluminum sliding doors

The chief virtue of aluminium is its strength.  This allows for a slimmer frame, and a greater glass surface area.

Another advantage of aluminium is its durability.  Once it’s been powder coated a certain colour, it will be well-protected against rust and discolouration.  Moreover, you won’t need to re-apply the finish every few years in the same way that you might with a wooden window.

Being recyclable, aluminium is far more environmentally friendly than uPVC.  The energy required to produce an aluminium window is far below the cost of the raw materials, which makes it an excellent choice for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint.

Aluminium has considerable downside, though, and that’s its weakness as an insulator.  If you’ve ever held your bare hands against a metal surface on an especially cold day, you might recognise this phenomenon.  In modern frames, however, this problem is addressed with the help of a layer of insulating material on the interior of the frame.  And since metal frames are stronger, they’re able to hold thicker glazing with a narrowed frame – which can actually lend them an advantage in terms of efficiency.

In conclusion

Your choice of window will be largely informed by the surrounding building.  If you’re buying for a period cottage, for example, then you won’t want to ruin the look with the addition of a modern aluminium frame.  On the other hand, if you’re shopping for a contemporary house or apartment, then metal frames might match nicely.

Your personal taste will also be crucial when you make your choice.  If you’re really sold on the appearance of wood, then go for it.  However, be sure to consider the other windows in the building when making your decision, as you’ll want the entirety of your exterior to be consistent.

Looking for new windows for your home? Browse our sliding sash or casement windows or find out about our handmade bespoke windows.

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Wooden windows with shutters

Why Choose Wooden Windows?

When it comes to making improvements to your property, windows are an obvious place to start.  By nature, they allow more heat to escape than the walls that surround them.  And once they reach a certain age, they’ll inevitably benefit from being replaced with new, more efficient ones.

But windows come in a variety of styles, using a variety of materials.  Of these, amongst the most popular is wood.  Though they command a higher price, wooden windows boast several virtues which set them apart from their metal and plastic (uPVC) counterparts.

wooden casement window

Cost

It’s worth starting with what might seem a disadvantage:  wooden windows will command a higher up-front price than uPVC windows.  What’s more, they require regular maintenance, which means investing in waxes, oils, and brushes.  You’ll also need to put aside the hours (or, more often, minutes) necessary to apply these things – or pay someone else to provide them.

Wooden windows, however, tend to work out cheaper in the long run, as they’re far more resilient than uPVC, and should last much longer.  That’s why most warranties for wooden windows extend far beyond those attached to their uPVC equivalents.

Energy Efficiency

As a rule, wooden windows tend to perform better when it comes to energy efficiency.  Their frames are stronger and more durable, which means that they’re able to support thicker windows without becoming excessively bulky.  This means that thicker double-glazed and even triple-glazed windows are feasible.

Aesthetics

Perhaps the greatest virtue of a wooden window is its appearance.  With the right natural finish to emphasise the grain, the inherent qualities of the wood can make the difference between an exterior that looks the part and one that doesn’t.  By the same token, a coat of the right paint can have a similar effect.  By re-applying the finish, the look of the window can be preserved long into the future, and this in turn can help to boost the value of the property.  But this needn’t be a regular ritual – wooden windows can last for years without needing a second coat of finish.  By contrast, the finish of a uPVC window can never be restored – once it starts to degrade, there’s no way to turn back the clock.

Environmental

As you might imagine, wood can be obtained at far less environmental cost than plastic.  Timber can be sourced sustainably, and there are bodies like the Forest Stewardship Council, which help consumers to identify responsible manufacturers.  If you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint, a wooden window is a better choice than a plastic one.

In Conclusion

While uPVC windows might seem a tempting prospect in the short term – particularly if you’re looking to re

Looking for new windows for your home? Browse our sliding sash or casement windows or find out about our handmade bespoke windows.