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.