The fact is that 21st Century wood windows are durable, secure, double glazed, green and beautiful. But whilst home owners prefer wood windows because of their environmental and aesthetic qualities, they still don’t believe that they will weather the test of time according to the latest MORI research commissioned by the Wood Windows Alliance (WWA)1, a new industry campaign to promote the qualities of modern wood windows. The results of the poll come as no surprise to the WWA. One of its biggest challenges will be to address the myths about the durability and maintenance of wood windows compared with PVC-U.

36% of homeowners agreed that double glazed wood windows would increase the value of their property, with13% disagreeing. And when it came to environmental concerns, 42% of the sample agreed that “wood windows are the most environmentally friendly choice of window” with only 22% disagreeing. And 57% agreed that wood windows can be single, double or triple glazed, an encouraging result for wood windows which have been dogged by the misconception that wood windows can only be single glazed. When it came to good looks, 49% (versus 25% who disagreed) agreed that wood windows just look better than PVC-U.

But on it was on the big issues of maintenance and durability that outdated views about wood windows really surfaced. On durability, only 27% thought that wood windows were as durable as plastic (versus 45% who disagreed) and only 23% agreed that wood windows are as easy to maintain as PVC-U, compared 47% who disagreed.

Actually, the last decade has seen some dramatic technological advances which mean that wood windows are now extremely low maintenance and are as easy to maintain and repair as PVC-U. Surprised? New manufacturing techniques mean that fully factory finished timber windows are treated by super efficient spray systems so manufacturers can provide guarantees of thirty years on the timber. As well as being able to be double or triple glazed, wood is a natural insulator so wood windows are available with A-C Energy Ratings to qualify for the Energy Savings Trust distinctive blue triangle. What’s more, modern timber windows are available in a wide variety of designs, to suit every style of house and are publicly endorsed by Greenpeace and WWF as the greenest choice of window material.

The Wood Window Alliance makes it easier for you or your installer to find a quality assured and environmentally friendly wood window. Ruth Soundarajah from the WWA said: “Anyone choosing windows for their home should look for the Wood Window Alliance heart and tree brandmark on the windows they choose. This means that the windows have been independently audited and meet a set of quality standards, including those for sustainability and the environment. They meet all the relevant British Standards and UK Building Regulations for performance, wind and weather resistance, energy efficiency and have the service life warranties so you can choose timber windows with absolute confidence. Hopefully the next MORI poll we commission will show a real shift in attitude towards the durability of wood windows, which will pave the way for greener homes throughout the UK”

There’s more information about the Wood Window Alliance, including a members directory and more guidance on choosing modern timber windows on the campaign website www.woodwindowalliance.com