16th May 2017
The New Wonder Wood for Windows
Modern joinery techniques have greatly improved the quality and affordability of wood framed windows. While PVC is still popular, and indeed has improved in its own right, the love affair with it that was prevalent in nineties and noughties has given way to a resurgence in appreciation for the look and feel of wood.
Hardwoods like meranti, oak, and sapele have proved themselves to be durable enough to provide a lifetime’s satisfactory glazing in most climates. The onset of aluminium cladding has meant that even softwoods such as pine or larch can provide great structural integrity and interior styling with the benefit of exterior protection.
There is, however, a new player in the world of window materials, and that is the highly performing accoya wood. This wood can rival Aluminium cladded windows for durability in all conditions, but how does it do it and what are the benefits?
What exactly is accoya wood?
Accoya is the result of putting soft, sustainable woods through a process called acetylation. Put simply, this is a process which alters the molecular structure of the woods while not introducing anything to the wood that doesn’t naturally occur. This results in a vastly more durable wood ready for application to suitable products.
What are the benefits?
One common issue with wooden windows and doors is that in some climates, they can be prone to expansion and contraction, which in turn can result in warping, splitting and of course functional issues. During the aforementioned process, the ability of accoya wood to absorb moisture is reduced by 80%, greatly improving stability and ensuring windows and doors that open smoothly all year round. In fact, this stability results in a longer life for the coatings which are applied to accoya, an additional maintenance reducing bonus!
Accoya scores a maximum 1 for durability, surpassing the score of even teak. It has been described as virtually rot proof, and assigned a 70 year minimum service life stated by TRADA. Because of its altered structure, fungi does not recognise it as a target and it is indigestible to wood invading insects rendering it immune to both.
In reality, the technology to produce accoya has been around for decades but it’s only in recent years with improved methodologies and a greater focus on sustainability that it is coming to the forefront. It is made from certified naturally renewable woods. Indeed its eco-friendliness goes beyond its life as it is fully reusable and recyclable in contrast to many other treated woods which use a variety of harmful chemical compounds.
Accoya is certainly more expensive than other woods in terms of window and door production, but for those whose budget can reach it, it provides a unique opportunity to use a wood that is both beautiful and extremely durable. There are many climates and locations where a homeowner would, in the past, be limited to using PVC or Alu-clad windows in order to get a reasonable lifespan from their products. Accoya represents an opportunity to have both the beauty of an exterior wood finish, while still maintaining the durability of an aluminium cladding. Our advice would be, if you can afford it, it is certainly economic in the long term.
To find out more about Accoya windows and many other products, feel free to visit zylefenster.co.uk
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