Wood, having unlimited potential for use, is considered the preferred construction material. Additionally, as a natural product and widely available, it is a renewable resource, and given correct and appropriate handling procedures offers no threat to the environment whatsoever. Wood offers its own unique advantages. Some of the basic ones are: peak thermo-insulation properties; classic aesthetic qualities; greater warmth compared to other materials.
Here are some scientifically documented facts, summarised below:
Wood is an excellent material, a gift of nature to mankind; it is the most suitable material for door and window frames and other building structures. Wood offers 1700 times more thermal insulation than aluminium. Modern-day frames utilize three-ply wood (three layers glued together with their grains aligned) of Oak, Pine, Chestnut, Iroko, Niangon, Meranti and other woods which guarantee high quality, durability, stability of dimensions, easy handling, and no warping or loss of shape.
The lifetime of exterior wooden frames, given correct preventive maintenance and use, is very long, more than 30 or 40 years, while for wooden structures protected from the rain and sun the lifetime is limitless. The process of preventive maintenance and painting described above is employed by many frame-manufacturers in Greece which provide guarantees of up to 10 years and follow European specifications. Maintenance of wooden frames by the house-owner is a simple process, which in the case of frames exposed to the sun and rain need be done only on exterior surfaces, after the first 10 years every decade or half-decade; for doors and windows protected from the elements maintenance need be done only once every 20 years.
The cost of wooden door- and window-frames of high quality is the same as that of aluminium frames of equivalent quality.
BASIC ADVANTAGES OF WOODEN DOOR- AND WINDOW-FRAMES
- Wood offers 1700 times more thermal insulation than aluminium.
- The commonest Greek aluminium frames without thermal stops actually act as storage heaters, storing cold or heat within them, raising the cost of temperature control within interior rooms.
- Double glazing and water-tight seals raise even further the thermal-insulation properties of wooden frames.
- Wood offers very good sound-proofing qualities which other materials do not. Due to its porous structure with microscopic interior cavities, wood absorbs sound and reduces echoing.
- Double- or triple-glazing with interior gaps which are used in the construction of wooden doors and window frames significantly increases their sound-insulation qualities.
- Production of PVC windows needs 8 times more energy than that of wooden ones, according to the WWF.
- As for the production of aluminium frames, it is even more energy-consuming than PVC, since large amounts of electricity are needed in the electrolysis necessary for the production of the raw material.
MYTH AND REALITY
In the past wooden doors and window frames were not widely accepted by the purchasing public. This may be put down to several factors, two of which were perhaps the most important: the lack of knowledge of the possibilities offered by wooden frames, and an ignorance of the new construction methods using contemporary equipment that guarantees a high level of quality. Revolutionary production technology employed by frame manufacturers have given a new boost to the idea of wooden doors and window frames and have reinstated the truth concerning this material. In the attempt to sweep aside the misconceptions, we present here some of the myths and inaccuracies alongside the truth about modern wooden doors and frames.
“Doors and window frames made of wood are costlier than those of other materials and will need maintenance that will raise the costs still further.”
The true price of a product, whether low or high, is not only the cost of its construction but also the costs involved in its use. So if one takes into account the ongoing energy savings afforded by wooden constructions, their cost turns out to be much lower than that of other competing products, which in any case lack wood’s aesthetic value. As for their maintenance, modern production methods have reduced the need for regular upkeep to a minimum. And of course after maintenance, wooden constructions are returned their original condition, in contrast to competing products which show irreversible deteriorations in colour and structural damage.
“To produce wooden doors and window frames, trees have to be cut down, contributing to Climate Change due to a reduction in forest cover.”
Just as with other wooden products manufactured nowadays, wooden doors and frames use certified timber originating from managed forests. This means that these forests are responsibly treated as a source of timber, not just maintained in size but allowed to grow. This is why any study of the life cycle of materials used in the construction of doors and frames show that wood is the only one that not only avoids an environmental burden, but actually helps in lowering greenhouse gas levels by their production.
“Wooden doors and window frames rot”
Wooden doors and window frames are well-guaranteed against decay. A typical firm constructing such items usually offers up to a ten-year warrantee. An average estimate of the minimum lifetime of wooden doors and window frames extends to 35 years. Indeed, since the lifetime of wooden doors and window frames may easily be extended by simple maintenance and repainting, they can last the span of a human life. This is proved by the excellently preserved wooden doors and window frames still evident in historical dwellings and monasteries both in Greece and abroad that date back more than a century.
“Wooden door and window frames burn, since wood is a flammable material.”
Wood is not easy to set alight, and it only happens when temperatures reach 370 – 500 ο C.
Wooden components burn with difficulty and their strength gives way only gradually, in comparison with metal parts which buckle in the high temperatures of a fire. Moreover, due to the low thermal conductivity of wood, only a superficial layer chars, which acts as a thermal insulator and slows down the burning process. Of course wooden products burn, but then so do all materials from metals to reinforced concrete.
“In wooden door and window frame construction chemicals are used which damage both human health and the environment.”
Nowadays, modern manufacturing methods in wooden window and door construction use a varnishing system which employs water as a solvent and not organic solvents. Such modern varnishes are harmless both to the human body and to Nature. Thus wooden doors and window frames are the healthiest option and the most environmentally friendly.
“Wooden window frame and doors don’t offer effective insulation properties.”
Modern wooden window frames and doors are produced with the latest technological methods which ensure excellent quality. Thanks to high-tech means of production and contemporary materials they offer complete water-tightness, thermal insulation and sound insulation properties. These properties of wooden constructions have been proven by laboratory tests. These features may be further checked by the consumer himself, through the manufacturing company, until he finds the choice ideal for him.