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The pros and cons of timber and uPVC windows

In the UK, many homes have single glazed sash windows, which is the more traditional option. While they do look visually appealing, function can be compromised as they lose heat more rapidly. So when you are considering replacing your windows and are wondering whether to choose timber sash or uPVC replacements, here are some of the pros and cons of each to help you decide.


If your budget is tight, uPVC windows are definitely more economical. You can replace a wooden sash with a uPVC for approximately £750 whereas a timber replacement will set you back somewhere in the region of £1350 – you can almost replace two windows with uPVC for the cost of replacing one with wood! The cheaper price is often a key factor in most people’s decision making process, however it still means that in terms of function and practicality, the windows are less effective.


If you’re looking to replace original timber windows, your property was most likely built in the late 19th or early 20th century, which shows that if traditional windows are maintained well, they can last a long time! However, there is a lot of work involved in maintaining them. If the varnish or paint starts to chip, the wood will begin to rot rapidly and if you fail to repair the windows quickly, the entire window is likely to need replacing. A good tip if you are going to choose timber sash windows is to choose hardwood windows as they are known for their durability.

uPVC double glazing won’t last as as long. The lifetime of a uPVC window has been set at 35 years by BRE (the building research company), but still this is far less than the timber-framed windows (as long as they are well maintained). Compared to timber, uPVC windows require very minimal maintenance in order to keep them looking good and working properly.


Many people consider timber sash windows to be more visually appealing. That said, it really is down to personal preference and some people may prioritise other factors than the look of their windows (such as heat retention and durability, for instance). The best tip is to shop around as you can find very high quality uPVC windows that have a similar appearance to wooden sash windows. While personal preference is important, it’s also crucial to pick a style of window which compliments the architectural style of your property! Another point to bear in mind is that uPVC frames were notorious for discolouring as a result of UV exposure. In the last 10 years the uPVC companies have resolved this using by manufacturing UV stabilised frames. Most glazing companies should now offer a guarantee against ‘profile discolouration’ so make sure you do double check for that!

Here at Unicorn Windows we are happy to provide our expert advice and will talk through the options available to you based on your budget and preferences. And of course, we’re also FENSA registered which means that all of our work adheres to building regulation standards.

[Photo by Sarah Belham]