Tips About Types of Wood for Windows & Doors
1. Pine isn’t just less expensive, it’s actually an ideal window material.
According to Wallace, pine might be one of the most underrated choices for wood windows. It’s inexpensive, and though it might not be ideal for flooring, it has exactly the properties a window or door product needs.
“You don’t buy pine flooring because it’s not an ideal choice—it dents and dings too easily,” Wallace said. “But, you won’t be walking on a window. You need it to not shrink or swell too much and for it to be structurally strong but not overly rigid. Pine exhibits all of the best characteristics, and it takes paint and stain incredibly well.”
2. Choosing wood for a window isn’t just about strength.
You can share data all day long about which wood species might be stronger than another, but Wallace insists strength isn’t what’s important about designing a durable window or door—it’s about working with a manufacturer who understands the “personalities” of different types of wood.
“Materials attributes are important, but if you really understand a material, you learn to design for its limitations, accept those, and work within them,” Wallace said. “A bad window design with Douglas Fir, even though it might be one of the strongest woods out there, will not last as long as a good design with Pine.”
3. Not all expensive window and door woods are rare, they might just be difficult to work with.
Speaking of woods with personality, how easy or hard it is to design for various wood species can factor in to how expensive they are. Wallace notes that premium wood pricing is a combination of availability, perception, and ease of use. Honduran Mahogany isn’t easy to get, hence the premium pricing. White Oak, on the other hand, isn’t expensive because it’s difficult to obtain, but because it’s more difficult to design for.
“Oak is a hard wood, it shrinks and swells more than other species, and it’s more difficult to dry. It requires more handling and more specialized design, so there’s cost that comes with using it in a window or door,” Wallace said. “It’s popular from an aesthetic standpoint, so we use our wood expertise to prepare it to perform well in a different application.”