Your Extensive Guide to Wood Windows

Learn the reasons why wood windows and doors could be a great choice when you’re looking to buy.

August 8, 2022

Windows are one of the most important parts of your home. They bring in natural light, help keep us cool with airflow, and can greatly improve the interior and exterior look of any house. Wood is a great material to use for the construction of windows. It has a natural richness and is truly unique because no two pieces of wood are alike. Learn more about the features and benefits of wood windows and why they may be the perfect choice for your home.

Here are three reasons to choose wood windows and doors:

“You have a lot of options with wood—that’s just the nature of it. It gives you the ability to do a lot of things and make the windows the way you want them,” he said. There are also different types of wood species that can be used for windows, with some of the most popular being pine, oak, and mahogany.

Breakdown of wood window parts

These helpful diagrams describe the various window components and explain their functions.

Window Components:

The stationary components of a window that enclose either the sash on an operating window or the glass on a direct glazed window are called the frame. Jambs, sills, and moldings are the primary components of a window frame.

Parts of a Window Frame:

A diagram of the parts of a casement window.
Head Jamb
The head jamb is the top component of the frame.

Side Jamb
Side jambs are the vertical components of the frame.

The sill is the bottom component of the frame. The outside edge of the exterior portion of a window sill is tapered down to help shed water.

Operating Handle
The operating handle on a casement or awning window is the mechanism used to open and close the sash.

Operating Arm
An operating arm is the mechanism that works in conjunction with an operating handle to open and close a sash.

Locking Handle
The handle or lever operated lock found on a variety of window types is called the locking handle.
Marvin Ultimate double hung wood windows in a den.

Wood window application examples

There are many different window options that incorporate wood. All wood windows with wood interior and wood exterior require regular maintenance, but it provides a better look and has more customizable options for the exterior. One of the biggest bonuses is that you can paint or stain it however you’d like. Other window application options include a wood interior with a fiberglass exterior, a wood interior with an aluminum exterior, or a wood interior with a wood exterior that’s clad (a covering or coating) with aluminum or fiberglass.

Replacement options for wood windows

There are two main types of replacement options for wood windows: full frame and frame-and-sash insert.

Full Frame
If you choose a full frame replacement, you can replace your current window with any type of window you want. You can also upgrade your insulation. The con is that it requires the trim and some of the siding to be removed.

Another option is a frame-and-sash insert. It includes a frame with factory-fitted sashes where you keep your existing sill and jambs. Your trim isn’t affected, and it installs from the inside, so it’s easy to do—but it’s very expensive.

Moisture is the enemy

Moisture is the window’s worst enemy. That includes wood windows, too. “Wood moves with moisture. It does not change. Wood moves very little with changes in temperature, but it does move,” Wallace said. “If you get liquid water sitting on wood for the long term, that’s asking for biological degradation to happen. It’s a concern for any material. If you look at vinyl, it may not swell and shrink with moisture, but if you’re in a moist environment, it’s going to mold and there’s going to be mold growth on it,” he said.

Here's how you can maintain your wood windows and doors. Remove surface dirt and check the exterior of your wood windows at least once a year to ensure that wood is not exposed to the elements by failing caulk or paint that has cracked, peeled, or bubbled. Remove superficial surface dirt by washing painted wood exteriors with water and a soft-bristled, long-handled brush (like the ones used for washing cars). A toothbrush works well to remove build-up from cracks and crevasses. Heavier accumulations can be removed with an approved cleaning solution.

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