“Do You Really Know what dictates
Window and Door Quality?”
High window and door quality is something we are all looking for, but how do you really discover the inherent quality features and what are they? Well I am sure you know by now, if you’ve read other pages on this website, the timber they are made from is key. Not only this but how the timber is manufactured and fixed together too. The seals and drip details play an important role and whether your units are factory finished or not. We also highlight some other key areas, which are explained in more detail in our window and door section. Again bear in mind what type of log cabin you are building. Window and door quality for a luxury log home will be much more important, than for a small garden cabin for occasional use!
What Determines Window and Door Quality?
We don’t want to bang on about it too much, but the timber itself is an important a factor here as it is in choosing other timber elements of your log cabin. In many respects windows and doors are even more vital than many other parts, as they need to take a lot punishment from the weather and users over the year. We won’t repeat what we’ve said elsewhere again, but if you want to find out how to go about investigating timber types and quality, take a look at our
timber types section.
The thickness of the timber can often be a defining factor on overall window and door quality. To compare windows and try either look up or measure the overall frame thickness and then the overall thickness of the opening part of your window and door. An extra 10 or 20% in thickness can make a massive difference to the strength of a unit. Some really budget window and doors will be less than half the thickness or the really good windows and doors. Does this mean they are half the strength? No in actual fact they will be much worse than this. If you are concerned about the quality, try to see if you can distort the frames at all, using both hands.
Now this is where it gets very interesting and where a quality window really reveals itself. The method which is used to join the timber window frames together and the way the timber is manufactured in the first place is key. High quality window and door frames often use laminated timber, as it gives much more strength and resistance to movement. So what is laminating? Well basically it involves gluing layers of wood together in a huge press. The result is one piece of timber, made from several layers, giving the same visual appearance as one piece of wood, but which will greatly outperform it!
While we can’t really go in depth into all the various jointly methods of wood which are available here, there are some basic principles which do apply. Simple butts joints are weaker, as they just rely on the small contact area between the 2 pieces of timber to hold them together. The greater the number of pieces which interlock between 2 pieces of timber and the deeper they are, the stronger the joint will be. In reality this means the more little fingers which interlock with each other, between the 2 sections of timber, the bigger the surface area and the stronger it is. Tolerances still need to be good for optimum strength but the basic principle applies. This stronger the joint therefore require more work and will cost more, so you pay your money and take your choice!
Great window and door quality also extends to the hinges and opening mechanisms used. After all great timber is not much use if the hinges or opening mechanisms will not last. High window and door quality usually means the windows and doors will be much heavier and so much more strain is put on these parts. Hinges should be substantial, with a least 3 to an external door. Opening mechanisms on large windows in particular can be subject to significant stresses. Try having a window right open and then rock it to see how sturdy the mechanism really is. Look at the thickness of the metal used and how well it is fixed to the frames.
Seal and drip details
As with all timber which is exposed to the external elements, dealing with moisture is absolutely critical. Good window design, should remove the risk of moisture ingress into the frame or air getting around the seals. Look for windows that shut nice and tight and they achieve a very air tight seal. Drip sills on the window base, should quickly remove any water and also it to drip to the ground. Anywhere which could trap water is a potential hazard and good eventually lead to the timber deteriorating. So look over your window and doors and make sure that any horizontal parts have a good angle on them to allow water to run straight off.
Whilst I am in no way wishing to decry the work that any good painter can do on site, but factory finishing of timber windows and doors in particular can make a real difference. Whilst it adds to the purchase cost your window and door quality can be significantly enhanced, resulting in a product which will quite likely last longer. Why, well anything which is done by an automated system in a controlled environment, should be designed to go on in optimum conditions and to the specified levels. The lack of moisture, changing temperatures, wind, dust, dirt and random brush skills, means every window and door is finished to the same high standard. Not only this but all the exposed timber is finished with a high quality paint, and not just the exposed sections which are left once a window or door has been installed. Think about it, can you really match this level of finish on site?
The specification of the glazing in your windows and door (which have glass) is important. We cover this aspect in more detail in our glazing section.
Security and safety is also increasingly vital in these days and we will cover this in a dedicated section too.
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