How To Treat External Oak Windows
Nov 27, 2014
Exposure to the elements is practically the hardest thing for oak windows to deal with next to an infestation. You have so many different factors which will affect not only the aesthetic of the frames, but also their functionality from water getting in and warping wood, to the bleaching of the timber.
Whilst every step is taken during production to ensure that the oak window frames are able to deal with these issues, it’s always worth knowing what processes can be applied if at any point you need to take their care into your own hands.
Treating Oak Windows To Protect Against Water Damage
The Problems With Water In Oak Windows
Oak has a naturally high tannin content, which means that it’s naturally good at preventing infestations and rot, but it does mean that when water gets into it the wood will become blackened as the water reacts with the tannin.
As organic matter, oak is built to take in water and utilise it when its still alive. The cells still have this capacity when they are dead, which means that, if left untreated, water is absorbed and stored inside. This will cause the frames to swell which can result in warping, jamming or the windows not shutting. Likewise if you finish with a treatment that completely locks water in, the frames will rot.
Waterproofing Treatments For Oak Windows
One of the most important steps is to ensure that the wood is as dry as can be, this is something that will be taken care of during the production period. However, dry wood is like a your morning Weetabix, it’s just dying to soak up as much moisture as it can. So you need to ensure that it can’t.
Using oil finishes is best for this job. Specifically ones that set. Oils seep into the wood creating a barrier between the wood and the outside world. As a hydrophobic material, it won’t let any water in. However, if you don’t use an oil that sets, something like olive oil for instance, the oil will go rancid, which is the last thing you want.
So what’s the best? Simple old linseed oil is about as effective as it comes, providing a nice finish, even coating and long lasting waterproofing.
Exposure To Sunlight Damaging Oak Window Frames
Water isn’t the last of the external oak window frame’s worries. Not by a long shot with the sun pouring down on it through rain and shine. Unlike humans who will get a radiant tan when in the sunlight, dead timber gets washed out, and that lovely oak marbling that you’ve paid for will turn into a greying husk.
Treating Oak Window Frames To Prevent UV Damage
Unlike your standard internal furnishings, which can be left au naturel, you will need to use oils or finishes on external oak frames which contain a pigment that will protect it from UV damage. Again, oil finishes tend to contain stronger pigments than water based finishes, though more coats will be needed. More modern oil based gels will offer the best protection available, whilst those with weaker pigmentation will need to be reapplied often in order to avoid the wood greying.
Have any specific treatments you prefer? Share them in the comments below!
Is it an idea to find a kinda niche oil based finish company that we could promote here for a backlink or shares or whatever?