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?
Have you ever wondered what makes one type of timber more expensive than the other? Or more specifically why oak has consistently been one of the more expensive hardwoods for generations? Well it comes down to a few fairly simple factors beginning from the seed. Hardwoods grow a lot slower than their softwood counterparts, which means that they require more production time, man hours, etc.. Now, of course this isn’t the sole reason that hardwoods like oak tend to be more expensive.
Because oak is a slow growing deciduous tree it utilises a system of vessels which transport water around the tree, this is opposed to softwoods which contain elongated cells called ‘tracheids’. It is the structure of these vessels which makes oak such a dense and strong wood, and also the structure of these vessels which gives oak its unique ringed look.
So Oak Is Denser And Slower But I Don’t Know Why It’s More Expensive
Well, aside from the time the tree has to occupy the lot (think car park fares), the fact that oak is a denser wood than most means that working with it is a lot harder. You have to have better, sharper tools and use them more diligently, as it is far easier to irreparably damage the wood when working with it. It being more difficult to work with means you need better craftsmen spending more time on it too, in order to make the best products on the market.
What Else About Oak Makes It So Expensive?
Its strength and durability are really up there with the best. For wood that is easily grown in many climates it has an incredible lifespan when finished properly. It’s also extremely high in tannin which makes it very resistant to pest and fungal infections.
When buying oak, ensuring you treat the finished product properly, you are guaranteed for that the products will last you a lifetime. The same goes for products which are kept outdoors or face outside like oak window frames. Ensuring that the craftsmanship was top notch, you will have no problems with the material.
Over the generations it’s also become a symbol of luxury and quality. Notoriously durable and expensive, the distinctive markings of oak wood are a fundamental part of why it retains such value. When quartersawn, you can see the veins running through the timber, unique to each and every piece of wood, meaning that every single product made from oak comes with its own natural, individual design.
Image by Graham
Well, quite simply, because there isn’t a wood that we think performs any better in terms of its value and natural properties. Oak being so easy to work with yet so sturdy makes it the best material for a range of furnitures not least indoor french oak doors which we proudly make ourselves.
So what makes oak so good for french doors?
There are at least five factors which we believe make oak so good, give them a read and let us know what you think!
Oak is a wood that has never gone out of style and never will. Even the least knowledgeable wood aficionado can tell oak from a country mile due to its unmistakable aesthetic. The way that the grain runs through the wood like individual waves special to each piece of timber. There’s no two oak products which are exactly alike due to uniqueness of each tree’s patterning. It’s also so simple to use such a variety of finishes on oak doors that the possibilities are pretty much limitless. Extra important when it comes to french doors which are supposed to look elegant and stylish!
Oak isn’t cheap, so this might sound like a counterpoint, but bear with me for just one second. Whilst you can find cheaper veneered options for your property, the point of french doors is that they are classy numbers, they add value to your property, they’re windows into your soul. Ok, they’re not the latter, but they’re certainly the former. What oak french doors offer you are sturdy, rich investments. As the old adage goes - you can’t put a price on quality!
We’re proud advocates of ethical forestry and wood conservation. Quite simply oak is fairly easy to grow and maintain, requiring less resources to produce the timber. Sourced from ethical, local growers it’s got a lower carbon footprint than other woods that need to be imported and is a material you simply must consider in order to reduce your whole carbon output.
Do you have any reasons why oak’s your favourite? Let us know in the comments below!
To check out our french doors gallery click here: Oak French Doors