What timber is used for sash windows?

Choosing the right timber for your sash windows is an important decision that will impact the aesthetics, performance, and longevity of your windows. With a wide variety of timber species available, it can be overwhelming to navigate the options and determine which one is best suited for your needs. This comprehensive guide delves into the world of sash window timber, exploring the most popular choices, their unique properties, and the factors to consider when making your selection.

Sash Windows

Understanding Timber for Sash Windows

Timber windows have graced homes for centuries, prized for their elegance, natural warmth, and exceptional craftsmanship. However, not all timbers are created equal. Each species possesses distinct characteristics that influence its suitability for window construction. Key factors to consider include:

  • Durability: The timber’s resistance to rot, decay, and insect damage is crucial for ensuring the window’s lifespan.
  • Stability: The timber’s ability to maintain its shape and dimensions over time, minimising warping and shrinkage.
  • Strength: The timber’s capacity to withstand wind, rain, and other external forces without compromising structural integrity.
  • Insulation: The timber’s natural insulating properties contribute to energy efficiency and thermal comfort within the home.
  • Appearance: The timber’s grain pattern, colour, and texture add aesthetic appeal to the windows and complement the overall style of the house.

Popular Timber Choices for Sash Windows

Here’s a closer look at some of the most popular timber options for sash windows, along with their key characteristics:

  • Western Red Cedar: Renowned for its exceptional durability, natural resistance to rot and insects, and beautiful reddish-brown hue, Western Red Cedar is a premium choice for sash windows. Its stability and insulating properties make it ideal for various climates.
  • Merbau: This dense and robust hardwood boasts exceptional strength, making it highly resistant to warping, bending, and external impact. Merbau’s natural oils offer inherent protection against rot and decay, while its rich, dark colour adds a touch of sophistication.
  • Spotted Gum: A popular choice in Australia, Spotted Gum is known for its durability, attractive grain patterns, and affordability. Its inherent resistance to termites and decay makes it a low-maintenance option, while its warm tones add a touch of elegance to any home.
  • European Oak: A classic choice for sash windows, European Oak exudes timeless beauty and undeniable strength. Its tight grain structure ensures stability and resistance to warping, while its natural oils provide protection against rot and decay. Oak’s versatility allows for a variety of finishes, making it adaptable to various architectural styles.
  • Mahogany: Renowned for its rich colour, fine grain, and exceptional machining properties, Mahogany is a premium choice for sash windows. Its natural oils offer inherent resistance to rot and decay, while its strength and stability ensure long-lasting performance.

Additional Factors to Consider

While the timber species plays a crucial role, several other factors contribute to the suitability of sash windows for your home:

  • Climate: Different timbers perform better in specific climates. For example, timbers with high moisture resistance are ideal for humid environments, while those with natural insulation are beneficial in cold climates. Research timbers that thrive in your specific climate zone.
  • Maintenance Requirements: Some timbers require more maintenance than others. Consider the time and effort you’re willing to invest in upkeep when making your selection. Low-maintenance timbers like Spotted Gum or Merbau might be ideal if you prioritise minimal upkeep.
  • Budget: Timber prices vary depending on the species, grade, and availability. Define your budget early on to narrow down your options and ensure your choice aligns with your financial constraints.
  • Aesthetics: Choose a timber that complements the overall style of your home and personal preferences. Consider the grain pattern, colour, and finish to achieve the desired look. Mahogany’s rich tones might suit a traditional setting, while the lighter hues of Western Red Cedar might complement a contemporary aesthetic.
  • Sustainability: Increasingly, homeowners are prioritising environmentally conscious choices. Opt for sustainably sourced and FSC-certified timbers to ensure responsible forestry practices and minimise your environmental impact.
  • Professional Installation: Ensure proper installation by hiring experienced window professionals. They have the expertise and skills to install your sash windows accurately and securely, maximising their performance and lifespan. Remember, a flawless installation is crucial for smooth operation, optimal weatherproofing, and lasting value.

Final Words

Choosing the right timber for your sash windows is a rewarding journey, empowering you to create a haven that reflects your style and enhances your life. By understanding the properties of different timber species, considering your specific needs and preferences, and prioritising quality and sustainability, you can make an informed decision that brings exceptional beauty, performance, and lasting value to your home.


  • Explore samples of different timbers to visualize their grain patterns and colors.
  • Seek advice from window professionals and timber experts for tailored recommendations.
  • Enjoy the process of creating a statement piece for your home that will delight you for years to come.

With meticulous planning and thoughtful consideration, your timber sash windows can become more than just functional elements; they can become the heart and soul of your home, radiating timeless elegance and whispering stories of nature’s grace for generations to admire.