Accoya vs Hardwood - how to choose timber windows

Last Updated: 5 September 2022

grey white accoya window frontIf you’re considering a set of timber windows for your home, you may be wondering which is the best wood for you. Hardwood and Accoya windows are two fantastic options, but they possess different qualities. Understanding these qualities is important for determining which is the right option for you.


Hardwoods are usually denser than softwoods and tend to provide higher levels of strength, weather resistance and durability. This means they’re ideal for external applications, including windows, as they undergo continuous weather exposure. They also require less maintenance than cheaper softwoods. However, they’re usually more expensive than softwoods because they grow at a slower rate and take longer to dry.

Hardwood windows

Here at Reddish Joinery, our hardwood timber windows are constructed from African Sapele. Their benefits include:Single timber sliding sash window

  • Due to its lack of permeability, African Sapele is resistant to treatment. As a result, windows constructed from it require treating less frequently than other timbers.
  • Timber is a naturally good insulator, plus our hardwood windows are fitted with Pilkington double glazed units. This means they perform very well in terms of thermal efficiency.
  • Naturally, African Sapele is a beautiful dark reddish-brown colour, which is perfect for heritage properties and those in conservation areas. However, transparent coatings and colours take to it well, allowing it to fulfil a range of aesthetic desires.

Accoya wood

Accoya wood is traditionally a softwood, which tend to be less durable and require more maintenance than hardwoods. However, softwoods tend to develop quicker than hardwoods, meaning they’re cheaper to manufacture. Accoya wood is different to traditional softwoods, possessing a number of important qualities found on hardwoods.

Accoya windows

The qualities of Accoya windows are listed below, several of which demonstrate how Accoya differs from traditional softwoods.Accoya oak timber windows

  • When used in external applications, Accoya timber is guaranteed for 50 years. It will also last with only minimal amounts of maintenance.
  • The dimensional stability of Accoya timber is incredible, whilst it’s highly resistant to shrinkage and swelling.
  • Available in various styles, including sliding sash and casement, Accoya windows are suitable for a huge variety of applications.
  • Accoya wood is relatively light in colour, meaning an impressive selection of finishes can be successfully applied to it. This includes those with translucent stains.
  • It’s ultra-sustainable, combining the carbon benefits of softwoods with the durability of hardwoods. This is exemplified by its C2C Gold accreditation. This means it’s ideal for homeowners looking to be as eco-friendly as possible.
  • The thermal qualities of Accoya windows are exceptional, keeping homes cool in the summer and warm in the winter. This provides homeowners with significant potential to save on energy bills.

Accoya disadvantages

Some might say that a disadvantage of Accoya is that it will need restaining or revarnishing periodically. However, because it has undergone a process of acetylation, its ability to absorb water is reduced by 80%. This means that any finishes applied to Accoya timber, in fact, tend to last for longer than they do on other types of wood.

Are hardwood or Accoya windows right for my home?

Whether you prefer Accoya or hardwood timber windows, you’ll be getting long-lasting and thermally-insulating windows that will require minimal upkeep to keep them looking and performing their best. However, for those who want to play their part in making the planet greener, or enjoy a light, natural finish, Accoya has the edge. For a darker, natural finish, we recommend our African Sapele windows.

Whilst both Accoya and hardwoods make fantastic timber windows, we hope this short guide has helped you to determine which is best suited to your home. And if you’d like a set constructed from either material, get in touch with Reddish Joinery today. We’re available to call on 0161 969 7474 or you can contact us online.

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