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timber windows: keep natural, or paint white?

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  1. #1
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    Default timber windows: keep natural, or paint white?

    Hello everyone,

    We have a timber post-war cottage that we're renovating. It has a tin (zincalume) roof, and painted timber chamferboard cladding. There aren't any window hoods. The inside of the house has polished floorboards, and painted white-on-white VJ's (walls and ceiling) and trim. The windows were beyond repair so we purchased new ones, including bi-folds and french doors for the verandas.

    The original plan was to paint the new windows white, like the old windows were.

    But now that the windows have arrived, the timber (cedar) looks too good to paint!

    The questions are: "natural" cedar windows and bi-folds look seem at home in modern rendered homes. Would they look out of place in a more traditional home with painted timber cladding and a tin roof? Has anyone seen this combination on a home? And what colour of cladding would blend the grey tin roof with the red/brown cedar windows?

    Any answers would be most welcome...

  2. #2
    Novice tea lady's Avatar
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    I'd finish them in a natural way. After spending the last month trying to strip white painted windows so I could have oiled wood window frames and giving it up as a joke and resigning to 2 white, I would hate to see someone else cover them up when they didn't need to. To find a nice colour combination walk around with bits of tin and wood in your hand and hold them up to everything to see how they work. Scour magazines. Not necessarily home decorating ones. Just find pictures with a similar feel and tone to what you want and like. A bit of other wood in the decorating and objects in the house will help tie it all together too. And after all, how could wood not go with every thing?

  3. #3
    Champion Messmaker Dirty Doogie's Avatar
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    I have seen lots of 1950's cottages with natural look new timber doors and windows. Most look quite nice to me. Pale - almost white colors - or very deep earth colors tend to show up the timber nicely in my opinion - but it all comes down to personal taste really.

    I think keeping the timber natural looking with a clear oil or a light stain is quite acceptable although be prepared to reoil regularly on joinery exposed to the sun for long periods.

    The only timber finish that I would consider using for a very durable natural look is fibreglass glue (resin) tinted with UV absorbers. This is specialist stuff and is a pain to get right.

    Most film forming varnishes and clear coats need to be sanded as part of the renewing regime - hence i think stain or oil that can be be renewed by simply painting it over is easiest.

  4. #4
    Old Chippy 6K
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    A natural finish on cedar always looks great, but that's a personal view form a 'woody'.

    I have cedar on all my windows and have been using the Sikkens products for more than 25 years.

    On the inside I sand well and then use two coats of the Cetol HLS satin and that's all - has to be refreshed with a new coat every six or seven years - less if there is little or no direct UV exposure, more if on a North or West wall. Wipes on with a cloth quite an easy job.

    On the outside I use the Sikkens Supernatural system. This uses two coats of the Cetol HLS stain then two or three (I use three initially) coats of the Sikkens Supernatural Transparent finish. This leaves a satin finish that remains semi-flexible which i think is why it lasts longer than others I have used. For most external stuff I do a re-coat about every 5 or 6 years, but if on a North or West facing wall every 4 years. Supernatural brushes on easily and looks opaque creamy colour then dries translucent. Brushes wash up in water then a finish clean in turps.

    There are a number of colours - I use the 'Oregon' Cetol HLS stain and the 'Pine 077' in the final Supernatural coats as I like the resulting colour. You need to look at the samples to decide which you prefer.

    I have timber doors in my house that have not had a complete sand-back to timber and re-coat after 25 years of just re-coating every 5 years and they look as good as new. Then again I neglected the re-coat on a less accessible Western wall for 8 years and have just redone those two windows having to sand right back.

  5. #5
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    Thanks so much everyone for the replies, lots of good information there, much appreciated.

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