Wood is a popular exterior trim material alongside concrete and composite. For instance, redwood and cedar are common exterior trim materials among homeowners seeking to beautify their exteriors.
In addition, wood is more cost-effective than concrete and more naturally appealing than composites. As such, wooden window sills aren’t uncommon, especially in sash windows.
Below, we examine some of the best wood for window sill replacement.
What’s the Best Wood for Window Sill Replacement?
Cedar is the best wood for window sill replacement. It’s very common in exterior trim applications because of its high weather resistance. For instance, cedar wood is highly moisture-resistant. Cedar wood also boats incredible dimensional stability and is rot-resistant and decay-resistant.
Pros and Cons of Wooden Window Sills
Though concrete is still the preferred window sill material among homeowners, wooden window sills stand out for several reasons;
- Unmatched elegance: The biggest advantage of wooden window sills is their natural beauty. Wooden sills elevate your exterior trim to a level composite and concrete cannot match.
- Environmentally-friendly: Wood is the obvious choice if you’re not a fan of concrete sills but at the same time want something more environment-friendly.
- Effortless repairs: Fixing a damaged concrete window sill is hectic and costly. By contrast, removing and replacing or repairing wooden sills is easy.
- Susceptibility to weather conditions: Unfortunately, wood isn’t as weather-resistant as alternative window sill materials like concrete, metal, and stone. A lower weather-resistant often means reduced durability.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Wood for Window Sills
Given the concerns over wood’s weather resistance and durability in outdoor applications, you should take the time to pick the best wood for window sill replacement. Prioritize the following considerations;
- Type of window sill: Is it an interior or exterior window sill? You must find extremely weather-resistant and durable woods for exterior window sills.
- Strength and durability: We recommend hardwoods for maximum strength and durability. However, you can use durable softwoods for interior window sills.
- Weather resistance: The best wood types for window sill replacement are highly resistant to weather elements, including moisture, heat, and UV.
- Decay resistant/rot resistant: You will experience many instances of rotted window sills if you pick the wrong wood types. So, ensure to select decay and rot-resistant species.
- Aesthetic preferences: Finally, many homeowners want window sills that are both functional and beautiful. So, it helps to select beautiful wood species with attractive colors and gorgeous grain patterns.
Read also: wooden window shutters exterior.
11 Best Wood for Window Sill Replacement
The following are the eleven best wood for window sill replacement if you want a durable and weather-resistant sill.
1. White oak
White oak is a beautiful light brown to medium brown hardwood with an olive cast. It boasts beautiful straight grains with a coarse, uneven texture.
Its high rot resistance makes it one of the most sought woods for exterior applications, including boat building. It also doesn’t shrink or fade due to UV light. Above all, white oak is abundant and affordable.
2. Knotty pine
Pine is a softwood. Therefore, it’s easy to overlook it when considering window sill materials. However, pressure-treated pine is extremely weather-resistant.
Additionally, treated pine is highly resistant to insect and pest attacks. We specifically recommend the ponderosa pine as it’s extremely resistant to insects. Knotty pine window sills are ideal for farmhouse and rustic styles.
3. Cherry wood
Cherry is a popular material for making a wood bed frame and a window opening frame. Its natural strength and durability set it apart, and the reddish-brown color attracts many homeowners.
Cherry also has a straight grain that blends well with most modern decors. We specifically recommend the Brazilian cherry wood. It boasts a deep, rich color palette with red undertones and is highly versatile.
Ashwood is a popular alternative to pricier hardwoods, such as oak. It is hard, strong, and light brown, which works well in many settings. It is often used for furniture, window sills, and hardwood walking sticks.
Additionally, it boasts a fairly smooth texture that’s easy to finish. However, the biggest attraction of ash wood is its durability. Ash wood can last many years with good maintenance. But, unfortunately, it requires weatherproofing.
5. European larch
The European larch is a moderately durable softwood with a fine texture. It’s not very common among woodworkers because it’s imported. However, it’s one of the best mid-range woods for most applications.
It is the hardest and heaviest coniferous wood in the UK, with a high sap content. However, its dimensional stability is larch wood’s biggest attraction. Larch maintains its shape throughout.
6. American chestnut
The American chestnut and sweet chestnut are good choices for window sill replacement. However, we recommend the American species as it’s more readily available and more resistant to insect attacks.
Additionally, the American chestnut is rated “very durable.” However, use the heartwood for maximum strength and durability. Unfortunately, the sapwood is susceptible to insect attacks.
7. Maple wood
Every woodworker knows maple wood. It’s a very common hardwood because of its durability and availability. Maple wood is strong, weather-resistant, and withstands shrinkage and fading, making it the best wood for bathroom shelves and fixtures.
The good news is that you can use either soft maple or hard maple for window sills. However, we prefer hard maple sills as hard maple is the more durable and insect resistant of the two varieties.
Mahogany is a classic sill material. Its dark reddish-brown color makes it the perfect choice for traditional styles. Additionally, mahogany is extremely durable. It can last a lifetime with good maintenance.
Other advantages of mahogany window sills include moisture resistance and insect resistance. It’s an extremely hard wood that termites and other insects cannot chew.
Beech is pale cream to reddish-brown hardwood, sometimes with a pink or brown hue. It has a straight grain with a fine even texture. So, it’s a good choice for modern and transitional styles.
However, the main advantage of beech window sills is durability. Beechwood has a very high crush strength and excellent shock resistance.
Cedar is a soft lumber, thus best suited for exterior and interior applications, including interior window sills and wood sign ideas. However, it’s one of the best in this regard. It is a durable wood with natural rot resistance.
So, you don’t need to treat it for indoor applications. Moreover, cedar is naturally insect resistant. The wood contains natural oils that repel insects, bugs, moths, and woodworms.
Finally, poplar is another popular hardwood among woodworkers. It is famous for its excellent dimensional stability. It rarely shrinks or swells even when exposed to extreme weather for prolonged periods.
Furthermore, its smooth texture makes it easy to stain or paint. Above all, poplars are readily available and therefore affordable. Therefore, replacing a poplar sill is a straightforward process.
What material should I use for window sills?
The most common window sill materials are stone, tile, and wood. Wooden sills are beautiful but lack moisture resistance. PVC is affordable but not environmentally friendly. Stone is durable but expensive. Finally, tile sills are beautiful but difficult to install.
What size wood is used for window sills?
We recommend a minimum of 3/4 inch thick wooden window sills, though you can have sills as thick as 1 1/4 inches. Ideally, you should use hardwood and finish the sill with a stain and lacquer for maximum durability and weather resistance.
What’s the best kitchen window sill material?
The best kitchen window sill material is stone. It is extremely durable and lasts a lifetime in many cases. Moreover, weather conditions like humidity, rain, and extreme heat don’t affect stone. You can use natural stones like marble and granite or manufactured alternatives, such as quartz and Corian.
Can you use pressure-treated wood for window sills?
Yes, you can use pressure-treated wood for window sills, just as you can for the window frame and roof. Pressure-treated wood is soaked in chemicals, making it more resistant to weather elements like moisture and rain. It is also more resistant to pests, insects, rot, and decay. Also, avoid pressure-treated wood as the best top for workbenches; choose hardwoods like oak or maple, ensuring durability and safety without chemical concerns.
You can read this guide if you are wondering what wood to use for a sauna wall building. Pressure-treated wood is an option.
Can American chestnut be used for constructing a birdhouse?
Yes, American chestnut wood can be used for constructing wooden craft bird houses. It was once popular for its strength and workability, but due to blight, it’s now rare and less available. If you can find reclaimed wood, it would make a unique and beautiful choice for a birdhouse project.
Is Ashwood suitable for making pergolas?
Ashwood is not an ideal choice of wood to build pergola. It lacks the natural durability and weather resistance of other wood, like cedar, redwood, or ipe, commonly used for outdoor structures. Opt for woods with better resistance to decay, insects, and harsh conditions for a long-lasting pergola.
Next read: wood countertop options
Wooden window sills are popular among homeowners looking for a beautiful, environment-friendly sill material. Moreover, wood is renewable and durable.
If you’re interested too, some of the best wood types for window sills are knotty pine, cherry, ash, and larch wood.