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 review 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.
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 || 6" x 1.75" x 1.75" (actual size) section of white oakwood that is finished on all sides - Nominal size is 6" x 2" x 2"
- BLOCK || A versatile, water-resistant wood section designed for use in various crafting activities, paneling, interior finish work, doors, cabinetry, store fixtures and fine furniture building
- FEATURES || A valuable species - Machines beautifully, glues well and holds nails and screws very well - Water-resistant due to presence of tyloses - Finishes well
- APPEARANCE || Nearly white to darker gray brown - Paler than relative, red oak - Decorative and interesting grain patterns - Include flake figures, pin stripes, fine lines, leafy grains and watery figures
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
- You are buying 1 board of rustic knotty pine. The size is in the title
- Kiln dry, smooth both sides, ready to use
- A rustic wood, perfect for many applications
- Harvested entirely by the Amish of Wisconsin
- Quality lumber, direct to your door, with satisfaction guaranteed
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 window opening frames. 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.
- These board’s nominal measurements are 1 inch thick (actual: fifteen-sixteenths inch), 2 inches wide and 12 inches long. Each package contains 3 board feet.
- This hardwood is kiln dried and surfaced-2-sides. You can expect NO unsound defects on one face.
- Each board goes through a strict, hands on quality control process from the forest to your home without the use of harmful chemicals.
- The hardwood isn’t a finished thickness (hit or miss) and may still require you to flatten, plane, shape or sand your boards to fit your project.
- A carpenter pencil is included with each order.
Ashwood is a popular alternative to pricier hardwoods, such as oak. It is hard, strong, and comes in a light brown color that works well in many settings.
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
- Quartered Fumed Larch wood veneer raw flitch sheet
- Model: Wood veneer Larch Fumed Quarter Cut grain roll
- Compatible with Larch Fumed Wood Veneer Sheet Raw Sample: Flitch sequence match grain Quarter Cut 1/42" Q/C
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
- Model: Chestnut Wormy veneer wood sheet flat cut grain
- Wormy Chestnut wood veneer raw no backing flitch
- Compatible with Wormy Chestnut Wood Veneer Raw No Back: 1/32" thickness sheet flat cut grain sample roll
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.
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.
- Veneer Cut: Plain Sliced, Wood Type: Beech
- Compatible with Item Type: Veneer Sheet, Beech Steamed Quartered wood veneer paper backer
- Veneer Type: Paper Backed
- Compatible with Model: Wood veneer Beech Steamed Quartered roll sheet
- Compatible with Wood Veneer Beech Steamed Roll: Paper backer sheet laminate 10 mil Unsteamed Beach
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.
- Compatible with Aromatic Cedar wood veneer sheet with paper backer
- Model: Knotty Plank flexible roll knot thin back thick
- Compatible with Cedar Aromatic Plank Knotty Wood Veneer: Sheet roll flexible knots paper backer backing 10m
Cedar is a softwood, thus best suited for interior applications, including interior window sills. 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.
- POPLAR || 6" x 7.25" x 0.75" (actual size) section of poplar wood that is finished on four sides - Nominal size is 6" x 8" x 1"
- BLOCK || A versatile wood section designed for use in various crafting activities, pallet and crate construction, home improvement, furniture frame building, and utility projects
- FEATURES || A common species - Recommended for projects to be painted - Easy to work with in all regards - Moderately rot resistant - No characteristic odor - Can be stained - Low density can sometimes leave fuzzy surfaces and edges when worked - Sanding may be necessary
- APPEARANCE || Light cream to yellowish brown - Occasional streaks of gray or green - Typically straight, uniform grain, with a medium texture - Low natural luster - Usually free from knots
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, such as moisture and rain. It is also more resistant to pests, insects, rot, and decay.
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.