We are often asked what is the alternative to uPVC windows?
We know that uPVC is not a very environment material as the degrading ** of the plastic over time released chlorine into the atmosphere which is poisonous to us all.
Our preferred alternative to uPVC is timber and aluminium and we are regularly asked to fit Velfac windows. Here is our story of an installation at a clients site in Whitley Bay.
You can see the decrepit state of the timber frames in existence in the property. They really are well past their sell by date.
The client had spotted the Velfac
windows at a Trade exhibition and was impressed with their quality and function.
Velfac is part of the Velux group from Denmark and so the windows are of a similar design in that they consist of a glossy pine inner frame and an aluminium outer frame which takes the weather. The outer frame can be powder coated to what ever RAL colour you specify as can the internal timber frame.
High spec window installation
Our clients noticed that we had installed Velfac windows in the past and asked us to quote for the installation.
Part of the installation process is to seal the windows against the outer leaf of the building using an expanding high performance strip foam made by ISO-CHEMIE (http://www.iso-chemie.co.uk)
The ISO_CHEMIE product ISO-BLOCO 600 fulfils the stringent requirements of the
DIN 18542 edition 2009. In addition to providing
protection against driving rain to a minimum of 600 Pa
(equivalent to wind force 11 – Violent Storm) the vapour
permeable joint sealing tape also possesses outstanding
thermal and acoustic characteristics, as well as allowing
for diurnal movement.
The photo shows the new rear door with the sealing tape in place forming a tight seal against the uneven brickwork dating back to 1860! The tape expands over a period of 24 hours to fit snugly into every gap.
As you can see from the internal photo the frames are a high quality knot free pine you often see in Velux products. These can be ordered with a paint finish of any RAL colour, but the pine effect is very popular and gives a very Scandinavian feel to the windows.
This installation has been neatly finished off with pine window cills and architraves.
Similarly the kitchen window went through a major overhaul. from the picture of the original replacement window installation you can see the previous builder/diyer couldn’t be bothered to raise the height of the stone cill and instead thought it would look alright with a filler piece in the bottom of the window.
The benefits of this are that the window now sits on a stone cill and the ISO_CHEMIE tapes can make a full seal against that stone which will last for many years.
Once again a close up of this important intersection shows just how well the tape has expanded to make the watertight seal.
Whole of Life Costs
Turning to the important issues of the whole of life cost, we estimate that the windows have cost around £ 150 per year for their life span of between 25-35 years. This is easily compared with a uPVC product which is a cheaper product but doesn’t last as long because of the warping of the frames and degradation of seals, we estimate these would cost around £250 per year over a 10-15 year lifespan.
The clients, Mr and Mrs Summerson commented, “we’re delighted with the new windows – they let so much more light in than before, but at the same time let less noise through, and are much warmer and more secure. Macoun did a great job for us – they were always on time, helpful and professional. They constantly tidied up after themselves so the cleaning job at the end was minimal”.
## We would welcome your thoughts and experiences with this approach ##
Plastics, like most materials, degrade, albeit slowly, in all environmental settings by means of bio-degradation, photo-degradation, thermo-oxidative degradation or hydrolysis. Degradation is a chemical change that drastically reduces the average molecular weight of the polymer. Since the mechanical integrity of plastics invariably depends on their high average molecular-weight, any significant extent of degradation inevitably weakens the material. Weathering degradation of plastics results in their surface embrittlement and microcracking, yielding microparticles that continue on in the environment, known as microplastics. Microplastics concentrate Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). The relevant distribution coefficients for common POPs are several orders of magnitude in favor of the plastic medium. Consequently, the microparticles laden with high levels of POPs can be ingested by organisms in the biosphere. Given the increased levels of plastic pollution of the environment, this is an important concept in understanding the food web.