Performance, Versatility and Choice Unlimited; Why ‘wood’ you use anything other than PVCu?
September 8, 2019
The ‘competition’ between PVCu and timber within fenestration has been going for decades. And when you throw aluminium into the mix, with its strong ties to commercial projects, how do fabricators and fitters decide which material is best for them?
Dawn Stockell, Marketing Director of industry-leading systems supplier VEKA UK, discusses exclusively with PRO Installer why she believes PVCu ticks the box for every project.
When buying new doors and windows, research tells us that the homeowner is highly motivated by performance, often under the catch-all of energy efficiency; i.e. my room is too cold, my heating bills are too much, I can feel a draft coming through the window/door, I’m spending too much time and energy on regular maintenance, etc.
It can then take some time for the homeowner to commit to changing their windows/doors but when they do, they will turn their focus to aesthetics; how it will fit in with the design they have in mind; the material and/or the colour, while also factoring in the age of the building, the area and so on.
Considering the ‘profile behind the product’, PVCu ticks all the boxes no matter the project. For me, there is no system other than PVCu that can top timber with exceptional energy efficiency, minimal maintenance and unsurpassable security, while still very much looking the part. It can just as easily ‘mimic’ timber as it can achieve the ‘Grand Designs’ look of aluminium, but at a more affordable price point.
Consider the heritage market; sliding sash windows are often the norm for these projects, but it is usually the case with historic properties that the aesthetics of an original feature are far more attractive than the performance.
This year – as VEKA Group celebrated being 50 years young – VEKA UK launched the next generation Imagine Vertical Slider which combines style and substance. With the Imagine Vertical Slider, specifiers and property owners can achieve a classic heritage look, with realistic woodgrains and timber-like mechanical joints, but with all the energy efficiency, thermal performance and insulation against noise pollution of an ultra-modern product; plus none of the painting/sanding/repairs associated with timber.
One of the most innovative aspects of this design is the fact that the outer balance chamber is co-extruded in black, which means there’s no need to mask and paint during fabrication – saving time, reducing defects and creating a professional finish.
The Imagine Vertical Slider also offers two choices of cill, (stub or 200mm), a new ‘invisible’ approach to coupling windows, and a stunning sculptured finish on both sash and outerframe. It has been created to work with a choice of high quality ERA and Caldwell hardware.
Similarly, when teamed up with other products from the VEKA UK portfolio such as Imagine Bi-Folds, FlushSash windows, entrance doors, and so on, a flawless and uniform coloured or woodgrain finish can be achieved across the complete project, without worrying about a mammoth sanding and repainting task in a few years’ time. A simple wipe over with a damp cloth and occasional oil on the hinges should keep PVCu windows working like new for years to come.
While all of these factors are incredibly appealing to homeowners, for public sector buildings such as schools, halls, museums, and hospitals, they are even more important in order to preserve the traditional appearance of the building, and crucially to reduce the costs associated with maintaining a municipal property.
While PVCu used to be somewhat ‘frowned upon’ in the heritage sector, its evolution over the years (with slimmer sightlines and more ‘authentic’ features) now means this versatile product can look all but indistinguishable from timber and is being welcomed into more and more conservation areas.
And when it comes to more modern projects, the ‘Grand Designs’ effect has consumers lusting over a sleek matt finish for doors and windows – but not many customers have pockets that are as deep as their imaginations are broad. Once again VEKA Group has developed an innovative solution that ticks all the boxes for both appearance and performance.
This surface – which took years of development – was launched at the FIT Show earlier this year, where it was welcomed with fantastic feedback, and hailed the ‘star of the stand’.
Ultrasmooth, ultramatt, and with unrivalled performance benefits, SPECTRAL uses next generation surface technology to create an extraordinary finish that is unlike anything else on the market. It is highly scratch resistant, has anti-fingerprint properties and is also extremely resistant to UV light, extreme weather conditions and harsh chemicals. Dirt can be wiped away with ease, for a product that stays beautiful for longer.
Matt finishes seem to be growing in popularity on everything from cookers to cars, but rather than just being a ‘fashion fad’, the construction industry has been seeing a steady rise in demand for this look for a number of years.
All of this serves only to further prove to me that PVCu is not a ‘timber alternative’, nor is it an ‘aluminium alternative’, it is the number one system in fenestration when it comes to performance, versatility and choice unlimited; it’s spelled out right there in the name, after all.