Home »

Double Glazing Knowledge

PVC-U Windows

PVCu has dominated window production since the late 70’s early 1980’s principally because it is an easy material to work with, and requires little maintenance.

Reported to have been created in 1872, by a German chemist Eugen Baumann, it was patented in 1913 so it’s been around for 100 years or so. Used as insulation for electrical cabling during the Second World War, its lightness, its resistant to water and being easily extruded to shapes, meant it quickly replaced copper and lead pipes which were expensive, in short supply and that contaminated water supplies.

Fluids of all kinds could now travel underground without leakage or maintenance!

Unfortunately “PVC” has become synonymous with “cheap double glazing”. Conservation officers complain that thousands of “inappropriate” windows have been installed, that destroy a buildings façade that blight the street scene and devalue properties. It is true frames made from shiny white plastic, large sheets of flat float glass with imitation bars inside the sealed units are generally, aesthetically disappointing.

Yet good windows companies’ strive to offer pleasing products, ones which harmonise with their surroundings, that are three dimensional, that are “indistinguishable from timber, even at close quarters”, that retain the character of the homes in which they are fitted.

It’s all about good window design, it’s not the material. Unsympathetic double glazed windows will stand out a mile whether they are PVCu, timber or aluminum.

What’s more, because PVCu is half salt, and because most companies now use far less land fill for waste, with first generation UPVC windows being reground, reused and recycled, the material is far greener than other types of plastics.

Try www.pvcawareness.com for further information.

PVCu can still be cheap and cheerful, however top end companies make beautiful windows, most home owners have to be told they are in fact PVCu. If you take time to study what is available, you will find manufacturers of carefully designed window frames, that have a white foil which looks and feels just like a freshly painted, gloss white, wooden surface. When planners say “they are indistinguishable from the timber originals” you know you’re getting it right!