When looking for apertures, apart from the more traditional wood and aluminium options, one will find two similarly named options: PVC and uPVC.
So what are the main differences between PVC and uPVC
The main difference is that PVC will disintegrate over time whilst uPVC, being an un-plasticised poly vinyl chloride, as long as it is of good quality will resist the elements for many many years.
Moreover, PVC (not uPVC) contains 3 toxic chemicals which are banned in the EU because of radiation concerns
That is why, if you’re after highly efficient uPVC windows and doors, price should never be the only decisive factor. The type and quality of material, the level of insulation as well as the workmanship when installing apertures are also very important factors to take into consideration.
Following are some points one needs to consider when purchasing uPVC apertures:
• There are different types of materials which fall under different certifications. Mainly category M (for medium climates) and category S (for severe climates). All our suppliers manufacture products using only severe climate profile, which Malta falls into.
• One needs also to consider if the profile is type A or B. The difference between the two is the thickness of the extruded uPVC.
• One has to consider that if inferior quality profiles are used there is a bigger risk of discoloration, deformation/warping and other problems related to inferior quality material.
• Recycled material CAN be used during manufacture and is normally used. The difference between a good window and a cheap one is how this is used. Cheap windows might be constructed only from recycled uPVC which will result in discoloration. Good quality windows use recycled uPVC only in the internal construction of the profiles where it is not affected by direct sunlight therefore the aesthetics of a window can never change.
• uPVC lasts longer than other materials and can be recycled so is environmentally friendly
• uPVC is almost maintenance free, just simple cleaning and basic maintenance is enough
• Proper windows need to be internally beaded which will result in higher security
One also needs to consider the type of reinforcement used. There are 3 main types: Galvanized Steel, Fiberglass & Composite. These depend on the type of profile selected as in some cases, were one can be used the other cannot. These are also determined by the level of insulation the client wants to achieve.
Galvanized steel is the cheapest option; Profiles using this type of reinforcement have a very good level of insulation and will still perform well over a very long period of time, normally reaching a life span of 30 years or longer.
Composite reinforcement is used when higher levels of insulation are required. They still offer the structural rigidity as galvanized steel inserts. Obviously, this will reflect in the price. However good
quality PVC windows pay for themselves over their lifetime, by reducing energy bills for heating and cooling.
Fiberglass reinforcement is normally used with more subtle profiles. When fiberglass reinforcement is used it allows to have reduced profile dimensions, since there is no need for a large central compartment to house the galvanized steel or composite reinforcement.
Windows constructed without any sort of reinforcement have a tendency to warp and sag and will tend to have major functionality problems the older they get.
Glass type also plays an important role in the level of insulation obtained and not all double glazing is the same.
The general misconception is that triple glazing offers more sound insulation. This is completely unfounded, although there are options of triple glazing that offer higher level of insulation, this is achieved by the different thicknesses of the each pane, or by using specifically engineered glass.
For example a 4/16argon/4 low emission which is a double glazed unit and a 4/15argon/4/15argon/4 low emission, which is a triple glazing unit both offer 32 dB of sound reduction, whilst a 10/20argon/4 low emission double glazing unit offers 39sdB of glass insulation. Therefore, do not be fooled in buying triple glazing for added sound insulation unless it is specifically designed.
Let us take for example a very simple double glazed unit that you will normally find on cold aluminium windows which would be 4/10air/4. This has a U value of approximately 3.0w/m2k. If you use a slightly higher level of glass for example 4/ 16argon/4 climaguard this will result in a u value of 1.0w/m2k. meaning you will increase the thermal insulation by 3 times compared to simple glass. Although the initial cost of proper double glazing or triple glazing glass is slightly higher than simple glass, you will benefit from better insulation over a long period of time hence reducing energy bills. When working this out it will result that the initial additional cost for proper glass units will be nothing compared to the huge savings you will be getting.
The effect of Argon or krypton gas is that it increases the thermal insulation and also improves the sound insulation.
Ours come with energy certification unlike some local glass and all our profiles and glass have a certificate backing our claims.
Fittings also play a very important factor in PVC windows. This also applies for wooden windows since they use the same fittings. As a general rule the best fittings are German, like Winkhause, Sigenia Aubi, Maco, GU and other leading brands. Turkish and Chinese copies of these fittings might still do the job for a short period of time, however they will not last as long as any respectable German fitting.
Currently, at CME Finishes, we are using Winkhause and Maco fittings. Proper uPVC window hinges have 3D adjustments which allows the window to be adjusted even if walls are slightly misaligned. Inferior quality PVC windows, although they might cost less initially, will probably require replacement of fittings on a quite frequent basis therefore running costs will be higher and once you add everything up these will be more expensive.
A good quality window combines a good quality uPVC profile, high quality glass and excellent fittings. Prices might initially cost more than its inferior counterpart, but the benefits you will get will result in savings that will by far exceed this.
For more information about uPVC apertures, feel free to contact one of our sales representatives on 2180 7000 or on email@example.com