Choosing the right window frame for your home is a big decision. After all, your windows make up a huge part of people’s first impressions. What’s more, they protect your home from intruders and the weather. For years the two most common options were wood and metal. Wood window frames had their obvious drawbacks. They’re easily damaged by both time and the weather while also being extremely expensive to commission. While metal windows are also highly expensive and heavy, making them difficult to install.
The introduction of UPVC has seen many move toward the material when choosing their news frames. Among many other things, they’re sustainable, secure and low maintenance. But what is UPVC and why should you choose it for your new windows?
UPVC stands for unplasticised polyvinyl chloride. Essentially it’s a durable and lightweight plastic material. As it’s synthetic it became the go-to replacement for timber window frames due to its ability in withstanding cold, rain and harsh sunlight. As you might expect with a plastic UPVC can also be easily produced to replicate some of the key features of wood such as grains and imperfections.
What really makes it the modern material of choice for window frames is its low maintenance. Other windows made from wood are actually incredibly unsustainable. The porous nature of timber means that, without constant maintenance, frames can attract mould. If this is left untreated it can even result in leaks and cracks.
UPVC started to gain in popularity during the 1930s and is made using gas extracted from sodium chloride. The technique used for this extraction is called electrolysis. After this natural gas or petroleum is added to create ethylene. Once the material has been produced, heat and UV stabiliser additives are used to turn the substance into a more suitable material for window frames.
After its conception in 1935, the material slowly gained traction, though its road to mass production was fairly slow compared with some other modern replacements for classic building materials.
In the 1970s UPVC saw the introduction of secondary glazing and sliding doors. This really saw the popularity of the material grow with many homeowners choosing the option for its low cost and convenience. The post-war housing boom also helped the material gain traction as its easy installation meant houses could be built quickly.
During the 1980s UPVC witnessed its next big revolution. The substance could now be made to impersonate the texture and look of natural wood making it an ideal choice for homeowners looking to replace their tired wooden frames.
The sudden increase in popularity in the 80s meant by the 90s UPVC was on just about every street in the country. In fact, this made the material fairly unpopular in the 90s with people choosing rarer and seemingly premium materials to build their window frames. This led to a vast increase in windows that looked more like wood or metal in the early 2000s.
The fact is that UPVC is now one of the most popular materials when it comes to building window frames. So, what’s all the fuss about?
House maintenance and building is an expensive business with owners spending thousands of pounds on improvements and solutions to issues. In the UK alone the construction industry is worth a staggering £477 billion.
All this money means there are big profits to be made when it comes to any form of home development and windows are no different. Hiring a joiner to build your home’s window frames for example would set you back tens of thousands of pounds. These exponential prices have thus seen the more reasonable UPVC rise in popularity.
One of the biggest expenditures for any homeowner is maintenance. After all, your home has to deal with the very worst weather nature throws at us. One of the first things to take mother nature’s beating is your window frames. This is why it’s so important to have your frames built from a material that can last the rounds of time. Metal is a great option but as we’ve discussed it’s expensive and difficult to install.
This is where UPVC really starts to shine. The plastic nature of the material makes it incredibly durable and watertight in both freezing temperatures and high winds.
It’s no secret that energy prices are on the rise. So, what’s the easiest way to ensure you don’t turn your heating on too early? A well-insulated home. Thousands of homes up and down the country turn their heating on far too early because their homes are poorly sealed. One of the fastest and most efficient ways to improve the heat-retaining value of your home is with well-made and fitted windows. With UPVC you can easily have frames that fit your windows like a glove and what’s more the material is extremely insulating on its own.
Well, it goes without saying that your window needs to be waterproof. Though it’s actually not as silly as it sounds to list it here. You might be surprised to hear that thousands of homes across the country struggle with leaking windows and such issues can cause immense damage to your home. Giving water an easy route into your home can lead to issues such as dampness and mould and these problems (if left untreated) can lead to lasting structural damage. With UPVC you can be assured that your frames are waterproof. So, keeping your house dry and mould-free will be a far easier task.
Just like the phrase, your home is probably your castle and so it should be. Therefore, keeping it and its contents safe is likely one of your top priorities. After the front door, the next most obvious point of entry for thieves and burglars is your windows. With some other materials such as wood or metal, you can easily enter your property with a little force or conviction. UPVC on the other hand is far harder to enter with brute force. Not only this but many of these windows come with highly sophisticated locking systems, making it much more challenging to snap or break the locks.
Your house is your place to make your mark. Whether you want a minimalist modern oasis or a colourful space full of personality it should all be possible in your home. Aside from the obvious walls and layout one of the best ways to make your home your own is by personalising your window frames. Some people go for brightly coloured frames while others go for natural wood-like qualities. Nevertheless, whatever option you choose it’s available to you with UPVC.
One of the most important aspects of UPVC windows is the energy efficiency that comes with them. The tight seals and low conductivity make the air between the window and the frame act as a barrier, regulating the temperature inside your home. Considering some reports suggest that you could lose as much as 30% of your heat through the windows, UPVC has the potential to drastically increase the efficiency of your house. With the prospect of climate change becoming more and more real, choosing this material for your new windows is a great way for you to do your bit to help combat global warming.
The secret’s firmly out when it comes to UPVC and if you’re thinking of upgrading your windows or starting a new building project it should definitely be on your shortlist. It’s a fairly risk-free option and is far more sustainable than many of the other solutions on the market. Not only this but with the recent increase in energy prices you can make a huge difference to your winter utilities bill! So, if you want to talk more about your new UPVC windows give us a call today at 01326 617060!