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    • CommentAuthorXT600
    • CommentTimeJan 22nd 2017
     
    I've been obtaining quotes for 4 new windows for the front of my terraced house, circa 1760.
    I currently have white upvc double glazed units installed but these are getting leaky and are not particularly thermally efficient due to their age. It's a North facing wall, and close to a road so I'm considering 3g. My heart is telling me to buy timber, but being a damp coastal area I can't imagine it being long before rot sets in. The ali clad timber windows look good, but again, how long will the painted ali surface last before the salt air takes it's toll? Quotes from Velfac & Jeldwen have come in at £4k - £5k for the 4 simple single opener windows.
    Today I got a quote of £1200 for 4 coloured upvc windows with an A+15 rating. It's a huge difference and very tempting, but I wonder what others may think about this? Can competitively priced timber windows be obtained or is upvc always gonna be so much cheaper? :confused:
  1.  
    Have you tried a local joiner for a price?
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeJan 22nd 2017
     
    How long have the existing plastic windows lasted?
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeJan 22nd 2017
     
    Ask the suppliers how long they will guarantee their aluminium and its paint? I would try some of the smaller suppliers who sell European manufacturers' products for timber windows.

    With the UPVC, I believe the most important thing is who manufactures the extrusions. Rehau seems to be liked.
    • CommentAuthorGreenfish
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2017
     
    With a coastal location new build I had all the same thoughts when choosing windows.

    Ali-clad I could not find anything over a 5 year warranty. Even if the surface would not fade (no promises) what happens to the wood hidden behind it. All I saw had drainage behind the Ali, the wood still gets wet but air flow will stop rot - really? Are they designed and proven for the warm wet UK weather? What works in cold dry continental Eurpoe does not always work here.

    Good wood, properly seasoned timber etc.. It was hell to get a quote, and in the end they would need regular maintenance. Timber is easier to repair or adjust, and in theory at least from a sustainable material. But did I trust modern wood (as a retired chippie said - when he was a lad they wouldn't have even made orange boxes with the stuff they sell now as premium timber), and promise to paint it etc. for the rest of my days?

    So back to UPVC. People say it doesn't last, but my old house had 28 year old units DG that were still pristine when I left. The spec was out of date, but the materials were going to last indefinitely. All I had to do was wash. The hardware - locks, hinges and handles - is the vulnerable part. I realise now that hinges could benefit from some grease every year or so. They need to be measured up corrrectly and installed well. I have seem right messes in other houses where builders that bought units and haven't a clue about the tricks such as "heel and toe", that won't last 5 years because they were wrongly fitted.

    UPVC is not a green product, but if fitted to last the life of the building I think there are a lot of things we can do that are worse. I don't have children, spent years cycling for transport, rarely fly, minimise my food miles, and relentlessly "reduce, reuse and recycle", so I allow myself some UPVC in my well insulated and airtight low energy house.

    New house has Rehau (because I could get the best 3G into their extrusions), made to match the opennings and fitted with great care. If I could have afforded it, and they made ones that open out, I would have gone Internorm.

    Oh Yes, how the windows open may limit your choices.
    • CommentAuthorgravelld
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2017 edited
     
    There are two different approaches to Alu-clad as far as I can see, either with drainage behind with a thermal break in the timber of the window, or have thermal break between the alu and the window so the alu is stuck on the window, with no drainage gap. IIRC Internorm take the latter approach.

    I asked about it at ebuild here: http://www.ebuild.co.uk/topic/19302-different-approaches-to-alu-cladding/

    Can you get alu clad on uPVC? Or is that a stupid question. Reason I ask is that AIUI main advantage of alu is the UV protection, whereas that's the main issue with uPVC (again AIUI and probably over simplified).
    • CommentAuthorcjard
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2017
     
    Surely painting the PVC would be better than cladding it?
    • CommentAuthorRobL
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2017
     
    uPVC is susceptible to UV damage - extra ingredients must be added to give UV stability. There is some sort of product differentiation going on here, with cheap early windows failing - but better units lasting a long time. Our own uPVC windows are 25 years old now, fitted by the prev house owner, and even the south facing ones are still fine. Well, they badly need a clean, but have never had any significant maintenance beyond that. I did replace the glass a few years back for U=1.1 stuff, but all the seals and profiles were fine.
    In contrast we have a couple of 12 year old white painted wooden doors, that keep needing painting, and I've already had to de-rot part of them, despite regular painting. The rot started from the bottom of the door post in both cases. I got the doors installed, and I regret not getting upvc for them.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2017
     
    Posted By: gravelldCan you get alu clad on uPVC?

    Yes, some of what are listed as alu-clad timber windows by Munster are actually PVC with alu cladding on the outside and timber on the inside, for one example.
    • CommentAuthorgravelld
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2017
     
    Posted By: cjardSurely painting the PVC would be better than cladding it?
    Well if I applied that logic to timber I'd say... surely not? AIUI maintenance of an alu-clad timber window would be much lower than a painted one.
    • CommentAuthorRoger
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2017 edited
     
    In a C18th house it would be criminal to use PVCu (metaphorically speaking - unless it is Listed).
  2.  
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: djh</cite><blockquote><cite>Posted By: gravelld</cite>Can you get alu clad on uPVC?</blockquote>
    Yes, some of what are listed as alu-clad timber windows by Munster are actually PVC with alu cladding on the outside and timber on the inside, for one example.</blockquote>

    This was the spec we ended going for, for the garden room, I figgered if the aluminium protected the thermally efficient uPVC from photodegration, and with real Pine wood inside (though engineered, but therefore stablier?)
    it was the best of all 3 Worlds.

    I discussed the relatively & heavy large panes in the opening lights, with the rep, I figgered their top hung hinged(i.e. no sliders) geometery was the strongest, with no asymetric loadings and less to go wrong, though they really only open sufficient for ventilation, however that was all we needed.

    BUT! It was a bloody nightmare, making sense of all the different permutations, whileallthewhile lusting for surprisingly affordable Lumi 3G "frameless" windows, from a v decent local firm.

    cheers
    Marcus
    • CommentAuthorgravelld
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2017
     
    Heh, timber inside as well, I see what you mean about the best of three worlds.

    Did the nightmare end once you configured them, are you happy with the product now?
    • CommentAuthorXT600
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2017
     
    Thanks for all your comments...
    I used to fit softwood windows made in a local joinery, then I got them Vac Vac treated which improved their life expectancy no doubt. The treatment company then stopped using the spirit based treatment in favour of a water based system, so was no longer suitable for joinery. There is no alternative treatment available locally so softwood windows are now fitted with nothing but a brush on treatment at best. I wouldn't want this for my house!
    Although old, and within a conservation area, most of the properties in my road have upvc. My own windows are about 12 years old, and by no means knackered, just in need of some new rubber seals perhaps. However, because I'm in the process of internally insulating the wall, I think it best to upgrade them now rather than disrupt all my new internal work sometime in the future. I haven't found any timber windows with a decent rot/decay guarantee.
    Has anyone heard of this?? :
    "Our profile extrusion is supplied by Profile 22, one of the leading extruders in the country. We use the new 2016 Optima 70mm system with an attractive sculptured finish"
    • CommentAuthorgravelld
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2017
     
    Just remembered Green Building Store timber windows have 10 year warrantees.
    • CommentAuthorXT600
    • CommentTimeJan 23rd 2017
     
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: gravelld</cite>Just remembered Green Building Store timber windows have 10 year warrantees.</blockquote>


    Any idea how competitively priced they are?
    • CommentAuthorgravelld
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2017
     
    Compared to what? I guess you just have to get a quote. I haven't heard them being especially pricey compared to the normal high performance suspects... Although their delivery costs, if purchasing the Estonian (I think) made units are high for small orders.
  3.  
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: gravelld</cite>Heh, timber inside as well, I see what you mean about the best of three worlds.

    Did the nightmare end once you configured them, are you happy with the product now?</blockquote>

    Yes, only minorly pissed I went for wood grain effect aluminium outside for the garden room, when I turned out, on balance, to like the plain black aluminium finish we picked for the 2 story high front door gap installation even better.
    sigh!
    • CommentAuthorgravelld
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2017
     
    Thanks, I had no idea that was even an option, will bear this in mind for my own project.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2017 edited
     
    Get prices from and talk to (if you can get any real sense) Russell Timbertech and Munster Joinery - their prices for timber, with or without Al-clad, will delight you.

    Coastal - does salt in the air particularly degrade timber or timber finishes? More rather than less of a threat to Al, I'd a thought. It's more about wind, driving rail and humidity, which means anywhere that's exposed. And engineered, impregnated top-grade softwood should last as long as anything, as well as being re-finishable, even repairable, unlike PVC. That means Scaninavia/N Europe sourced windows, made of top grade laminated softwood, such as never reaches UK shores, still not anything from your local joiner, for all his talk of hardwood. Vrogum do timber sliding sash windows of that calibre but at a price!

    Re-finish/repair becomes significant when, at this point we've at last reached, we can readily specify window performance that's optimum 'for all time', rather than expecting standards to rise and make our 20 year old windows fundamentally obsolete. Repair rather than replace becomes the long-term strategy. And un-clad timber is best for that.

    Surprised tony hasn't chipped in yet about the breatheable, maintainable virtues of linseed oil paint.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2017
     
    Posted By: fostertomMore rather than less of a threat to Al, I'd a thought.

    They make boats from aluminium, because it doesn't corrode in seawater. The main concern is galvanic corrosion.
  4.  
    Posted By: djh
    Posted By: fostertomMore rather than less of a threat to Al, I'd a thought.

    They make boats from aluminium, because it doesn't corrode in seawater. The main concern is galvanic corrosion.

    Depends on the grade of aluminium. And yes its galvanic corrosion that causes problems which is why they use sacrificial anodes
    • CommentAuthorMikC
    • CommentTimeJan 24th 2017 edited
     
    Coastal - does salt in the air particularly degrade timber or timber finishes? More rather than less of a threat to Al, I'd a thought. It's more about wind, driving rail and humidity, which means anywhere that's exposed. And engineered, impregnated top-grade softwood should last as long as anything, as well as being re-finishable, even repairable, unlike PVC. That means Scaninavia/N Europe sourced windows, made of top grade laminated softwood, such as never reaches UK shores, still not anything from your local joiner, for all his talk of hardwood. Vrogum do timber sliding sash windows of that calibre but at a price!


    I've installed Vrogum DG windows in an exposed west wales terraced house about 8 years ago. Great product, made in Estonia and very good quality throughout, cant remember where i got the from off hand. But, after about 3 years there was noticeable need for maintenance of the coating on some of the lower parts of the wood work, especially the sill. the coating flakes off and needs redoing. this is a PITA as far as i was concerned so 'maintenance free' would be a big part of my next window type evaluation.
    •  
      CommentAuthornigel
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2017
     
    Vrogum windows are made in Denmark not Eastern Europe.

    I have been using their windows for about 9 years, haven't redecorated one yet.
    The paint they use comes from Teknos.

    Not widely marketed and not overly expensive either.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2017 edited
     
    Posted By: nigelnot overly expensive either
    Really? I must try them again - a few times Vrogum have been twice the prive of Russell Timbertech, maybe because sold via regional distributors. Who did you order yours through?

    As well as uniquely (AFAIK) excellent sliding sash windows, Vrogum are also unique in offering (as option) glaze-in opening sashes, which makes them almost indistinguishable from trad British putty-glazed open-out casement cottage windows.
    The final touch to make otherwise slightly clompy glaze-out 3G windows acceptable (I'd hope to argue) to Planning Conservation Officers.
    •  
      CommentAuthornigel
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2017
     
    I was buying from a distributor and placing a couple of decent orders a year.
    They didn't load the prices so I kept buying them, for myself and friends.
    Last year he retired so I got a quote from another distributor and they were asking a stupid price.
    I therefore arranged to go direct which they were happy to do as I had been a regular buyer.
    • CommentAuthorringi
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2017
     
    Posted By: nigelI was buying from a distributor and placing a couple of decent orders a year.
    They didn't load the prices so I kept buying them, for myself and friends.
    Last year he retired so I got a quote from another distributor and they were asking a stupid price.
    I therefore arranged to go direct which they were happy to do as I had been a regular buyer.


    So can you become the distributor for all greenbuildingforum members.....
    • CommentAuthorMikC
    • CommentTimeJan 26th 2017
     
    Posted By: nigelVrogum windows are made in Denmark not Eastern

    .



    Yes your quite right , my bad.
    • CommentAuthorwookey
    • CommentTimeJan 27th 2017
     
    Posted By: XT600Any idea how competitively priced they are?


    Depends which windows you pick. They have a range from the 'eco-contract' timber to effing expensive fancy passivehouse certified. Their eco-contract windows are pretty good if you are not trying to build a passivehouse (Uw=1.0 IIRC), and quite reasonably priced (for 3G timber windows). About 10% more expensive than Greensteps (with AECB discount) when I did my research about 4 years ago. I didn't find cheaper suppliers than those two, but then I don't think I ever got a response from Munster or Russell.
    •  
      CommentAuthornigel
    • CommentTimeJan 27th 2017 edited
     
    Posted By: ringi
    Posted By: nigelI was buying from a distributor and placing a couple of decent orders a year.
    They didn't load the prices so I kept buying them, for myself and friends.
    Last year he retired so I got a quote from another distributor and they were asking a stupid price.
    I therefore arranged to go direct which they were happy to do as I had been a regular buyer.


    So can you become the distributor for all greenbuildingforum members.....


    Not sure if this would break the forum rules, which I don't want to do.
   
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