wood look uPVC double glazing

uPVC or unplasticised Poly Vinyl Chloride is often called 'rigid plastic' or simply 'vinyl' is a very popular material for making window frames because it light, strong and durable. Unlike timber it fairs much better under the constant stress of weather. Timber frame windows need to be repaired and painted every four or five years whereas uPVC windows need a minimum of maintenance and can last for over 25 years.

For the last 20 years uPVC has been the industry standard for window frames in the UK and the USA. It is easy to install and much better than timber for adding double or triple glazing to a house. Unlike wood uPVC does not expand or shrink from humidity, wet weather and hot sunshine. Thus the glass in the glazing is not put under undue pressure. The Environmental Protection Agency that set up the Energy Star program to promote the use of products that cut down on green house emissions has certified several uPVC window manufacturers because their double or insulated glazing products can save up to as much as 20% on annual energy bills for a household. That means a household reduces it use of electricity made by burning fossil fuels by a fifth. That is a big reduction on greenhouse gas emission.

Another benefit of uPVC windows is the added security they bring to your house. Old timber frame windows are very easy for burglars and house breakers to pry open. In many cases the rotten wood gives with a minimum of force. Furthermore, a single pane of glass in a timber frame is a cinch to break with a rock or a hammer. The same, however, cannot be said for uPVC double glazing. Not only is the uPVC frame extremely difficult to compromise but the double panes of glass are not easy to smash. On top of this most newly installed uPVC windows come with a multi point locking system as standard that adds a level of security to a house.

Recent advances in uPVC production means that uPVC bay and sash windows are now available. What is more uPVC now comes in a variety of colours and even photo realistic wood. This means uPVC can be installed in any architectural situation without ruining the aesthetic of the building.

Finally, the environmental credentials of uPVC have recently come under much scrutiny. There has been a problem with the release of harmful dioxins in the production process and in the case of house fires and fires on landfill sites. More needs to be done to make PVC production a closed process that does not release poisons into the environment. On the point of house fires, uPVC does emit poisons when burnt but so does timber and a number of other household products. In Japan and Europe much has been done to improve the recycling process of PVC products. They use 'close' systems that extract reusable PVC by a system of precipitation and dissolution. In Missouri, USA Changing World Technologies have a plant running that uses thermal depolymerization to turn waste plastics into crude oil. With these advances in technology it seems very feasible that uPVC will regain its good name and again be the first choice material for window frames. After all, using uPVC windows means trees are not chopped down to make timber frames.