Tuesday, 3 August 2010

A Comparison of uPVC Windows and Timber Frame Windows

Both uPVC windows and timber frame windows have their advantages and disadvantages. It is a difficult task for any home owner to decide which type of window frame is better to install.

For many years uPVC or rigid vinyl or vinyl siding was the industry norm for new homes in the UK, Ireland and the USA. uPVC windows with double or multiple glazing have many benefits that make them an obvious choice. For a start there is the question of maintenance. Timber frame windows need yearly maintenance to stop them falling apart. In wet weather the rain can get under chips in the paint work and rot the wood. In high humidity the wood can swell and in dry heat the wood can shrink and crack. In contrast, uPVC windows are completely unaffected by changes in the weather, and with minimal maintenance can last for over 25 years.

Furthermore, uPVC windows are very popular because they are energy saving. uPVC has a much higher thermal resistance than wood which means in the winter uPVC windows keep the heat in a room better and in the summer uPVC windows prevent heat entering a room. If you combine uPVC windows with the insulating properties of double or triple glazing you can make big savings on your heating and cooling bills.

Another benefit of uPVC windows is that they give much better security than timber frame windows. Timber frame windows are easy to pry open whereas uPVC windows offer no place to gain purchase for a pry bar. Also most new uPVC windows come with multi-point locking systems as standard.

It is for these reasons that houses with uPVC windows and double glazing are much easier to sell.

The main draw back of uPVC windows is that they are made from the plastic compound PVC. Not only is PVC expensive and difficult to recycle, but also the production of PVC releases dioxins into the atmosphere which are carcinogenic. In the event of a fire uPVC windows give off toxic fumes. And if old uPVC windows at the end of their life find their way into a landfill then there is a high risk of landfill fires releasing dangerous toxins into the atmosphere. For these reasons some local governments in Germany and the Netherlands have banned uPVC from new public buildings.

Other than the environmental problems with uPVC production and disposal the only other advantage of timber frame windows is that they are made of a natural material. Even though uPVC can be made to look like wood and any type of pattern can be photo printed onto the plastic, uPVC windows on closer inspection will never look the same as wood.

No comments:

Post a Comment