Letter to the Editor- RE:Beware unglazed R9

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Letter to the Editor- RE:Beware unglazed R9

Thank you for an interesting letter which I support, but perhaps not as he intended.  Like Kurt I too remember the early days of uPVC (as it then was), sadly for me mine date back to the mid 1960’s when household names like Crittall Hope, first took tentative steps towards plastic.
At that time, Trocal and Miplam sections had un-galvanised steel reinforcement, because it was thought no rain would ever touch the steel; however the steel reinforcement created its own moisture by sweating inside the sealed chambers….result, rusty steel.  So he is right to be cautious, the industry has fought hard to shed its poor image from the 1980’s however there are several issues here, glass bonding, steel reinforcement and construction methods.
Like Kurt, I have ensured Masterframe lead by example. A rated, SBD and fully steel reinforced sashes as standard shows that it is possible to achieve security and great thermal properties, it just means we must incur significant other costs like Krypton to balance the heat lost through steel reinforcement.
The danger with these arguments is that it suggests one cost saving measure (no steel) is better than a perceived loss of weld strength using a new concept offered by competitors. Let’s keep this simple, I fully accept that any “on site operation” can never be controlled better than factory conditions, I also accept that glass bonding seems to be the way forward for those seeking to reduce material costs (no steel), but products would be even stronger (and expensive) were reinforcement retained and sashes, glass bonded!
Whilst windows from fabricators not using steel reinforcement and not glass bonding will look identical, it’s obvious that they’ll perform far worse, expect service issues and further reputational damage, both company and industry. 
Selling to high end consumers in the heritage market, installers have found products lacking. Homeowners in this sector own expensive houses, they don’t want a repeat of the same mistakes early PVCu created. Today’s buyer is better educated, they know about foils, plant on bars and monkey tailed handles. What’s more however, they are much more willing to purchase top end products; providing they like what they see trust the company and believe new windows will be an investment
What they dislike immensely is the diagonal weld line right across the corner, or mechanical joints that are open to the elements! What they want is a wooden window, with authentic wooden joints, without the hassle of wooden windows. In other words they want a foiled PVC window, which looks the same as wood, with old fashioned handles, a wood grained surface, and most importantly, butt joints, inside and out.  Therefore fabricators have a few choices corner joints. 

~Stay with 45° Welded, strong, easy to manufacture but a dead give-away its plastic!

~Mechanical joined profiles, glued and screwed corners, strong, but usually open ended.

~External Timber Look, (ETL) a welded solution with a butt joint on one side, no license fees. 

~Timberweld® a welded solution with the same timber look appearance, but on both sides.


Most people who’ve seen Timberweld® acknowledge it’s the prettiest jointing method on the market (that’s why we patented it back in 2005); however those unhappy with paying a license fee tend to suggest the reason is weld strength.
Obviously removing two faces of profile has to reduce the weld strength, however, as interest develops and this method is adopted by profile companies, so profiles change and additional components inserted to add back the missing strength.
The all-important advantage of a product that incorporates Timberweld® technology is that it is beautiful and authentic, looking every bit like an original timber window and giving the impression that it has been lovingly produced by a master craftsman.
So perhaps the ideal world is one where fabricators insert steel reinforcement, bond the glass into place and weld the corners with Timberweld® resulting in strong, durable and beautiful, timber alternative windows, anything less is cutting corners! 
Kindest regards
Alan Burgess, Managing Director







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