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Style, strength and aesthetics – the case for Eurocell and PVC-U

Chris CoxonDespite the PVC-U market having been mature for some time now, early myths still persist. Chris Coxon, Head of Marketing at Eurocell, counters some of the more negative claims made against these cost-effective and high-performing systems.

PVC-U windows lack strength – and making them stronger just adds bulk.

The structural integrity and aesthetic of PVC-U windows were ‘disconnected’ years ago – modern, multi-chamber profiles, featuring the latest in reinforcement materials; are easily strong enough for the majority of developments.

The welding and jointing methods used in manufacturing PVC-U window manufacture lead to poor, unsightly finishes. All windows have visible jointing – and whether or not finishing is poor is a function of the fabricator or joiner. It’s a QA issue, not a material one. That said, the latest mechanically jointed flush sash casement windows combine modern materials with a truly authentic traditional appearance. Precision-engineered mouldings inside the frame remove the need for diagonal corner welds. This results in a product with the look of timber, while offering all the performance benefits of PVC-U.

PVC-U windows have unattractive – and even unequal – sightlines.

Flush sashes, an increasingly desirable style option for discerning customers, offer a superb aesthetic compared to any and all traditional materials; while other contemporary systems have ‘slimmed’ down considerably in the 50 years PVC-U have been installed in the UK. Take the opportunity to view a Modus S window here and judge for yourself.

‘Unequal sightlines’ are a function of traditional window design on older properties – not PVC per se. Where opening sashes are fitted, there will inevitably be a smaller area of glass. Where frames are fixed, glass areas are larger – potentially creating the sightline issue. Fitting dummy sashes solves this.

PVC-U degrades and has a shorter life ‘expectancy’ than other materials.

PVC-U windows have been given a minimum reference service life (RSL) of 35 years by the BRE, with minimal maintenance during this period. First generation PVC-U windows – now 50 years old – are still performing strongly well beyond this period. Glazing units, the most expensive part of a PVC-U window, will fail long before the frame.   

PVC-U windows need regular maintenance

It’s surprising that we still bump into this objection. While PVC-U windows aren’t maintenance free – they will still need to be cleaned, and hardware and other items must be looked after; they are incredibly low maintenance and the cost-in-use burden is significantly less than other materials.

Consisting of 50% post-consumer recycled PVC-U as standard, the Eurocell range of doors and windows demonstrates sustainable use of materials and a smaller carbon footprint than products made or recycled outside of the UK. Eurocell optimises material usage by employing its dual material extrusion technology (DMET) that layers post-consumer recycled and ‘virgin’ material simultaneously, so the recycled material is concentrated in the central core of the profiles where it cannot be seen once the door or window is installed.

Coming with a 12-year guarantee (white profiles only), Eurocell systems are available in a wide range solid and woodgrain-effect colours, all of which are available with white internal finishes to create a light and airy living environment. A further range of more than 25 solid and woodgrain effect finishes is available to special order, including colour both sides.

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