uPVC WINDOWS - uPVC or TIMBER FRAMES?
For many people the main consideration when decorating their house or making changes to their house is the look of the change. Will the paint color enhance the look of the house? Will laminate flooring look less stylish than strand woven bamboo flooring? Such is the psychology of changing the most precious material possession that most people will ever buy. Window frames are no exceptions to this psychological dimension to choice. The average consummer might think that uPVC window frames look less attractive than timber wood frames.
It is true that all wood when cut, plained and varnished looks great. In flooring the natural swirls of the wood pattern are beautiful. Wood grain is pleasingly organic and unsymetrical in its design. Wood also feels great to the touch. It is hard but not cold. It gives and breathes.
None of this is in doubt. But so is the fact that the world is running out of trees. Conservative estimates claim we could completely run out of rainforest by 2050 unless we cut back radically on our consumption of wood products and products which use wood or destroy forests as a consequence of its production process. For example vast swathes of forest are chopped down to make room for coffee and banana plantations. Having timber window frames is contributing to this over-consumption of wood that is leading to ecological disaster.
It can be hard at first to think of uPVC as an environmentally friendly product but now technology has improved and recycling of PVC products can be done without pollution as happens in the Texiloop process in Europe or the vinyloop process in Japan. In fact uPVC can be recycled to produce light crude oil (Changing World Technologies in America).
The other main environmental consideration is how long uPVC lasts compared to timber in a window. A uPVC window frame can last up to 25 years with a minimum of maintenance, compared to a timber frame which can last a long time but needs yearly maintenance such as wood putty, painting and other treatments.
If you paint your window frame it will look nearly identical to a uPVC frame. So the aesthetic argument that uPVC window frames don't look as good as timber window frames holds no water. If you prefer to have a window frame with the grain of the wood showing then there is uPVC with photo-real wood patterns that look just like wood. uPVC window frames now come in a wide range of colours and styles to suit every house design. uPVC is very flexible and can be made to look appropriate in any setting. It is now possible to get uPVC bay windows and sash windows so even if you live in an old house you can install uPVC window frames that compliment the original design and look of your house. If you want you can even have the inside of the frame looking different from the external of the window frame.
Another reason why uPVC is preferable to timber is connected to money and heating bills. uPVC window frames make it easier to install double glazing in your house. Also uPVC or vinyl has a much higher thermal resistance than wood, which means uPVC holds heat in a room better. Furthermore, double or triple glazing adds layers of insulation to your house and stops heat escaping. Like putting insulation in your attic space, double or insulated glazing is a good way to reduce your energy bills in the winter. Timber frames in old houses can cause all kinds of problems if you decide to opt for double glazing. Whereas, uPVC frames are normally installed with double glazing as standard in countries with cold winters. And not only will uPVC window frames save you money in energy bills but also they are generally cheaper to buy and install than timber frames.
Lastly, uPVC frames are more secure than timber frames. Timber frames unless continually treated tend to rot in wet weather. They are easy to pry away from the window and an invitation to burglars. In contrast, uPVC windows nearly always come with a very secure locking system that acts as a further deterrent to house breakers.
To summarize, uPVC window frames are stronger, more durable, more secure and cheaper than timber frames. They provide an added level of security to your house and if you install double glazing the uPVC window frames will save you money on your energy bills in the winter. uPVC while it is made of plastic, is not impossible to recycle and doesn't involve the chopping down of trees. And uPVC is a flexible material that can be bought in a wide variety of styles and colours to suit any home.