Clearview National March 2016 - Issue 172 - Page 60

DOORS&WINDOWS The Secrets of Composite Doors and Windows »»FROM THE MOST AMBITIOUS OF Grand Designs, to the simplest DIY fixeruppers there is one build feature that keeps cropping up – and that is composites. Composite windows and doors are becoming the solution of choice for the discerning designer but just what is their appeal? And what is behind the seeming surge in popularity that has seen composites become a true competitor with their traditional timber and more modern PVCu competitors? According to AluWood, a leading manufacturer of composite windows and doors, the secret of the product’s success lies in a unique combination of factors, much like its design relies on a unique combination of materials. Because they are constructed using timber interiors and aluminium exteriors, composites are the only option able to truly offer the consumer the best of both worlds when it comes to appearance and performance. Combining the classic interior appearance of a clear or coloured lacquered wood frame with the external durability, performance and visual impact of anodised or powder coated aluminium, this product is fast becoming the one to watch when it comes to windows. The composite designers say the clean sharp lines of the aluminium exteriors are especially appealing to the modern architect, who also appreciate features such as fully concealed drainage within the aluminium (to negate the need for unsightly drainage caps) and concealed trickle ventilation - which help to 60 » M AR 2016 » CL EARVI E W- UK . C O M ensure that the lines of all elevations stay sleek and contemporary when using composites. With the exterior profiles of these composite units available in a choice of metallic finishes as well as a matt, satin or gloss effects in single or dual colour options (sashes, for example, can be highlighted for maximum visual impact) and interior options including a range of hardwoods with a selection of stains and colour coatings, it is no surprise that composites are the darling of the designer, with the option attracting a lot of interest from architects. But it is not only aesthetics that are behind the growing appeal of composite options within the building industry, with the products’ practical features pushing them even further up in the popularity stakes. Homebuilders, it seems, are attracted to composites because of their green credentials, with unique designs ensuring the option offers both longevity and energy efficiency to the end user – making composites both eco-friendly and economic in the long term. The industry insiders explained how the use of fully-recyclable aluminium outsides ensures that composite units have a high strength to weight ratio, resulting in less material usage as well as a lower environmental impact at the end of life, while timber for the interior of their windows is sourced only from sustainable Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) approved suppliers, with the FSC certification being the only wood certification scheme endorsed by major environmental charities such as the WWF, Greenpeace and The Woodland Trust. The choice and combination of materials also ensures there are no exposed timber joints, reducing the opportunities for water ingress and increasing the useful life of the units, while all hardware is fitted using austenitic stainless steel screws for maximum longevity – resulting in less wastage over the lifetime of the build through the reduced need for replacement. The designers explained that their composites also include the use of nylon clips and rubber inserts between the interior and exterior profiles, which helps to reduce thermal bridging, and increases the insulating properties of the composite products, while brush pile is fitted as standard on sashes to improve weather performance (and help keep out creepy crawlies!) The use of multi-point window locks with adjustable mushroom cams further enhances the weather tightness of doors and windows as well as ensuring they conform to the strict demands of the British Standard security certification PAS 24. The resulting product is the perfect choice for stylish, comfortable and energy efficient interiors, saving money on heating for the occupiers and helping to minimise their environmental impact while helping architects to ensure that their builds stand out for all the right reasons.