Year-round we depend on our windows to shield us from the elements, let in natural light and bring in cool air when we need it. Many modern homes are still fitted with the same windows that came with the original build, very often letting in unwanted chill and allowing our precious heat to escape through the cracks. For that reason, uPVC windows are continuing to grow in popularity.
But what are uPVC windows, and what makes them worth the investment? Read on to learn more about why quality windows are essential building blocks to any home, and can not only help to keep you warm, but save you money on your energy bills in the long term.
What are uPVC windows?
uPVC, or unplasticised polyvinyl chloride, is a type of plastic. It’s also known as a ‘rigid plastic’, as uPVC is a very hard material and not at all flexible. This strong plastic makes for superior windows, giving them excellent durability and longevity. To make uPVC plastic suitable for use in windows, a few extra additives and stabilisers are implemented in order to protect the material from extreme heat. These stabilisers are often composed of metal and various organic compounds.
uPVC windows come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, so no matter the style of your property there will be something that works for you. You can get uPVC in the popular casement window form, as well as the tilt and turn, and sash windows if you want to retain some traditional charm. uPVC is the most widely recommended material for people replacing their old windows, as it has major benefits both for your pocket and for the environment, not to mention being aesthetically pleasing.
The benefits of uPVC windows
The benefits of uPVC windows are extensive. Upgrading to high-quality uPVC has the potential to save you money, keep out the cold and improve the look and value of your home.
One of the main benefits of uPVC windows are their durability. Wood rots over time and aluminium can rust, but uPVC windows remain strong and secure. This plastic is weatherproof and non-corrosive, meaning water can’t degrade it and it won’t rust over time. uPVC windows are also very difficult to break, so you can rest assured that your property is secure.
uPVC windows do exactly what you want a good window to accomplish, mainly keep out the cold and ensure no heat escapes. They are extremely well insulated and help to prevent cold air and draughts from entering your home. You’ll also have fewer noise complaints, as these durable windows help to insulate from the sounds outside.
How do they compare to other windows?
uPVC windows stack up exceptionally against their rival counterparts. Timber is by far one of the most popular materials for windows, and has been used for generations as a way to keep out the cold. Timber is a very flexible material and highly energy efficient, but it’s typically more expensive and will require more upkeep. With timber frame windows you’ll need to constantly repaint when they start to chip, and also polish them to keep them in pristine shape.
The other common window material out there is aluminium. Aluminium is lightweight and very easy to clean, but it’s also a good conductor of heat, meaning it provides poor thermal insulation and high thermal conductivity. Aluminium frame windows are also susceptible to corrosion, especially if you live somewhere coastal.
uPVC windows don’t need the same amount of maintenance that timber and aluminium do. They’re also easy to clean, heat insulated and UV resistant. uPVC windows stand the test of time. They also tend to be cheaper than their aluminium and timber counterparts, although the final cost will depend on the number of openings, the finish and any security features. Higher quality uPVC windows may cost more initially, but can be well worth the investment as they require very little upkeep over time.
Energy efficiency and environmental benefits
Reducing your energy bills is on everyone’s to-do list, and uPVC windows are an ideal place to start. Before installation, all windows are rated for their energy efficiency. The British Fenestration Ratings Council checks every part of the window and then grades it on its performance. An A+ is the most efficient and a G is the least. The latest Building Regulations require all new homes to have a rating of at least a C.
uPVC double glazing offers the best level of energy efficiency, even beyond an A+ mark. These windows are made with an advanced six-chamber outer frame and uPVC thermal inserts, meaning the frames are designed to provide as much thermal insulation as possible.
uPVC is a safe material when it’s not heated and remains non-toxic when heated by the sun. Because of its structure and composition, these windows can be easily recycled several times over without any significant loss in their physical properties. The aim of recycling is to diminish waste and lessen the amount of resources headed to landfill, and uPVC windows do just that. Recycled uPVC is returned to manufactures as a raw material and formed into new products and windows.
We’ve gone over durability, benefits and environmental processes, but the final question on most consumers’ minds is just how long do uPVC windows last? With double glazing, uPVC windows could last as long as thirty five years, and many window companies will give you a ten year guarantee. Once fitted into your home, you can expect high quality uPVC windows to reduce heat loss, keep you warm, cut your energy costs and look fantastic.
This is a collaborative post.