Feeling Flush? We check out the new Flush casements that are giving wood a run for their money.

Gone are the days when people had to rely on traditional and expensive materials for older, quaint and period properties. Now you don’t have to compromise on appearance if opting for more efficient and modern uPVC solutions. 

One feature that would always stand out on a wooden casement window was that the casements would sit flush to the frame. This would give a neater, more symmetrical look, and until recently, it wasn’t something that a uPVC could emulate. Opening vents on a uPVC window sat proud from the frame, often creating unequal sightlines, and, if you chose dummy sashes to create an equal sightline (ideal for feature leads and Georgians), the vents could often appear bulky looking.

Examples of timber flush (left) and “lipped” casement windows. The “lipped” casement’s opening vent sits proud of the frame. The flush opening casement sits flush within the frame.

Wooden windows would often have a much more pleasing finish than a uPVC window, which at the time, would inevitably look like the smooth white plastic it was. Over years, the clean white finish would often fade, and take on a more grubby looking appearance.

Even the introduction of so-called “woodgrain effect foils” some time ago now, simply looked like a uPVC window pretending to be wood. It didn’t help that these foils were only available in a limited colour range – including the rather tangoed-tones of “golden oak” and the 80s inspired mahogany rosewood, neither of which looked anything like a genuine stained wooden window.

Example of an oriel bay window in the classic orange tones of Golden Oak, with dummy sashes throughout (so that all the leads line up). Does it look like wood? Not really.

uPVC windows may have been maintenance free with better thermal and security properties, but they were no match aesthetically for their wooden counterparts.

The problem was actually quite simple: that a uPVC window is constructed differently to a timber window. And until the construction of a uPVC window could match that of a timber window, it was never going to cut the mustard.

Finally some innovative companies began to push the boundaries in design and manufacture, producing windows and doors that included genuine timber aesthetics with improved woodgrain foils and traditional ironmongery. These windows, now usually marketed as “timber replacement” led the way in revolutionising the window industry. Consequently today we now have products that much more closely resemble the handcrafted qualities of genuine timber windows, but with none of the maintenance issues – the very best of both worlds!

Deceuninck Heritage flush casement window in English Oak with 90° timber effect corner welds and traditional pewter handles and stays. Does it look like wood? Yes it does!

Here at Ruislip Windows, we have not one, not two but THREE different Flush systems that we can offer our customers – the Heritage Flush from Deceuninck, The Rio from Rehau and our premium windows from the Residence Collection.

Residence 9 Flush casement window in light oak with 90° timber effect corner welds and ovolo putty horizontal Georgian bar. Does it look like wood? Yes it does!

Find out more about our Flush casement windows here and download the brochures from our website:

Want to know more technical details about our Flush casement windows? Then give us a call on (020) 8868 1133 or drop us an email – we look forward to hearing from you soon! 🙂

 

Double glazing -v- triple glazing: what’s the best option?

Triple-glazing is often marketed as a better option than double-glazing, especially when it comes to thermal insulation. But is this really the case?

 

If you look at the websites of the big nationals for instance, you could be forgiven for wondering why so many companies are still even selling double glazing when triple glazing appears to be so much better at insulation and soundproofing your home! Here we attempt to debunk many of the myths that surround triple glazing, and clarify the facts to help you make an informed decision that’s right for you.

Example of a triple glazed sealed unit and a double glazed sealed unit.

While it’s true that triple-glazing does offer some benefits, it may not be the best or most economic solution for you.

Triple glazing is a better insulator for your home than double glazing.
The energy performance of windows is measured in U-Values. Lower U-values = a more energy efficient window. Traditional single glazed windows can have a U value in excess of 5. Building Regulations now stipulate that modern double glazing should have a U-value of no less than 1.6.

U-Values for older double glazing used to be much higher. However in recent years the manufacturing process has been greatly improved to provide much more energy efficient units. These improvements have been brought about by the introduction of wider cavities between the two glass panes, low-emissivity coatings being added to the glass to stop heat escaping (glass such as Pilkington K or Planitherm Softcoat Total), the cavity being filled with an inert gas (usually argon) and the use of warm-edge spacer bars (instead of aluminium).

Triple-glazing enables window manufacturers to achieve U-values of 1.0 and lower. So yes, triple glazing can enhance heat retention.  But such U-values are really only of benefit when they are installed into an overall energy saving build, such as in a low energy house or a “passive house”.  Where windows are being fitted into a standard build or as part of a refurbishment project then sealed units offering U-values as low as 1.1 are preferable and easily achievable with double glazing.

With the exception of perhaps the northern reaches of Scotland, the rest of the UK is simply not cold enough to warrant the use of triple glazing. Scandinavian countries such as Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Finland and other far northern countries use triple glazing because temperatures such as -20° C can be quite frequent. Highly energy efficient windows and doors, triple and sometimes quadruple-glazed are absolutely necessary to help reinforce the fabric of the buildings against the cold.

As far as the UK is concerned, there are many who argue that triple glazing simply doesn’t make sense in our climate. It is more costly to produce, produces much heavier sections and has an embodied energy approximately 50% higher than double glazing. Why would home owners pay more when good double glazed windows would easily tick the box?

Triple glazing is a better sound insulator than double glazing.
One of the biggest selling points of triple glazing has been its ability to reduce noise and outdoor sound. The thickness of the glass used is one of the three key elements of the sound insulation. Different thicknesses of glass will block a different frequency, so a combination of panes of varying thickness is more effective at keeping noise out. This is known as asymmetrical glazing. However, (and somewhat ironically!) most fabricators currently appear to offer triple glazed units with standardised cavities and glass thicknesses.

The second key element is the size of the gap between the panes. The larger the gap, the better the overall sound insulation effect. Finally the use of an acoustical resistant gas to augment or replace the inert gas (usually argon) will effectively help reflect noise away.

If sound insulation is important to you then it would be worth considering acoustic glass sealed units (such as Pilkington Optiphon or St Gobain’s acoustic glass, both of which are laminates) or even secondary double glazing instead. Secondary glazing will have a much greater air gap than can be achieved in triple glazing, and can achieve great noise reduction at considerably less cost.

In conclusion – For

  • Triple-glazing offers low U-values suited to specific low-energy and “passive house” projects and can return the value of your investment when fitted as part of these specifications.
  • If asymmetrical glazing is used together with acoustic glass, some noise reduction can be achieved.

In conclusion – Against

  • Higher cost.
  • Reduced light penetration due to additional layer of glass.
  • Minimal savings in energy bills in comparison to the higher cost.
  • Benefits such as noise reduction and solar control can be included in double-glazing for less than the cost of a standard triple-glazed unit.
  • Overall greater weight than a double glazed unit could pose problems for your windows – sashes dropping can be an issue.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for any further information. We look forward to hearing from you and hope to see you soon! 🙂

Solutions for planning and conservation areas

Conservation area woes – now you can have the best of both worlds with our Residence 9 windows!

 

“I’d love to replace my rotten old timber windows with a maintenance free option but I’m in a conservation area and need to obtain planning permission. The council won’t allow uPVC windows – what can I do?”

A conservation area is an area of specific architectural or historical interest, the character or appearance of which is desirable to preserve or enhance. Many towns and villages rely on historic windows for much of their architectural impact and character and inappropriate, poor quality replacement windows can easily erode traditional features on historic buildings.

ARTICLE 4
Article 4, as it is known, is when a planning authority applies to restrict development rights in a conservation area and replacement windows will then need to be approved by planning. Some planning authorities precluded the use of modern materials because the window designs were considered inappropriate in size, shape and design. However with the recent introduction of new profiles that are designed to resemble traditional wood, some authorities have now adopted a more modern approach and will approve the use of specific profiles because of their consideration of the Article 4 directives. Residence 9 has been specifically designed to replicate the documented historical window designs from the period.

Looks like wood – Residence 9 Window showing authentic looking ovolo/putty Georgian bars, flush sashes and 45 degree “timber effect” welds.

The design brief for Residence 9 was to extract the key principles, shapes and dimensions from the Article 4 Conservation Area guidelines for windows and integrate market leading technology into the design using virtually maintenance free materials.

Residence 9 is thermally and acoustically brilliant. It features the latest security, maintenance and performance innovations, whilst appearing completely traditional. Your windows won’t warp, swell, flake or need sanding and painting.

  • Residence 9 has nine chambers and is 100mm wide, resulting in superior thermal, acoustic, strength and security performance.
  • Achieves a certified window energy A+ rating
  • Can accommodate 44mm triple glazing and 28mm double glazing.
  • Attains U-values of 0.8 with triple glazing, PassivHaus Standard, and 1.2 with double glazing, far surpassing the British Building Regulation requirements.
  • All of this contributes to lower energy bills, keeping you cosy in the winter and cool in the summer.
Interior view of a Residence 9 window clearly demonstrates the authentic timber styling and feature monkey tail handles.

ATTENTION TO DETAIL
Residence 9 windows are not only stylish, they will withstand the test of time too. They include state of the art design features and champion British craftsmanship using time honoured traditions and modern manufacturing processes. With a range of splendid styles and configurations, Residence 9 allows you to create an individual design statement for your home – choose from a vast colour palette and a series of decorative options such as peg stays, authentic looking Georgian bars and weather bars to truly personalise your windows.

The devil is in the detail – these small but very important design features create an authentic looking window beyond comparison.

Download our latest Residence 9 brochure from our website here or give us a call and have a chat with John about how Residence 9 could work for you. We hope to see you soon!