Irish say no to PVC windows

Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby ctesiphon » Wed Jan 28, 2009 12:17 pm

GrahamH wrote:If it's any vague consolation


It's not.
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby GrahamH » Wed Jan 28, 2009 12:24 pm

Straws and clutching etc.
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby johnglas » Wed Jan 28, 2009 7:09 pm

Consolation or not, we have exactly the same problem here; I have never understood why councils do not have a simple by-law staing that window replacement in buildings over a certain age should only be according to the original window profile. There would be problems of enforcement, but neighbours on the look-out are wonderful and the 'penalty' would be only that the original profile be reinstated.
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby djasmith » Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:54 pm

hehe I was wondering who would be the first to spot that reaplacement!!! we all saw it coming though! The 1st time I drove past it after the change it took me a few minutes to figure out which house in the block had been changed. It's amazing how something like the windows can change the look of a house almost beyond recognition.

There's a corpo house on captains road I think I posted it before that's up for sale now with all original fittings.... another one that will be ruined i suppose!
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby cobalt » Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:56 am

I've just walked up Westland Row and they're in the process of stripping out the first floor windows of No. 39 (over the language shop). What's the betting they'll be replaced with horrid PVC ones? The old wooden ones were already replaced with lumpen PVC on the top floor of the same building some time ago. Surely a protected structure? I presume they couldn't have got planning permission for that?
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby cobalt » Mon Mar 23, 2009 11:40 am

Yep, PVC going in. They don't even match what they're replacing. PVC ones are divided into panels (12 panes over 12) by stuck on glazing bars, while the old wooden ones are just one over one. Hideous.
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby GrahamH » Mon Mar 23, 2009 12:36 pm

Oh for goodness sake - have all the sashes already vanished cobalt?

Just lob a quick mail over to Enforcement at planningenforcement@dublincity.ie, quoting Protected Structure No. 8710, the address and your own postal address.
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby cobalt » Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:17 pm

I rang An Taisce and the Irish Georgian Society earlier. Emmeline Henderson in the IGS rang the planning enforcement dept and she asked them to try to get out this morning while the second window's still there, as it'll probably be gone by the afternoon.

The second window's still there at the moment, but it looks like they've finished the first. Here's hoping they take a long lunch before doing anything more!
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby KeepAnEyeOnBob » Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:21 pm

Just a question - are there PVC sash windows? Maybe I'm just being paranoid, but some of the new sash windows that have gone into houses here in Limerick (e.g. on O'Connell Ave./Ballinacurra Rd.) seem to have quite thick frames and glossy finish. They are *miles* better than adjoining ordinary PVC windows, but they aren't quite as good as remaining old sashes or even some other new ones.

Do some of the new sash windows just have very glossy paint or even a plastic coating on the timber? And a more basic construction?

There are also houses with rectangular frames where the top of the window opening is arched - would the originals have been like this in some cases? There are other instances in different terraces where the original frames are arched at the top like the window openings, but maybe they weren't all like that?

In any case, nice to see new sash windows going in, even in the current climate.
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby cobalt » Mon Mar 23, 2009 6:17 pm

Good news: Dublin City Council's Conservation Research Manager and a council enforcement officer went to the site, and requested that works should cease. No work had been done on the other first floor window at that point, and the one that had been replaced was still on site. They said they'll be pursuing the owners to reinstate it and to conserve all the windows. Fair play to Emmeline in the IGS and to the city council officers for reacting so promptly.

@ KeepAnEyeOnBob: Yes, there are PVC sash windows. I don't know enough about window styles to answer the rest of your query, but my gut instinct is that if the frame doesn't match the opening (rectangular frame in arched opening) it's probably a shoddy replacement. In my own home, both the window opening and the frames are arched. I assume you mean something like this (from a post of GrahamH's on page 5 of this thread):

Image

You can see that while Oscar's replacements are rectangular frames in arched openings, the house next door has arched frames in arched openings.
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby johnglas » Mon Mar 23, 2009 7:18 pm

Eagle-eyes, cobalt; it's obvious when it's pointed out!
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby Satrastar » Mon Mar 23, 2009 7:50 pm

Anybody have a picture?
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby GrahamH » Tue Mar 24, 2009 1:07 am

I was about to say well spotted cobalt, but in fairness you could hardly miss it! (or the earlier top ones for that matter)

Image

(excuse phone camera)

Definitely the worst plastic sash I've ever come across, and one of the worst PVC windows generally.

Image

Great to hear the original still survives. Good work all round. Westland Row has an excellent array of historic window types.

KeepAnEyeOnBob, they are indeed PVC sashes you are seeing everywhere. They've been around for many years now, developed by the PVC industry to target those who still had qualms about replacing traditional sash windows, or for persuading owners that these new windows were an approved 'heritage solution' for use in historic buildings. They're generally ignorantly detailed, crass against historic materials, the joints weather very badly, and of course above all result in the loss of original fabric. They are of course illegal in Protected Structures.

Futhermore, these windows must surely have a lower lifespan than conventional PVC windows, as they use spring-loaded and pre-tensioned sliding mechanisims instead of simple pulleys and strings. These systems simply haven't been around long enough to prove how long they last, but as with most consumer products which endure heavy use, they surely cannot be that durable or be easily replaced. Certainly large spring-loaded double-glazed timber windows I have come across have proved an absolute disaster, lasting only 6-7 years in comfortable operation before failing en masse.

As for arched or 'segment-headed' windows, these are commonplace in Victorian buildings and a tribute to the skills of seasoned craftsmen. It is extremely rare that you will ever encounter an arched opening in these buildings containing a square-headed window. Thus, in 99% of such cases observed, you can be guaranteed that it's a botched replacement job.
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby Paul Clerkin » Tue Mar 24, 2009 1:28 am

That is a spectacularly ugly window design.
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby hutton » Tue Mar 24, 2009 3:48 am

Well done cobalt - your civic action is both commendable and seems to have paid off!

Paul Clerkin wrote:That is a spectacularly ugly window design.


Agreed. Do we know what gobshite owns this building? :mad:
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby KeepAnEyeOnBob » Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:36 am

Thanks for the replies, it's nice to know these things. A lot of the replacement sash windows here in Limerick, whatever they are or whatever the quality, have replaced flip-open PVC windows rather than the original sash windows.

The red-brick building stock here, whether suburban terrace or city centre townhouse, looks *so much* better with these windows, it really affects the character of the area - making it look properly upmarket.

It's a shame that flip-open PVC windows were put into the recently remodelled Hanratty's Hotel building.
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby Satrastar » Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:44 pm

Congrats to cobalt.


Surely there are grounds for outlawing the manufacture or importation of PVC on the the grounds of it's toxicity to the environment and human health?

How to go about lobbying for it?
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby GrahamH » Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:24 pm

Ha! Good look with Parlon and the CIF et al.

One of the most glittering arrays of historic glass in Dublin can be seen in the below terrace day and night. For some reason it's always so marvellously apparant. Anyone know where? :)

Image



Image
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby GrahamH » Sat Apr 18, 2009 11:53 pm

Meanwhile, over at Marino Crescent, we have yet another example of newly installed, appallingly detailed double-glazed sash windows. These have just been fitted in the focal pair of central houses on Dublin's most important (and really only) Georgian crescent. How appropriate.

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Blank, expressionless double-glazing, thick glazing bars, beading instead of putty, broad stiles and rails, Victorian horns, and an overly protruding sash frame. These windows quite simply could not be any worse if they tried.

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And yet this is what we get in Ireland even with flagship conservation projects such as this.

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The applicant submitted:

"The existing PVC windows are inconsistent with the character of the houses. It is our intention to replace these windows with painted up and down sash windows with correct design including moulding, sash and rail detail. They will be in fully working order. This work will be carried out by an approved specialist."

So straight away these windows are inconsistent with the submitted plans, never mind any objective assessment. The planner's report conditioned that all works should be carried out in accordance with the Department of Environment's Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines for Local Authorities. For the sake of clarity, we shall quote but one of many relevant extracts from that document on the detailing of historic windows:

"The recommended specification for sealed double-glazed units makes them too bulky for fitting to historic sashes or casements. International standards recommend that the sealed space between the two panes of glass in the sealed unit should be more than 12mm and preferably about 20mm, which is nearly the full depth of most sash and casement frames. The appearance of the window will be altered by the visible black or silver seals which are part of the double-glazed unit and by the rubber or plastic gaskets or timber beading used to seal the units within the frame (which should be substantial to comply with recommended standards). Seals have a life span of perhaps two decades and, when they fail, the unit must be replaced. In that period it is unlikely that the cost of installation will have been recouped through savings on energy bills."


This muck is cropping up absolutely everywhere. Even the involvement of Ireland's preeminent historic buildings consultant as advisor on the project did not stop this happening.
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby rumpelstiltskin » Sun Apr 19, 2009 12:20 am

I think you need to pay a visit to Limerick if you think those windows couldn't be any worse!
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby cobalt » Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:04 pm

Update: Back at No. 39 Westland Row, there was a guy working on the frame of the original (unreplaced) first floor window today - seemed to be busily sanding away. Hopefully that's the start of its restoration.
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby goneill » Mon Jul 20, 2009 10:24 am

Where is the best place to get new anatomically correct sliding sash windows, with glazing bars? Has anyone on this forum directed the installation of double glazing in same, satisfactorily, though the use of e.g " Slimlite"? Has this been used with putty on a conservation project of accepted high quality?
Alternatively, has anyone used a secondary glazing system which is visually ok, as at Merrion Hotel?

Thanks
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby GrahamH » Sun Aug 30, 2009 11:51 pm

It is encouraging to see the occasional positive development in period window restoration and manufacture, especially when it occurs on the northside of Dublin.

Two cases in point are recent restoration jobs on late Georgian buildings on Upper Gardiner Street and Marlborough Street respectively.

On Upper Gardiner Street, this charming little yellow brick house has been injected with a new lease of life with impeccably detailed Georgian windows - such a rarity in the area.

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It is difficult to know if they are reproduction or just vigorously restored, but if the latter, they were certainly stripped right back. I suspect they are reproduction though.

Exceptional detailing.

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If there is sadly one fault that lets the entire job down, it is the use of nasty proprietary plastic parting beads. A real shame.

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The original beading on the adjacent house, which retains original window fabric in its entirety. The above profile was well matched, but ultimately the plastic won't last, and as highlighted before here, will probably split the frame.

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Beautiful glass next door too. So incredibly rare you encounter original windows in any of these smaller houses on the northside in gorgeous decaying grandeur.

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Original versus restored.

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If we could just get rid of the new dish now, we'd be getting somewhere.

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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby GrahamH » Mon Aug 31, 2009 12:02 am

Image

I was going to post the above attic window as the final pretty token pretty shot, but we can’t let that unpainted putty go without comment! Unfortunately, the setting time required for putty often results in owners never getting around to actually finishing the job. It’s a common problem.

Another good job has been done nearby on Marlborough Street, on an innocuous rendered late Georgian facing the Abbey.

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Again, being on the northside, and Marlborough Street at that, the restoration catches the attention immediately. Very nice indeed.

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Here, it appears timber beading was thankfully used. A more palatable soft white paint was also employed, in contrast to the brilliant white of Upper Gardiner Street. Alas the brass window hooks are historically inappropriate and visually vulgar. Otherwise, an exceptional job.

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Both of the above pictures' windows appear to be original, the first pair being late 18th century and the single above c. 1830. The attic floor windows appear to be late 18th century style reproduction.


But as soon as you think you are getting anywhere in this city, along comes more rubbish to cancel it out. Further up on dismally neglected Parnell Street east – a street one often feels city authorities have forgotten even exists – No. 162, an on the face of it Victorian-but-could-be-earlier pile has been mauled with the most appallingly detailed double-glazed sashes.

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There are cricket bats with thinner profiles than those glazing bars.

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Woeful stuff. This is the new face of ‘conservation’ in Ireland, and it’s spreading faster that swine flu.

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Another freshly desecrated property is Focus Ireland’s premises on historic Eustace Street in Temple Bar.

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Apparently a Protected Structure (the Record as vague as ever), all windows – which I seem to recall as original – have been ripped out and replaced by horrendously detailed Georgian-cum-Victoriana double-glazed sashes with sticky-on glazing bars.

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Even the horns are stuck on, while the sashes appear to slide up and down on tracks. Classy.

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One really cannot blame property owners for this muck – though questions must be raised when a Protected Structure – but rather the manufacturers of this awful stuff, who know only too well what they’re at, and the legal obligations of owners. At least PVC peddlers can bask in their own cesspit of ignorance, but these ‘skilled joiners’, as they no doubt market themselves, should know better. They bring shame to their profession with such appalling products. Indeed, like the surgeons of old, one can separate the master craftsmen from the barbers with increasing ease at this stage. Given there's only a handful of the latter in the State, their work stands out mile when you encounter it.
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Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

Postby goneill » Mon Aug 31, 2009 8:30 am

GrahamH wrote: Given there's only a handful of the latter in the State, their work stands out mile when you encounter it.


Who are they?
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