Re: Re: Irish say no to PVC windows

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To be honest, modern PVC will probably be in fine condition in 10, 20, even 30 years time corkdood – nobody really knows at this point how long the newer, sturdier stuff lasts that is now available. Certainly the PVC of the 1980s and early 90s barely had a life of more than ten years in terms of decorative and even build condition, but the newer forms available now certainly have a longer life.

However, whatever about structural integrity, at the end of the day PVC is for the most part (not always) a ghastly material, and should never in a million years be used in older buildings in particular.

I imagine you live in one of Cork’s nice 1940s housing estates, built at a time when metal was in short supply and timber sashes were reintroduced as a window format. The fact that the majority of the estate still has their original windows is truly remarkable in dump-it ditch-it modern Ireland – this speaks volumes not only about how long timber as a material lasts, but also informs as to the course of action you should take, which is to restore them.

Without getting heavy about it, you do have a certain responsibility corkdood in what you do with these windows from the perspective of setting a trend for your estate! Be under no illusions: your installation of PVC or similar will help contribute to a disastrous ripple effect that happens on every residential road in Ireland, and especially in housing estates where window formats are uniform. Everyone copies each other in what they do when their windows need refurbishment – so you could either help foster a culture of conservation on your road with a decent restoration job, or simply encourage everyone to ditch their nice original sashes in favour of flat, lifeless, cheap rubbish that’ll last for half as long as what the timber has done thus far. Not only that, the uniformity of your estate will equally be destroyed, with a mish-mash of window materials, styles and colours being introduced across the board. All it takes is a couple of properties to go in a certain direction, and plastic spreads like wildfire from house to house.

Of course it’s entirely up to you what you want to do – just opinions being offered ;). PVC sashes are often touted as a good compromise – again I’d argue they’re not. They still stand out like a sore thumb, have terrible detailing up close (even from a distance with most), and can never replicate exactly the former windows and/or the surviving windows of neighbouring houses. Their life is equally poor if not worse than conventional PVC frames due to the amount of wear and tear they endure with substantial, heavy moving parts.

PVC has also no exclusive hold over double-glazing either as is often touted – your timber sashes can easily be double glazed, can be draught-proofed, can have additional security features added, and can be fully restored to perfect condition by any able joiner, no problem whatsoever.

I see you have also posted on another forum (linked on another thread here). It is suggested there that you have to constantly maintain timber – not so. Every four years or so is average for painting – you can even leave it longer on sheltered elevations. It is also suggested that PVC should be coated every 4-5 years after its initial lifespan – admittedly not really true for better quality PVC, but if you do get cheap ones well then painting them is the same as painting timber, only now you’re maintaining cheap poorly designed muck instead of a natural tailor-made product! Hmmmm – I wonder….

The planning issues are largely as outlined above, generally no need for permission if not protected or in an ACA – though your noting of most houses still having their original windows perhaps suggests a lease stipulation if the estate is managed by the Corporation (assuming it’s Cork!). Is your house a Corpo or former Corpo house?

That ‘pointing’ is so bad it’s funny Devin, though certainly not the proposed demolitions. One doesn’t know whether to be more exercised over the demolition of such stock or the erection of the inevitable dross that’ll replace them.

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