Re: Re: Irish say no to PVC windows
Itâ€™s no wonder people want the quick-fix solution, as Devin has shown us.
Steel doors were also unusual in Ireland, and yet these are also being replaced with horrendous PVC in a piecemeal fashion in the Mespil House complex in Dublin.
Here a c.1960 house in Whitehall has retained its elegant steel frames, while the house next door has replaced them with, it has to be said, relatively unoffensive aluminium, as the grid pattern has been maintained.
This was the most favoured replacement material for steel until the 1980s â€“ not having to paint anymore was viewed as its greatest incentive, even though thermal efficiency was equally poor.
Unfortunately the biggest problem in Ireland is that there doesnâ€™t seem to be anybody who produces or restores steel windows anymore, or even that specialises in them as part of wider metalworking. And because that type of service isnâ€™t in the public consciousness (goodness knows even timberâ€™s having a hard time of it), these frames simply get dumped, deemed to be old-fashioned, inefficient, and irreparable. Which is not the case.
There are a number of large firms operating in a nationwide basis in the UK that design, produce, install and restore steel windows; indeed some are the same firms that operated in the early 20th century, notably Crittall and Clement, which are still going strong today. There is an enormous steel window restoration industry in the UK, catering for the vast ageing stock of the 20th century housing boom â€“ by contrast itâ€™s as good as non-existent in Ireland. Indeed such is the level of restoration taking place in the UK, coupled with the renewed demand for steel windows in commercial structures and new-build residential today, business is as good as ever.
Restoration of steel frames like those pictured above entails removing them to the workshop, the stripping back of old putty and paint, brushing or pickling off of rust which usually appears much worse than it is, the welding of replacement parts if necessary, hot-dip galvanizing to protect from rust, and then coating with a polyester powder which comes in a variety of colours and finishes, and usually lasts 15-20 years. The windows can be painted as normal thereafter. This whole process is much cheaper and obviously more environmentally sound than replacement with new steels, or even PVC. Some period steel frames can also be double-glazed, and of course all can be weather-stripped. All newly made steel reproductions can be double-glazed to a minimum of 14mm, with impressive U-values provided gas-filled cavities and low-E glass is used.