Just a warning, there is a football related post coming up next, so feel free to avoid DGB in the next day or so whilst I get England’s stunning penalty shootout reaction off my chest!
Much of the UK has been baking in recent weeks. In fact since May really. We have all had very little in the way of rain, plenty of sunshine and little in the way of cloud cover. So, if you love the sun and have been looking forward to getting some Vitamin D back into your system, these past few weeks, and the rest of July by the sounds of it, have been perfect for you.
What won’t have been loving this weather will be the older generation PVCu doors. This is perhaps the worst weather for them.
Today I saw the first warning from a manufacturer about storing PVCu out of the heat:
Although we are loving this sunshine ☀️PVC does not! Dark PVC + clear packaging + sunshine = melted products. Please can we remind all our customers to keep their PVC inside or in the shade whilst it's still in packaging. #savePVC #heatwave pic.twitter.com/0M02IWthKi— Prefix Systems (@prefixsystems) July 3, 2018
My guess is they have been having a few of these issues and have had to start putting out warnings. It makes sense. Clear packaging in direct sunlight is always going to get extremely hot, so anything in that packaging is going to suffer badly. As you can see in the above image, gutter was the victim this time round.
But it’s not just new products in packaging that will be suffering, but existing installed products too. Specifically the older generation of dark wood grained PVCu doors and windows. Think of Mahogany PVCu panels and foiled windows.
Panel doors will be struggling massively in this heat. We have had it for weeks. Relentless sun and high temperatures. All those old fashioned doors will be doing is expanding further and further until the mouldings on the panels crack in the corners and the door won’t be able to close and lock properly. Even at home I’m not immune to these issues. I have a Schwarzbraun wood grained door, which although has plenty of glass in it and doesn’t get the sun all of the day, still expands pretty quickly, resulting in rattling sounds when the door is closed and some slight catching until the door cools and returns back to normal size.
This is of course physics. Everything expands when it gets warmer. Except the darker something is the more heat it retains so the effects are worse. It’s why the houses in Spain are all light colours. You wouldn’t want a dark brown house when it’s 40 degrees for most of the summer. If we’re being honest with ourselves though, the early generation PVCu doors were pretty garbage. Not much inside keeping them together. Foiled skins that wouldn’t stand up to much, and well before cool-skin tech was a thing. These are the doors that are going to be really suffering in this hot weather.
Can much be done? Not really. It may help nudge some home owners into making a quicker decision on updating their entrance door. If so, that would be good news for installers. But short of hosing down your door, which you might not be able to do in a few days time, there’s not much that can be done.
What we must learn however is to sell the right products in the right place. For example, I actively ask home owners which of their doors gets the most sun and try to advise on colours or designs which are less likely to absorb as much heat to help save future issues. I know that skins have become better over time, but that still doesn’t stop things like expansion or cracking completely. So anything I can do at an early stage will help us as a company years down the line.
Foils and skins to cope
Admittedly, it’s not often that the UK gets a run of weather like this. It’s usually one or two good days getting in the way of prolonged cloud, rain and miserable temperatures.
However, when the sun does come out properly, it really does highlight the poor quality of previous generations of window and door products. As we deal with these issues at hand, the industry should also take it as an opportunity to work on creating better products, in this case wood grain foils and door skins, to hold up better when the weather decides to turn the heating on.
For example, I know a couple of composite door companies are working on advancing their cool-skins to further improve their ability to reduce heat intake and help their doors perform better. I know that certain foil producers are continuing to work on ways to help reduce the amount of heat the darker colours absorb.
I personally don’t think we’ll ever get to a point where anything foiled, or any door with any type of skin will ever be impervious to the effects of prolonged hot and sunny weather. It’s a basic principle of physics that nature will always be able to win. We can help negate the effects of course, but we’ll never be able to rid ourselves of it.
So, as the hot and sunny weather continues for many, just spare a minute to think about your PVCu products and how best to help them cope.
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