I’d like to introduce another great guest post from Mark McLean!
This might be interpreted as a rant……but here goes anyway!
This week has seen me travel the length and breadth of bonnie Scotland cleaning up the mess left behind from a “continental glazing specialist”.
Now before I get into depth about this, I for one whole-heartedly support the innovations and general high-end specification pushed by large glazing companies from the continent, however, you have to understand the beast that you’re fitting!!
People spend money on products like WERU, INTERNORM, KATZBECK, NORDAN & OLSEN for one primary reason…..they want to make their home more energy efficient.
There is no black art surrounding window installation, its basically the same principal no mater the product right?…….Wrong!
Continental windows nowadays are usually all triple glazed, this gives them that all-important ultra low U Value and balanced solar gain level.
However, bear in mind that triple glazed units can now come in up to 54mm units, and quadruple (yes you read correctly) up to 68mm. These units for a window 2m wide and around 2.1m high can weigh just over a tonne.
This brings problems itself when it comes to installation:
- How do you transport the window?
- How do you man-handle the window?
- What fixings do you use?
While the answers to the questions above may seem obvious to some, a lot of installers out there seem to be taking the liberty of using the old “day light” fixing approach adopted from the old double glazing days, this completely defeats the purpose of the windows themselves.
If you read the installation manuals for some of these windows they specifically state that the windows are to be installed to a 10mm tolerance all around the window, and that they should be installed BEHIND the brickwork reveal!
The windows which I visited this week, have obviously measured wrong, or on the premise that the installer wants to complete the project with the least disruption to the property (and the easiest and quickest way), while this commendable in some cases, people really need to take into consideration that these high specification windows need to be installed to an airtight standard, behind a reveal, and sealed with foam.
Simply packing out the window (in some cases with gaps of up to 30mm) and filling with expandable foam will not suffice.
As installers and retailers of windows (whatever the standard), we need to be inform clients pre installation, on a site visit, that yes, there will be a bit of damage caused during installation, however, to get the optimum performance from the window some slight surface damage may be caused to the internals, yes, we can fix it afterword’s, its an opportunity to upsell and make some extra margin after all, BUT if the client doesn’t want this disruption, and they fully understand that to get the most benefit they need this damage to be caused then should we be marketing, selling and installing “energy efficient windows” to that property.
As the title says, your products only as good as the hole the window goes in!
Take the responsibility, make the client aware of the implications of installations, take pride in your work and help preserve the reputation of the industry and your own company.
If you find problems when you strip back the plasterboard or reveals, show the client, let them see what the issues are and offer to fix them to make the building more energy efficient DON’T cover them up with trims and mastic.
I purchased a thermal imaging camera for our window division of the company and its been a great investment, take a before picture and show the client where the windows and doors are leaking then take and after picture as well, if you are as good as you say you are there should be a vast improvement and the pictures will speak from themselves.
It’s the easiest sell in the world, use evidence not Bull Sh*$, your customers will be more inclined to boast about how good there windows and the installation is to their friends and neighbor’s……that brings you more business, a better reputation and you can then honestly say that you install Energy Efficient Window Systems.
Blog By Mark McLean: Director, Callum Walker Energy Source
Well said that man. The most important people in a Company are the Customer facing ones. If you have good Surveyors and Installers the Product itself will perform. Otherwise you have a potential expensive disaster on your hands.
Agree’d but you would be surprised to see how many of the companies out there do not understand the energy efficient glazing concept!!
Interesting , but I am not sure I get this , is the thrust of this article that because on the continent they fit in a different way to us , that we should be stripping out an internal reveal to fit these windows properly ? unless the existing fit is behind the reveal and make up casings are part of the work then something seems very wrong with this approach .
It sounds to me like there is a bit of a misunderstanding on a few levels on this topic .
Yes that is the thrust of this article and maybe it did get lost behind the rant! The fact of the matter is that continental windows are designed to be installed behind a reveal, by installing in front of the reveal the airtightness and u value can be compromised. By over insulating the frame the U Valiue of the window and the airtightness level becomes far greater, thats the way in which these windows are designed to be installed, I can send you over approved details which explain this process? If you cannot install behind a reveal then you have… Read more »
I agree with Kev ! Why would you move it back or put it behind the brickwork. What difference would it make? Apart from leaving unsightly silicone / paint lines on existing bricks..
The point is that by installing behind the reveal and covering say 20 – 30mm of the frame you improve the thermal resistance, eliminate cold bridging and improve airtightness. Not all products can be installed in this matter though and if that is the case other methods should be adopted. Covering the Jambs, Head and cill with UPVC trims and sealing with mastic will not add any thermal benefit to the product and it will more than likely cause more problems than its worth down the line. If you want to opt for “energy efficient windows” your doing it for… Read more »
While I totally agree that the best place to fit a window would be effectively in the cavity ,that is only practical in a new build environment, then the requirement for trickle vents will take care of the draughts for you ;) . By all means if the original window is a box sash or timber cased behind the front face then yes , that is a reasonably standard method , but it seems in general that these continental windows should be used on the continent if you ask me , they seem quite inappropriatte for the majority of the… Read more »
The author is absolutely correct here
I am from Iso-Chemie who make enrgy rated ‘compriband’ type products which, when installed around the frame, get a U value as low as 0.6w/mk2 as well as air and vapour tightmess and acoustic and wether proofing the expansion gap-you dont even need to trim over them
he is correct about continental windows though
We are a german company and they install differently out there and they are all tilt/turn types
I am approaching companies to sell an A rated INSTALLATION, rather than a n A rated window in an unregulated ‘hole’
what is an A- Rated installation all about then ? surely it has to be related to specifying the correct product for a building , not decrying the building for being the wrong style for the product ?