As far as the evolution of PVC goes, it’s only gotten fatter. From the high 50mm’s, low 60’s, up to today’s 70mm depth. The depth of PVC is getting deeper. The 70mm system is the one UK housing companies are the most used to and build their homes to fit that standard. But times they are a changing, and PVC is back on that see-food diet.
Edging towards 100mm
As PVC tries even harder to compete with timber products, the depth of profiles are getting deeper. For example, Evolution’s Storm 2 product has a profile depth of 82mm, 12mm deeper than we’re used to. Making a profile 12mm deeper than normal fit into new and existing housing stock usually isn’t a problem. There’s usually enough existing brick reveal to get away with it. And even if there isn’t, a very small reduction to the existing plaster line should do the trick.
However, there is far deeper than that on the market still. The popular Residence 9 timber alternative window is a beefy 100mm deep. Way deeper than the industry has traditionally been used to. Now we don’t use the product at our place, but if we did, I know that the housing stock where we traditionally work really doesn’t lend itself to such a wide profile. It would require us to butcher a lot more plaster than most homeowners would be comfortable with, and when it comes to tiled areas like kitchens and bathrooms, it would be more complicated.
Deeper frames however are easier when it comes to new-build properties. Plasterers can simply plaster up to the windows and doors once they have been fitted, so no problems there. But retro-fitting the new range of deeper profiles isn’t always easy.
Triple glazing pushing the boundaries
It’s not just timber-esque products that are pushing the profiles outwards, but developments in triple glazing too. This year it has become apparent that for triple glazing to be worth it at all, units have to be breaking the 40mm barrier. Problem is, most existing 70mm profiles won’t accommodate units that deep, well, not without using a damn ugly glazing bead. So, this has encouraged system companies to start producing deeper profiles to fit the new unit sizes.
The triple glazing debate is for another post, but what it is doing is contributing to the growing trend of deeper profiles. But my concern is that unless homeowners agree on some potentially quite large scale plaster re-sizing, certain new products will become off limits to some. Now for some, including my own customers, the chopping back of plaster and removal of tiles isn’t a big deal, but for some it will be.
Then there is the problems with those houses where you find that the plaster is blown once you get on site and start to take the old windows out. It suddenly jumps from planned neat cutting away, to whole chunks falling off in your hands. We’ve all had those sorts of jobs. It’s gone from upgrading windows to making good to all the reveals. And this is the problem. Houses have been built to take a 70mm profile, not much bigger. As our industry quite rightly goes about innovating and continuing to evolve, builders are going to take into account the new range of products so that deeper profiles can be fitted at the pre-plaster stage of building, or so that deeper profiles can be retro-fitted when the homeowners decide to change their windows in the future.