For many decades, silicone has been the material of choice for the sealing of windows and doors in the UK. It comes in many colours, it’s easy to apply providing the guy holding the gun knows what he’s doing, and it’s convenient. Yet silicone is easily one of the most inefficient products in the whole window and door installation process.

High U-Values

The industry has been doing a sterling job of making the window frames and the units that go into them much more efficient than previous models. U-Values have dramatically reduced and WER’s (if you believe in those) are massive right now too. Yet, an area which seems to have been ignored is the opening new windows and doors go into.

We’ve focused so long on product, that we have ignored what the product actually goes into. Traditionally, a window is fixed to it’s opening through screws, then foam, then silicone sealed. Yet all of those materials are incredibly inefficient when it comes to insulating, and the U-Values are ridiculously high when you compare it to an A rated window.

As far as other European nations go, namely Germany, Austria and Scandinavian countries, we’re very backwards int he way we seal windows and doors. The idea of silicone is old fashioned by decades and sloppy. So what is the solution?

Expanding sealing tape

What seems to be gaining traction, albeit slowly, is expanding perimeter sealing tape. This is a compressed foam based material that is applied to the outer edge of the window and door, with a tape. When the tape is removed, the foam tape then expands. Once the window and door is fitted, the foam expands to compress against the outer edge of the brickwork, filling the gaps, giving a weatherproof seal and a much warmer, energy efficient seal.

It’s easy to fit too. Check out this promo video from Iso Chemie:

The foam expands in a relatively short space of time, and the finished article looks great inside and out. Much neater than silicone.

Importantly though, the U-Values and energy efficiency of this product are hugely reduced compared to silicone. And, it feasibly reduces the need for trims, at least externally. So in a cost comparison, the end result might be that this perimeter tape is only slightly more than it costs to seal up a window with trims and silicone.

Obvious USPs

The product sells itself. A warmer, easier to install solution for installation companies means a better and warmer overall job, with less time spent on site. The black colour works with almost any frame type and colour. No need for artistry with silicone guns either.

But will the UK market adopt to this? We do see some forward thinkers on social media that show off their work with this sort of product, and it looks great. But we’re notoriously difficult to evolve and change in this market in the UK. Fitting crews used to silicones will probably be the hardest bunch to convert. It’s easy for us sales guys to promote though.

We will end up ditching silicones? Probably, but many years down the line. There will be plenty of silicone suppliers hoping this change will hold off for as long as possible!

As always, all comments welcome in the section below.

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