Lots of work has gone into developing the more energy efficient windows and doors the UK fenestration market has had in decades. And it’s done a great deal to improve the overall quality of what we sell to the general public. Yet, when it comes to fitting our products, we continue to use a sealant that we have used for deacdes; silicone. Window and door technology has moved on, yet what we use to actually seal the products up has not. But that may start to change.

Sealing tape

For those that don’t know, sealing tape is an expandable foam product that is fitted to the outside edge of window and doors frames. Once the protective tape is peel off the foam product, it starts to expand. The window and door is then installed, and the foam expands a very large amount to then seal the gap between the frame and the wall. Below is a video demonstrating the product in action and how it is installed. This particular product is from illbruck, but there are a range of other quality sealing tapes out there in the market place too:

Neat no? Once the foam has fully expanded it provides a tight weather seal, whilst at the same time giving the new window or door a neat finished result without the need for silicone. Even better, it’s a ton more insulating that silicone is. U-Values for silicone are poor, something north of 2.0 and higher. These types of sealing tapes can provide U-Values as low as a quarter of what silicone provides.

So whilst we’ve all been busy working out how to keep heat escaping from the window, we’ve forgotten about the opening it’s actually being fitted in to.

The video shows how easy it is to install. It save you time, silicone and improves the overall energy efficiency of the product. But if it is that easy to install on site, why not make the window or door with the tape already on?

Should it be co-extruded?

Think about it, we co-extrude our gaskets now, and look how much nicer they are. No more gaskets that shrink in the corners or become brittle and fall to pieces. All done in the factory when the beads and frames are made. Simple.

So if we can do it with gasket, would it really be that hard to finish the product off with this sealant tape just before it goes on the lorries for delivery? I’m not a fabricator, but I would wager there would be a fairly simple way round it.

I also think its something that is worth exploring. If a fabricator could find a way to have this tape fitted as standard as it goes out of the door, it could be one hell of a USP. It would arrive at the installation company, the installers take it off the van, prep the opening, pull the protective tapes off at the last minute, then boom, done! Obviously there is a bit more work involved than that, but you get my point. To me it doesn’t seem that it would be that difficult to incorporate sealant tapes at fabricator level.

If this product really took off in the UK, would it really mean the end days for silicones?

Probably not

Many in the industry will look at a window or door with sealant tape and proclaim that it’s one hell of a finish and looks much better than silicone. I would tend to agree. Siliconing is an art, and if someone doesn’t know what they’re doing with a silicone gun, then it’s going to end up looking like a dogs dinner. However, sealant tape, whilst keeping the edge of the window or door better insulated, takes away some of there skill, and therefore risk, out of finishing the job off. The tape does the rest by expanding up to the wall.

That’s not to say every home owner is going to like it. Sealant tape foam only comes in a select range of colours, and if it means trying to get a colour match across all products used on an installation, a matching silicone may still be a requirement. That said, you can still use sealant tapes AND then silicone over the top. I am told this won’t affect the U-Value of the product, and the home owner gets a silicone finish should they request it.

Personally, I think this is the way forward. It seems like a missing piece to the installation puzzle has been found, and sealant tapes are the products to fit that slot nicely.

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