uPVC Windows and Doors
Since the invention of plastic in mid 19th century and the accidental discovery of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in the later part of the same century, a world of possibilities opened up for the "wonder" products. PVC is the world's third most produced product. It is used for a myriad of applications that we seem to be over exposed to plastics.
The word plastic used to be synonymous with low-cost and low quality materials. Even PVC was not a preferred construction material up until the mid 20th century. Though PVC was originally used for the production of electrical wires and cables, the material was not a popular choice for such applications as water supply lines and waste pipes lines. The preferred materials in terms of water and sewer lines in the construction world then were galvanized iron and concrete pipe.
As innovations in technology were made, the quality of PVC was also improved. Plasticizers were put in the mixture to make the polyvinyl chloride more pliable for making wires and cables. Electrical wiring was threaded through flexible wire insulation for ease in electrical wiring of buildings. Today, PVC is an accepted material for water pipe lines and other plumbing and sanitary pipes.
Additives called plasticizers are mixes with PVC to make it pliable. A variation of PVC is the uPVC where "u" stands for unplasticized. UPVC is rigid PVC that is used in more constructions today because it is inexpensive and requires very little maintenance. The material is interchangeable with vinyl or vinyl siding. UPVC is a very versatile material as it can be made into door and window frames; fascias; weatherboarding and sidings. It comes in a range of colours, prints and textures. The same uPVC has completely replaced the use of cast iron and galvanized iron for the drainage system of a house
Advantages of using uPVC
Nothing could replace the beauty of wooden doors and windows. However, more homeowners are opting for uPVC windows and doors replacement for their old homes whereas new homeowners are opting for uPVC doors and windows in their new homes as they are practical and inexpensive as such are quick and easy to fabricate and install. Its smooth and porous-free surface is very easy to clean and practically requires no maintenance.
uPVC doors and windows are weather-proof. The material can withstand extreme weather such as high humidity and dryness, sub-zero temperature or high temperature. They are best used in coastal areas where there are great occurrences of heavy rains, storm and salty air. These conditions will not affect the uPVCs as they can go through years of extreme weather without rotting and warping.
They are also fire-retardants. The material has been tested and it has consistently shown that it is not combustible and in effect is self-extinguishing.
UPVC doors & windows are highly water resistant. The fabrication of each unit is made so that there are no gaps or cracks where water can seep through. The product is so waterproof that it is the preferred material in environment that needs waterproof materials. UPVC can be used in both temperate and tropical zones without losing its reliability.
UPVC doors and windows provide greater insulation than wood. Windows are mostly double-pane and that in itself is a design to keep the heat in and cold out or vice versa. The insulation quotient is more than enough for a comfortable and cosy atmosphere not to mention the energy saved. UPVCs are also energy efficient because it is non-conducive and such materials can dramatically reduce the loss of energy in your home.
Acoustic-wise, uPVCs are great noise insulators and retardants. They are perfect to use in institutional buildings where noise level is best kept minimal. There are plenty of schools, hospitals, and offices that are fitted with uPVC doors and windows because the windows are tightly sealed thereby providing a level of noise reduction from external sources.
Plastics and PVCs have brought a lot of havoc to the environment only because they were improperly disposed. But if you assess the situation plastics and PVCs help prevent deforestation as wood will no longer be used for the manufacture of doors and windows. UPVCs are recyclable too just like plastics.
UPVC door and windows are secure as they have multi-point locking mechanism. It would be hard to break a uPVC frame. There are a lot of options in terms of colours and designs too as technology has made it possible for uPVCs to simulate wood.
Maintaining uPVC doors and windows
Very little maintenance is required of uPVCs. Occasional wipes are of course better but generally, repainting and weather-proofing is not a necessity unless you want to change the colour of your uPVCs. In some instances, older uPVCs might be running on the dingy side and in such cases, it might be a good idea to bring back its original colour.
Consumers have their own irks and quirks in cleaning their uPVC door and windows. The important thing to remember is to never use any abrasive cleanser and cloth so as not to take off the first layer of "shine" on the uPVCs. There are cleaning products made especially for uPVCs. You can ask any supplier for the proper cleanser.
A cost-effective and "green" way to clean dirty uPVCs is to mix vinegar and hot water (1:4), pour the mixture in a sprayer and spray it on the uPVC. Let the mixture sit for a while before you drag a clean and smooth rag over it. If the uPVC has lost some of its gloss, there are available PVC gloss products that you can apply to bring back its original shine.
Some consumers actually use baby wipes or their powder laundry detergent to clean their uPVCs and are happy with the results.