Choosing joinery used to be simple; it was timber or nothing. Today the options are wider and, with so many older homes undergoing renovation, it's often a question of selecting the most sympathetic product.
Consider factors such as location. Coastal areas or those affected by high wind bring special issues to the table. And with the current Building Code’s focus on energy efficiency, check the measure of thermal resistance (R-value) but remember, unless walls and ceilings are well insulated, money spent on double glazing will be wasted.
Aluminium joinery is more readily available, offer a multitude of colour options and is generally cheaper than timber or uPVC, says Ronnie Pocock, marketing manager at Fletcher Window and Door Systems.
“Aluminium also uses some of the latest innovations in efficient weather management and employs a number of practical solutions. It’s long-lasting, robust and won’t warp over time.” Exterior maintenance is practically zero and, with aluminium, you’ve none of the issues associated with timber joinery such as shrinking, swelling or warping.
But what about chalking? And some of those less appealing colours? Chalking can occur on older joinery, and with particular colours, says Ronnie, adding today’s powder quality and processes are far superior, “so it isn’t much of an issue.”
The colour of older aluminium joinery can be changed – ideally by a re-coater who is a member of the Window Association of NZ – and he’s heard of cases where a house has sold for a considerably higher price as a result. Window Recolouring Ltd does re-painting and re-coating in the Auckland area.
Aluminium joinery has undergone something of a revolution with the introduction of thermally broken products, where a polyamide barrier separates the internal and external frames. Initially people were too slow to see the value says Ronnie, however, changing expectations and publicity around the benefits of insulation and double glazing mean cost it no longer such an issue.
From $350 per square metre.
Composite joinery offers homeowners the best of two worlds; the warmth of natural timber in contemporary or traditional styling inside, and on the outside, the durability and ease of maintenance of aluminium.
Composite window frames can accommodate single or double glazing, says Ronnie Pocock, at FWDS, manufacturers of the ALTI® composite product range, “although they’re not as thermally efficient as thermally broken aluminium, timber or PVC.” Double glazing will reduce condensation but, he says, for best results you need an active or passive ventilation system.
Renovators of bungalows and villas are finding composite joinery provides a solution that is respectful of the original character of the house, says Ronnie. “Particularly with additions where there is an open-plan space that’s semi-separate from the main house via a glazed walkway.”
As for pricing? Every situation is different, says Ronnie. “Different product, glass specification, windzone, colour, installation requirements – so it’s difficult to give a number. There’s no such thing as an off-the-shelf solution in New Zealand. It’s all bespoke so you have the peace of mind that comes with getting exactly what you’re willing to pay for.”
From $550 per square metre.
With a market share of 75% in Europe and North America, it’s surprising how little New Zealanders know about PVC joinery, says Andrew McGeorge, ‘the PVC man’ from Canterbury PVC Windows. “It’s been slow to catch on here but is often the first choice of people who’ve relocated from overseas.”
PVC frames, also marketed as uPVC or PVC u, offer a number of advantages, says Andrew, not least of which are improved thermal and acoustic performances. (Being thermally non-conductive means condensation is kept to a minimum).
Double seals and multi-point latching improve air-tightness and increase security, and another plus is the fact that PVC cannot rust or corrode. Frames come in a wide variety of opening styles with welded joints for stronger, leak-free corners.
But not all PVC is created equal. Andrew advises checking that doors and windows comply with the NZ Window Association’s ‘sever climate’ requirements, and that the PVC formulation contains a minimum Rutile Titanium Dioxide content of 8phr, which ensures the product is not destroyed by sunlight. “Resistance to chalking and fading is high on everyone’s list.”
PVC is a premium product but one that’s within reach of most budgets; although colour choice is still limited. There’s a “very, very rough calculator” on Andrew’s pvcman website. He says that while cost is “generally more than thermally broken aluminium but less than new timber windows,” long term you’re looking at real value for money.
“If we work with designers early on, costs can often be cut and in some cases PVC can work out cheaper than thermally broken aluminium.”
From $500 per square metre.
Thermal ratings are critical, says Andrew Riley, GM of timber joinery manufacturers McNaughton Windows and Doors. But the R-value of timber is just one of the advantages he highlights.
“It’s also a natural and aesthetically pleasing product, offers a great variation in design, repairs easily, can change colour with a coat of paint – and it’s a renewable resource with a reduced environmental impact.
“It’s encouraging that homeowners are taking an interest in embodied energy when calculating the environmental impact of their choices.”
Timber’s environmental advantage is further compounded when its longer lifespan is considered, he says.
“You only need to look at renovations on houses built 80 years ago to see that well constructed and maintained timber windows have a proven lifespan in comparison to other products.”
Cost can still be a stumbling block however. Andrew believes the key is for renovators to know what they expect from a product and look for those features.
“Don’t let the initial upfront price determine your choice.” Despite timber frequently being more expensive than standard aluminium joinery, he says they’re increasingly hearing renovators and new home builders talk about the importance they’re placing on thermal qualities, environmental impact and durability, “all of which support and often justify the use of timber joinery.”
McNaughton manufacture to a tested standard and with so many design options available today, Andrew advises renovators to ask for assurance and evidence that their choice of windows and doors meets NZS 4211 Building Standards.
Quality timber joinery adds to both the indoor and outdoor appeal of contemporary and traditional home designs – but choosing hardware that ensures smooth, water-tight operation is essential.
Allegion’s Brio Weatherfold range adds functionality, security, and that all-important weather-tightness to folding doors and windows, says Stuart Taylor.
“The flush bolts of the Brio Weatherfold hardware come in four finishes – satin stainless steel, polished brass, polished stainless steel and black – that accent both painted and oiled timber and provide a proven system that prevents drafts and water entering through the doors or windows. They’re stylish and they’re built to last.
From $575 per square metre.
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*Costs are rough estimates and are subject to change. For a fixed-quote accurate to your specific project, please consult your local Refresh Renovations specialist. All Refresh Renovations franchises are independently owned and operated.
All Refresh Renovations franchises are independently owned and operated.
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