10 / February

Blog: A Brief History of uPVC Windows

The double glazing boom began in the 1970s with the introduction of aluminium windows, sliding patio doors and secondary glazing.

By the 1980s, property prices were starting to increase, uPVC windows were introduced to the UK from Germany and replacement windows were all the rage. Aluminium was a cold material and the thermal break systems weren’t effective, causing the frames to condensate (sweat) in the colder months. uPVC was warmer. Outward-opening uPVC windows were externally glazed (the glazing beads were fitted on the outside) and were installed with poor security ‘cock-spur’ handles. Georgian window styles could now be achieved using a white bar in-between the window panes and leaded designs were rife. Moulded uPVC door panels became available offering a wide selection of jelly-mould type copies of timber door styles. Woodgrain options were also introduced allowing people to ‘change the look of their home’. In reflection, this was not a good period for property style!

uPVC windows were huge by the 1990s and by the year 2000, most uPVC window manufacturers were offering internally glazed windows with higher security options and softer shaped frames. The gaskets around the glass were ill-fitting, large and black. White gaskets then hit the market and were greeted with much enthusiasm, however, they were soon withdrawn again when dirt and mildew built up and became visible. People switched their white gaskets back to black gaskets. External Georgian bars were now available for those that wanted a more realistic Georgian appearance. Although harder to clean than those with internal Georgian bars, we now had a uPVC window that started to resemble a more traditional timber window.

2010 saw a revolution in the glazing industry. There was a high demand for high quality, maintenance-free windows that performed like uPVC windows, but didn’t look like uPVC windows. Owners of high value homes didn’t want their windows to look like uPVC, they wanted them to look like timber but without the hassle and maintenance that is associated with timber windows.

uPVC profiles are now available in grained finishes and in several colours. Precision manufacturing created neater corners and mechanical joints, meaning that a uPVC window could now look just like a timber window. And so, the Timber-Alternative Window was born. These new, high quality windows enabled homeowners to have replacement uPVC windows without any compromise on style.

The last 10 years has seen a re-birth of the replacement window. Design is now the main motivation for replacing windows. You can choose flush or storm casements or traditional sliding sash windows and in almost any colour, from soft whites to trendy greens and contemporary greys and they can be installed in any property type; character cottage, Victorian terraced or contemporary new build.

See our recent uPVC windows projects >

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