Calling in the reinforcements

When fabricating PVCU windows, it is important to consider the window’s reinforcement sections, as they are a crucial factor in ensuring their overall durability and strength, as Joe Levy, national sales manager at Hadley Group, explains.

The modern PVCU window has dominated the UK market, becoming widely popular among both installers and homeowners, and it is easy to see why; favoured for its affordability, minimal maintenance, durability, thermal efficiency, security and the wide choice of colours and styles available, they allow building and homeowners to select an aesthetic that best suits them and their property.

However, steel reinforcements are one area of PVCU window design that can often be the last to be considered, or even neglected entirely, which in turn can have a considerable effect on the system’s overall performance levels.

An integral feature of PVCU windows, steel reinforcement sections can help to improve its durability and contribute towards a longer overall lifespan, by adding further strength and rigidity to the completed window structure. Not only does this provide building owners with peace of mind that their new windows will last for years to come, without the worry of expensive maintenance or replacement costs, it also offers the assurance that the property’s windows will perform effectively even under the harshest of weather conditions.

For example, wind-loading can be a serious issue, particularly in coastal or exposed countryside locations. However, even in these extreme conditions, windows with the correct steel reinforcement will remain firm, reducing the likelihood of damage from deflections occurring.

Alternatively, during warmer, summer months, steel reinforcements can also help to control the rates of expansion – another factor that could potentially cause issues. In warmer temperatures, there is the risk of the PVCU frame expanding or bending, potentially affecting the window’s ability to close and seal effectively. Here, steel reinforcements can help to brace and maintain the PVCU frame’s correct shape, allowing for its continued use without worry of distortion.

Steel reinforcement sections contribute to the long-lasting performance of the window structure and its accompanying hardware too, such as the hinges and locking mechanisms. Being the foundation to which the window hardware is then fixed, correctly specifying steel reinforcements can ensure that the components perform efficiently and effectively alongside the window system itself.

While it is important to ensure that reinforcement sections are included as part of the PVCU window design, it is also imperative to consider the quality of the material used. Sadly, all too often, sub-standard materials are used by manufacturers and fabricators for reinforcement profiles, subsequently affecting and undermining the integrity and strength of the window system as a whole.

Renowned for having excellent corrosion resistance, galvanised steel reinforcements may be a particularly good choice, with the galvanising process contributing to improved longevity of the metal.

Hadley Group cold-rolls millions of linear metres of galvanised steel reinforcement sections for system companies and fabricators in the PVCU window, door and conservatory market every year. Cold rollforming is one of the most versatile and productive manufacturing methods for forming metal, and, with Hadley Group’s market-leading roll forming technology, it allows the company to offer a steel material with a significant strength-to-weight ratio.

In terms of PVCU window reinforcement sections, this translates to preventing undue weight from being added to the window frame or the building envelope structure itself, while not compromising on its overall strength, rigidity or performance.