Filling the gap, post-Covid

Andy Swift, sales and operations manager at ISO Chemie, considers how foam sealants can help installers and home improvement specialists secure the perfect finish for doors and windows.

It’s likely that homeowners, who have been thinking about their properties during the current crisis, will take the opportunity to invest in their properties, which will include moves to improve exterior appearances, as lockdown measures continue to ease in the coming months.

This will carve out increased opportunity for foam tapes as alternatives to silicone sealants for the effective sealing of joints around the windows and doors, where widths can vary in size and installers can never be certain what they will face when they arrive on site.

While there have been advances in glass and window frame technology in recent years, it could also be argued that too many applications – and customers – are being let down by poor installations. Indeed, it could be added that in the light of product innovation, that it’s perhaps criminal that a lamentable number of installations remain unchecked or unregulated, leaving behind a legacy of problems that could last for years and cost £thousands to rectify in the long run.

Heat will always find the fastest exit as it comes up against the A or A+ rated window, and this is invariably the 10mm or so expansion gap left around the window when it was originally fitted. This is normally left empty, but some uncontrolled volume of spray foam can be injected to fill the void before a silicone trim is applied for a smart looking finish.

Unfortunately, as expedient as this might be, none of these solutions create a measurable, long term, high performance thermal, acoustic or airtight barrier. The U-value of the installed window is simply reduced, which leads to heat escape and, ultimately, financial loss.

If Building Regulations remain lenient, we will continue to see window and door developments that only just meet minimum standards. But installers deserve better insulating products to improve energy efficiency and save money for their end-users, and the latest generation of high-performance foam sealing tapes, which use smart foams impregnated with different substances to create a measurable U-value as low as 0.6w/m2k, offer superb thermal insulation and acoustic sound reduction by 44dB.

As these installation tapes are completely weather resistant against driving rain, even to Violent Storm Force 11 wind speeds, installers can quickly apply them around the frame during initial fitting. This provides the assurance that they have completed a comprehensive A-rated installation rather than just supplying an A-rated window. This is a benefit that can be sold on to deliver enhanced energy efficiency advantages for customers and property owners.

There’s no question that companies in the fenestration sector can still do more to improve overall energy efficiency, and sealing tapes are one effective way that this can be achieved. These multi-purpose tapes enable installers and home improvement specialists to quickly and easily seal windows from inside the building during construction, avoiding the need for expensive access systems and delivering cost savings that can be passed on to consumers along with high quality installations.

Moreover, because the foam sealant can be used in the wet, window installations can be undertaken regardless of external weather conditions, avoiding time-consuming and costly delays.

While it’s clear the coming months will be challenging, window and door installers can look ahead with much optimism. Markets will inevitably return, creating strong competition for business. Armed with good quality products such as sealant tapes, installers will be able to add value, protect margins and assure customers that energy efficiency is at least as good as the window.

This way, installers can be seen to earnestly and genuinely improve the way they safeguard customers and the industry’s reputation.