Reinforcing the strength of steel reinforcements

Steve Bayley, business development Manager at EWS (Manufacturing), part of Hadley Group, explains the importance of window reinforcements in PVCU windows, outlining the benefits of galvanised steel reinforcement sections and taking into consideration the recent trend of window bonding.

As windows form an integral part of buildings and residential projects, it is important that the materials that are fitted are of the highest standard.

Modern PVCU windows continue to dominate the industry as the inexpensive option provides heightened security, impressive insulation, durability and exceedingly low maintenance. With the help of galvanised steel reinforcers, which are fixed in the chambers of the PVCU profiles, frames become more stable and give added strength to the windows.

Steel reinforcement sections provide increased stiffness and rigidity to the finished PVCU windows meaning that they will perform even under the harshest weather conditions: when it is windy, windows with the correct steel reinforcement will stay firm reducing the occurrence of deflections; and when it is hot, the steel keeps the PVCU in shape, resisting any propensity to bending, ensuring that the window will close and seal effectively.

Providing the foundation to which hardware is fastened, such as hinges and locking mechanisms, the right steel specification will ensure these can function for the lifespan of the window itself. Although not visible in the finished window, it is important not to underestimate the function of the steel reinforcement sections because the performance factors combined play a key role in ensuring the integrity of the window frame, especially when it comes to the window performance and the test of time.

All too frequently there has been a proliferation in the use of sub-standard material for steel reinforcement in windows. The steel reinforcers used in windows are specified to a standard for a reason. They have been authenticated, tested and approved by bodies such as BSI and BBA. When a product or material has been tested as part of a system, the test is only valid when the specific components are used as these have been designed to work together to deliver the specified level of performance.

The onus is on manufacturers and fabricators to provide reliable and tested systems that will guarantee performance as specified for the lifespan of the product. Switching out material components or using sub-standard material should not be tolerated as this will undermine the integrity of the system as a whole.

Perhaps the most common issue with reinforcement design is that it is generally the last component within the window system design to be considered, leaving less thought for engineered design. However, manufacturers today can offer a comprehensive range of profile shapes and sizes, including box, channel and angle sections in various sizes, tailor making and offering cut to length services covering profile lengths for varying requirements.

While new trends emerge onto the market, steel reinforcement will continue to play a pivotal role in PVCU window systems. The stability, durability and performance of the steel sections, along with manufacturers’ capabilities to provide profiles of all shapes and sizes, mean that standards can be upheld in all aspects of window design, to ensure the industry continues to deliver quality systems every time.