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Old 04.09.2011, 19:35
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Wood vs. vinyl windows

We are having a house built, part of a 5-house and 2-MFH development. In the initial discussions, we strongly pushed for wooden windows and were assured this would be possible. In the subsequent discussions with the architect, we again insisted on wood. The head of the project has always indicated that our choice of window would be possible. The Baubeschrieb has come back now with plastic windows in it. I personally think uPVC windows are still rubbish, despite decades of "innovation" and "improvement". The EgoKiefer wooden windows in our current house are 15 years old, straight as ever, no signs of weathering and exude a nice warmth to the touch and the eye. The PVC windows in the cellar are, on the other hand, chalky and heading towards yellow. Crap.

The architect insists that newer PVC windows are "better". To this engineer's mind, that just means they have been stuffed full of even more chemical stabilizers. PVC has an elastic modulus about 50% that of wood (best case), so there's no way it can be as dimensionally stable. The only possible disadvantage with wood is the potential for water infiltration and rot, but as we have painlessly replaced one single framing section in our house's windows in the last 8 years (construction error and severe water exposure), the ability to repair wood piece-by-piece can anyway be considered an advantage.

Obviously, I have a pretty strong opinion. I am also open to hear any thoughts on the merits of uPVC, or also support for my arguments. I will take it up with the builder and architect this week, but want to have a very clear, very objective argument.

In the end, we're the customer and we're willing to pay the extra cost for wood (which surprisingly isn't that much with a top brand like EgoKiefer). The one problem we face is that I believe the builder has made a deal for uniform installation in all houses / MFH (there are always these nice little deals going on for the installation of sub-systems...). We will probably face a battle to have our own wishes, but I'm willing to battle it as we had a verbal agreement on our choice of window.

(apologies for the long rant, but you only build a house once or twice in a lifetime)
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Old 04.09.2011, 20:16
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Re: Wood vs. vinyl windows

Have you tried the arguments of sustainability or local character? These may carry some weight if your new house is in a rural area, or part of the old town. It is less likely to work in a modern residential setting.

I take it that your house is one of several being built. From the builders point of view, they are probably looking for economy of bulk purchase. There may be issues with planning if one property looks substantially different to the rest of them.

If you do manage to persuade them, you are likely to face a premium on the price well above the difference in material costs. They may not get such a good price for the remainder and may need special fitting for yours. Delivery may be later, adding to delays and costs.

Ultimately, you may need to decide how much you are prepared to pay for your principles.
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Old 05.09.2011, 09:14
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Re: Wood vs. vinyl windows

We are looking at replacing our old windows (wood) with the new EgoKiefer hybrid windows, ie. wood on the inside, metal or PVC on the outside. After looking and talking with a lot of vendors, this seems to be our preferred option, ie. weather restitant PVC/alu on the outside, and wood, for the character and ambiance on the inside. Have you looked at this possiblitity?

It is clear that the wood on the outside option has certain detractions, ie. does not last as long, weathers and needs more care in the interim, and depending on construction of the house, may have other negative issues (ie. bize wind side of house, not recommended).
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Old 05.09.2011, 12:15
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Re: Wood vs. vinyl windows

The wood / alu* windows would be our first choice as well.


* yes, I know that alu profiles don't really fit the argument of sustainability...
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Old 05.09.2011, 12:27
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Re: Wood vs. vinyl windows

you want it, they already agreed to it. why do you need any more arguments? just tell them that you're not going to accept the PVC windows.
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