If you’re considering modern window or door framing for your home, the answer may lie somewhere in Europe. Not only does the overseas market offer a range of artistic and stylish alternatives, but they’re also designed to a higher standard than our own New Zealand building materials.
That’s because our building code is at least twenty years behind other OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). Even the new compliance standards, which require new builds to supply adequate thermal resistance and to limit uncontrollable airflow, aren’t close to meeting acceptable levels overseas. In fact, our highest build standards as of 2020 would just reach the minimum in some parts of Europe.
An incorrectly insulated window or door will act much like an exposed hole, letting heat escape during winter. Many New Zealand homes are planned with a slight gap between window frame and wall to allow for moisture drainage. However, this shouldn’t come at the expense of comfort.
Modern European windows and doors are designed to perform across all four categories, offering a low-tolerance thermal barrier that allows heat to build up during winter and dissipate more easily in summer. European windows can also be built to a range of sizes, accommodating the width of a wall or double sliding glass doors.
Other options include glare and noise reduction, which is controlled in part by the individual thickness of window panes.
While wood can be a perfectly suitable material for window framing, its design doesn’t allow for the same lightweight flexibility as uPVC (Unplasticised Poly Vinyl Chloride) or aluminium. However, the effect of wood can still be achieved in these modern alternatives by using clever colouring techniques.
As you can see from this cross-section diagram, the structure inside a window frame is much more complicated than would appear. Well-designed frames offer multiple sealing points. uPVC frames include steel bars for extra strength, and aluminium frames have PVC with foam inserted as an insulation layer. Glass is “dry fitted” to allow ease of installation and replacement from inside the room. Overall, the windows offer multiple sealing levels, which enhance their thermal performance.
The sealing also involves individual ‘honey-comb’ chambers which reinforce the strength of the material and contribute to its structural integrity over time.
Although we stock double-glazed window options at Koffman’s, we tend to advertise most strongly our triple-glazed options for the home at the min 10% cost increase. This is because of the superior insulation they give, usually enforced by an 18mm argon gas blanket between panes of glass.
One of the most innovative European designs is the tilt and turn window and door option. This design can be fully opened from the side or tilted from the top to allow for safe ventilation. The clever locking mechanism means that the tilt and turn window or door exits on two separate hinges, controlled by a simple handle turn.
If you say European design to anyone, they’re likely to think more about the look; either a classical architectural feel or a modern high-tech finish. Our European windows include wide-spanning bifold, tilt and turn or sliding types, which can be fitted with an extra flange around the edges.
We also offer a number of attractive door fitting options, which include PVC, aluminium or a PVC base attractively laid with aluminium on the outside. Our doors are just as insulated as our windows and include a variety of styles and opening options, including the traditional French doors, sliding doors and the modern tilt and turn or tilt and slide variety. All our doors are made to custom order so that you can select the sizing and additional security features with purchase.
In typical European fashion, colouring is everything. All our windows and doors can be coloured or textured to suit the style of home you’re after.
If you want to know more or to get a free quote for any of our European designs, get in touch.