Understanding What Aluminium System to Fabricate or Install

The aluminium window market is now relatively mature. There is a vast range of innovative, secure and thermally efficient windows on the market.  With that choice, it can be a challenge to know what Aluminium System to Fabricate or Install.  So in this article,  we give an overview of what aluminium systems are available.

Aluminium System to Fabricate or Install

There have been three distinct shifts in aluminium window design with many new products introduced during 2015 and 2016.

  • One of these has been the shift away from the traditional polyamide thermal break.
  • The other has been aluminium windows with a flush casement detail. Some window systems have adopted one or both of these.
  • The third has been the development of aluminium windows with even lower U-Values.

The new generation of insulation for aluminium windows.

New rental properties with aluminium windows.
Senior PURe windows in a £1.8m contract for new windows in Manchester. A commercial project but for dwellings.

Systems such as the Origin Twin Flush Window offers great aesthetics, a unique design offer and is available with an extended guarantee on very impressive lead times. They enhance their window with Aerogel.

Warmcore by Synseal Extrusions moved completely away from the polyamide thermal break concept. Warmcore is a suite of aluminium windows and doors that centre on a PVCu warm core rather than the usual polyamide thermal break used. Logical given Synseal are a PVCu systems company.

Senior Systems have their PURe window suite that features a polyurethane thermal core. PURe windows offer impressive U Values and good design. Senior even provides a fibreglass window and their Aluminium Series 2 window with a flush casement detail.

The new AluK 77 window system features two four chamber thermal breaks in each section made from 39mm alveolar polyamide bars. AluK also improves this thermal break with a High Insulation version having an additional centre seal.

How do you choose what aluminium system to fabricate or install?

So it’s true that installers have a wide choice of systems.  However, it is easy to fall into the mindset that to sell an aluminium window you have to limit yourself to the best selling systems. Smart Systems and AluK are arguably the biggest in the UK. Their size and turnover is the visible indicator of how popular their aluminium window systems are for fabricators and installers.

We suggest you dig a little deeper and consider other systems in your research, as well as the smaller independent systems companies. Your choices may even depend on whether you carry out commercial or residential installations.

Here are some recent innovations in aluminium windows you may not be aware of and some systems companies not everyone may have heard of:

Schuco International.

Schuco commercial window
The Schuco aluminium window featuring triple glazed unit with integral blind.

Schuco offers a Comfort range of aluminium windows benefitting from Automation, Climate and Ventilation.

Schuco has embraced home automation using apps and technology. Electronic opening and closing, monitoring, natural or automatic ventilation through sensors and solar shading is now possible.

Schuco also offers the AvanTec SimplySmart range of hardware in their windows featuring concealed fitting, no gaps, dirt and dust traps and modular multi-levels of security.

Windows with integral blinds as standard.

Are you aware of the new Schuco AWS 120 CC.SI. aluminium window? This is a 120m deep window system that can be fitted with a unique triple or even a quadruple glazed unit that features an integral blind.

Featuring inbuilt solar shading, manual or automatic blind operation, this new Schuco window we think could be the next generation of the modern aluminium window.

Kawneer Systems.

Kawneer powder coated aluminium window
Windows such as the excellent GT70 Steel Replacement from Kawneer make for great residential windows.

Kawneer provides a significant range of aluminium windows. One that has hit our eye is the GT70 Slimline Renovation Window. If you are looking for a credible Crittall, Steel replacement or Heritage look window, look at this one alongside others available.

Technal Systems

The Technal FY65 window comes in Visible and Minimal variants.  FY provides security, a visually different aesthetic compared to other windows and comes in many configurations.  One is designed to offer a minimal aesthetic as little as 42mm or a 52mm visible vent. While primarily a commercial window we think this would work well in a modern extension.

Jack Aluminium Systems.

Many people associate Jack Aluminium Systems with commercial doors, shopfront, curtain walling and louvres.  But Jack Aluminium also have quite a good aluminium window used residentially and commercially.

If you’re looking to partner with a smaller systems company, take a look at Jack. Jack Aluminium is also well known for having superb service levels as a systems company.

Stayfix Architectural Aluminium Systems.

Few people will have heard of Stayfix. Based in North West London, Stayfix offers the The Climate 1 and Climate 2 windows.   Climate 1 and 2 from Stayfix Aluminium is easy to fabricate and simple to install.  It features a slim sash option, can be double or triple glazed meets the expected security and performance requirements and is very affordable. It also comes with seven different cill choices, lots of different profiles and looks good in a residential setting.

Climate 2, in particular, offers the ovolo profiles residential window systems often demand.

Comar Architectural Aluminium Systems.

Comar is the largest privately owned aluminium systems company.

We like the Comar 5P.i suite of windows. In it is the Comar 5Pi.ECO variant that offers good design, a very contemporary appearance and superb performance in an aluminium window. It is A rated as well. Comar is one of the independent systems companies worth a look at.

Metal Technology.

Metal Technology are also worth a look.  Metal Technology windows are very contemporary, highly thermally efficient and have been featured on Channel 4’s Grand Designs. Widely used commercial but in providing windows to new build dwellings, Metal Technology offer a very good range of high-performance windows with high specification.

Aluprof Systems

Aluprof has a high specification aluminium window in their MB70 suite offering a huge choice of profiles, very low U-Values and a modern aesthetic. While mainly used commercially, there is no reason why Aluprof windows cannot be utilised in the home as well.

Reynaers Aluminium

The sophisticated Reynaers aluminium windows with high security testing also externally beaded.
The sophisticated Reynaers aluminium windows with 8 different aluminium window types.

Most people will be familiar with Reynaers bifolding and sliding doors, but they also offer eight different window ranges.

From a classic look window to a steel-look, softline and even a hidden vent window, we think the Reynaers suite of aluminium windows need a closer look if you are looking for a diverse an exceptional quality range of aluminium casement windows from a well-respected brand name.

Are all aluminium window systems the same?

We delve into and research a lot about aluminium windows and doors. Often it is difficult to differentiate between the genuine product and the system that a large trade fabricator has customised or rebranded.

Let us also remember that many systems companies are aluminium extruders and also extrude systems for large trade manufacturers and others.

In a broad sense, all systems companies offer an aluminium window. Some of these have a heavy commercial focus; others have a more residential slant with chamfered, ovolo and timber window appeal. Some systems companies consider how suitable their windows may be for replacement applications; others focus on the new build sector.

One thing most systems companies must cater for is the direct fix or extended leg frame. As so many systems companies are geared towards the commercial sector, often a direct fix frame can be an oversight.

Most systems offer a complete range such as casement windows, tilt and turn windows, reversible, sliding and even parallel opening.

What influences your choice of an aluminium window?

If you are a fabricator looking to make a new system or add one to your existing range, there are several factors you will have considered.

  • How much the system costs to buy and tooling costs to set up.
  • The sales or marketing proposition it presents to your business.
  • What support you will get from the systems company behind it.
  • How disruptive it will be to introduce a new system to your factory.

If you are an installer, the process in choosing an aluminium window is somewhat different. You may consider.

  • How much the window will cost you to buy in.
  • Does the aesthetics of the window meet the requirements of your local area?
  • How good will the service be from your trade supplier?
  • Does the window enable you to offer a complete home solution?

Aluminium windows still provide sales opportunities.

Kawneer windows and doors in residential properties.
A homeowner’s first introduction to aluminium will be with a bifold. Many then choose to replace their windows with aluminium.

We recently spoke to some installers that commented on how the bifolding and sliding door side of their business is far more important to them than selling windows. One even said that while they are very much an aluminium company, the don’t care what window they sell. It is all about the bifold.

A view not everyone will share but a clear indication of how bifolding doors have influenced the market.

  • BIfolds are still popular
  • People are already happy with their existing (recently replaced) windows.
  • Bifolds are easier to specify, easier to order, easier to sell.

While bifolding doors may be attractive to capitalise on the home renovation and extension boom, aluminium windows are still a significant product and can be boosted with the sale of a bifolding door. Here’s why:

  • Many homeowners discover aluminium through their new bifold and want it in the rest of the house.
  • Older generation ‘double glazing’ is due for replacement.
  • Houses possess far more windows than they do doors.
  • The homeowner is more aware of aluminium than even before.

Should you sell one aluminium window system or several?

Picture of house with Origin windows and doors.
Origin now offers a suite of windows, bifolds, front doors and garage doors. The Complete Origin Home?

We know many domestic double glazing firms whose business model has the ‘whole of market’ philosophy. Others offer a good mix of residential windows to suit the client requirement. Know where to buy, and it is possible to source from trade suppliers virtually any system. We can help here too.

If you decide to sell more than one aluminium system, you may be faced with some challenges.

  • The more systems, the more trade suppliers to deal with.
  • Salespeople often don’t like having too much to sell.
  • Surveyors and fitters have to learn more.
  • Greater the demands on space in a showroom.
  • Greater investment in pricing software and general selling tools.

If you would like more information about the new range of aluminium windows available or are looking for help in finding the right system, contact us.

(Images courtesy of Kawneer.co.uk, Origin-global.com, Reynaers.co.uk, Schueco.com/uk. SeniorArchitectural.co.uk.)

Published on November 22, 2016