Plastic windows with double-glazed windows are a rather complex design. And really not too cheap to manufacture. In this article, we will limit ourselves to only the most common double-glazed windows with frames made of plastic profiles, although there are double-glazed windows with wooden frames and aluminum profiles. But plastic alone, as the most versatile and economically feasible, is represented by a wide variety of brands and designs.
"I need double-glazed windows" - these are the words that 99% of clients address to the insulating glass company. "Leave us the dimensions and tell us what you are going to glaze - a balcony, a kitchen or a hall. Our specialist will calculate and tell you the price. For dismantling and installation add 5 and 15% of the order value" - they answer him in 99% of cases
Everything seems to be simple: it is important for the company how much to charge you. But for you - what kind of double-glazed windows you get for your money.
But a square meter of a double-glazed window can cost both $ 50 and $ 250 - and this despite the fact that the prices for materials for the frame, glass or accessories from different manufacturers may differ by less than 30%. The cost strongly depends not only on the quality and type of components, but the number of components and the configuration of the glass window. This means that it is necessary to understand this.
We'll warn you right away - good glazing cannot be made cheap. Theoretically, you can do this: order windows from the highest quality components, and save on complex and expensive opening structures, preferring deaf ones, which are several times cheaper. But after a while you will realize that it is almost impossible to wash such a window from the outside, and it is extremely inconvenient to use it when the weather outside is bad. You can go the other way: literally everything will open in the window, and savings will be achieved on the quality of workmanship and cost of materials, accessories. Only then will you discover that the window has disgusting noise insulation, it fogs up, sags and fades.
The first step to saving money is to find the optimal configuration of the blind and movable parts of your windows.
Further, many simplify the task. Having chosen one combination of a profile for a window frame and, in fact, a double-glazed unit, all windows of the same type are ordered. And the sellers urge on this: "Your windows will all be the same."
Do they need the same? On a loggia with a large glazing area, it is wiser to put double-glazed windows with improved thermal protection, while in the kitchen there is no need for high thermal protection - it is better to put a window that can open as a whole or by forming a small gap. In the living room, for example, you will want to put tinted windows, and in the bedroom - soundproof double-glazed windows. At the same time, the owners of cottages may have special requirements in general - so that the glass of the window is armored with a film, so that it has anti-burglary fasteners and locks, so that it has the required texture of the external finishing of the frame …
Take a closer look at the offered double-glazed windows. Outwardly, they may look the same, but they can be arranged in different ways, respectively, in different ways and cost. For example, for thermal insulation, the thickness of the glass unit installed in the window and the chamber profile of the frame (chambers are air gaps in the profile (frame) that prevent heat leakage, like air between the glasses) are of great importance.
Thin European 60-64-mm profiles do not accommodate double-glazed windows, which have four chambers inside necessary for our frosts, in addition, they are not suitable for installing a double-glazed window of sufficient thickness.
To improve the heat-insulating properties, instead of air, krypton or argon is sometimes pumped into the inter-glass space of double-glazed windows (these gases conduct heat worse), and glass with heat-reflecting coatings is also used in them. However, the advantages of high-tech double-glazed windows are easily canceled out by trivial cracks in the frames or the already mentioned thin Euro-profiles. Still, much more important for saving heat is the thickness of the air layers, the absence of gaps and 4-chamber frames.
Another problem is associated with low temperatures. Some plastic profiles become too fragile in severe frosts and cannot resist vandals. So when choosing branded European profiles, make sure how much they correspond to our harsh climate in terms of temperature range.
Some companies offer rather thick five- and even six-chamber profiles for insulating glass units. However, it does not always make sense to pursue greater thermal protection - in some cases, the best solution is to use external overhead frames, which increase the number of cameras to the required level. And then, not in all rooms it is so important to keep warm.
But noise insulation depends not so much on the thickness of the glass unit, but on other factors: on the number of air layers, on whether the inter-glass distance is maintained differently for each layer, on the use of glasses of different thicknesses, on the type of glasses themselves (for example, multilayer triplexes better dampen noise). If these requirements are not met and your glasses are ordinary, their thickness and the gaps between them are the same, then even a four-layer glass unit will not help much in the fight against street noise … It turns out that different glass units are needed for thermal insulation and noise insulation.
For opening structures, it is important that the profile has steel reinforcements inside, to which all the fittings must be attached (otherwise, it happens that the fittings are screwed directly to the plastic of the profile - this quickly breaks). The window structure itself must be rigid and not too massive, so that after a few years it does not deform under its own weight. Reputable companies offer double-glazed windows from environmentally friendly materials and provide their products with full warranty support. The composition of PVC-plastic for the profile contains strengthening and stabilizing additives. In inexpensive profiles, these are lead and cadmium compounds. The environmentally friendly ones have non-toxic additives of zinc and titanium compounds.
The latter are, of course, more expensive. But very cheap profiles can also be formally "environmentally friendly". But their strength properties and resistance to fading leaves much to be desired.
High-quality products are most easily distinguished by the presence of a brand or company logo, which can be found around the entire perimeter of the frame. The windows of German manufacturers must also have a special quality mark. The most responsible companies, in addition to the hallmark, put a personal number on each glass unit and save all the parameters of this particular glass unit in their database. If something happens to the product, you just need to call and tell the manufacturer this number in order to receive an exact copy for replacement after a few days.
Finally, we will give a banal but effective advice: take a look at the documentation.
Not everyone can afford to spend money on prestigious branded and numbered double-glazed windows made of environmentally friendly materials and with timeless fittings. However, then at least make sure that you have product certificates and licenses for manufacturing and installation activities - preferably before making a purchase decision.