Andrew Cross, Marketing Manager of Kestrel Aluminium Systems, explores the benefits of aluminium fenestration systems and explains why installers and fabricators are increasingly choosing to specify these products.
Despite the established success of traditional steel and PVC-U systems, the fenestration trade is increasingly embracing the benefits that aluminium systems can offer, thanks to the metal’s lightweight and durable properties.
At Kestrel we keep in close contact with our domestic window and door fabricators and installers, and they tell us that even those who have previously specified PVC-U systems are now considering a move to aluminium, thanks to the material’s strong sustainability credentials and ease of use.
Aluminium systems are the core of our product range, and we have been supplying them to the trade for more than 30 years. For decades we have also been educating our customers on the benefits of aluminium and why such systems can make their working lives easier, thanks to their lightweight durability, sustainability benefits and ease of use on site.
Aluminium is a silvery white-coloured element that is naturally corrosion resistant and has a very low density. It is, in fact, one of the most common metals on Earth, accounting for 8% of the earth’s crust. In order to create an alloy that is suitable for forming into other products, natural aluminium is combined with a number of metals (such as copper, lithium, magnesium, silicon, tin or zinc) – a process that has been in use since the mid-1800s.
Why is aluminium so beneficial?
One of the key benefits of aluminium is that it is an incredibly light metal, weighing just 2.7g/cm3. This is much lighter than steel, which weighs around three times more and so is harder to transport and move on site.
Aluminium is also a much softer metal, which makes it more malleable and easier to form into the window and door structures needed for residential and commercial buildings. This means much thinner frames can be created while remaining strong enough to support even large pieces of glass, and it can also be used to form many different sizes and shapes of window and door system to suit almost any design requirement.
The need to recycle
Another benefit of using aluminium for window production is its impressive recyclable properties. Unlike many of the other raw materials used for these systems, aluminium can be recycled many times without loss of quality and, because of its low melting point, very little energy is required to extract the raw material and transform it into another product. In fact, using recycled aluminium saves up to 95% of the energy required for primary aluminium production.
This makes it an extremely sustainable product that has a much lower carbon footprint during manufacture than comparable alternative metals used to create window and door systems. Our industry is increasingly aware of the urgent need to create sustainable and low-carbon construction processes. Switching to more sustainable raw materials is a significant way in which we can begin to create a more circular economy.
Low maintenance systems
One of the main reasons why aluminium is now so popular among time-poor homeowners is that it is extremely low maintenance. Even across a 30-40 year working life it requires just routine cleaning, rather than any regular repainting or treating, reducing lifecycle costs for property owners.
Aluminium has a natural protective oxide coating that is already highly corrosion resistant, making it durable and resistant to damage once in situ. Manufacturers such as Kestrel also have a range of surface treatments available, such as powder and anodised coatings, that can be added to the raw aluminium material to further improve the overall strength of the window and door system.
Kestrel has a high-quality, inhouse powder-coating facility and can offer a wide variety of RAL and BS colours to suit any building design.
Kestrel’s aluminium window and door systems have been supporting UK installers and fabricators for more than 30 years. We pride ourselves on offering excellent customer service and exceptional quality, reliable products to allow projects to be completed on time and to a high standard. For more information on Kestrel’s systems, visit www.kestrelaluminium.co.uk or call 0121 333 3575.