Steel windows are ideal for renovations in historic or heritage buildings of the 19th and 20th centuries, but they are equally impressive additions in newer high-end residential properties and boutique commercial buildings.
Not only can they create aesthetically pleasing homes, but they also contribute to healthier indoor living and a reduced environmental footprint.
Tradition and innovation
Steel windows today are manufactured using sections with old traditional design. This evolution of the steel sections allows the windows to be double-glazed with thermally efficient units, helping contribute to a stringent BFRC ‘B’ energy rating.
Traditional single glazed steel windows can still be manufactured using the standard metal window range of steel profiles. These window profiles are the basis of the ‘standard window’ that is installed in many homes throughout the world.
Hot rolled profiles for steel windows
Steel windows have been, and still are, the preferred choice of architects, especially when their function is not to close a hole in a wall but to make a significant contribution to the character and overall appearance of a façade.
The minimalist aesthetics of hot rolled steel sections and their ability to shape windows is unique. Their slender lines appear to lose weight and give lightness to the frames, emphasizing the transparency of a façade.
New regulations force to new solutions
This elegance is difficult to match in the bulky profiles of alternative materials like PVC, aluminum or wood. Unfortunately, due to the lack of a thermal insulation, these “historical” windows made from hot rolled steel sections have become an endangered species and with it the architectural window design and culture of a century.
Future regulations on thermal insulation ask for a new generation of hot rolled steel sections, which not only replace and preserve the character of national heritage buildings, but also give architects the possibility to use windows with distinguishing visual qualities that bring back the beauty in contemporary architecture.
For the last 30 years, the design of windows was driven more by regulations to increase thermal performance, rather than by their original scope, which is the contribution to enhance the beauty of buildings. This technological run for better insulation of window frames forced manufacturers to introduce thermal brakes in metal systems or to look for alternative materials like PVC, which have better insulation characteristics by nature.
Lately new thermal barrier steel window system, which combines the essence of the original steel window design of the last century with state-of-the-art manufacturing technology have become available.
The outer profiles are made from cold formed steel, which is joined by a cast in polyurethane. The section’s geometry reproduces the thin and slim shape of the traditional style window sections reaching highest thermal insulation levels.
Surface finishes and materials
There are several long lasting coatings to protect steel windows against atmospheric corrosion. The most common finishes are:
- Polyurethane based wet paints
- Polyester powder coating
These surface treatments can per performed both on solid steel windows as well as on thermal barrier steel windows.
Apart from windows made of mild steel, there are two further very appealing steel grades, which find great enthusiasm amongst architects: Corten and Stainless Steel. Corten Steel is a refined stylistic choice, which marries a weathered rusty look. Stainless Steel is the perfect answer for those who strive for maximum strength, security and longevity. Finally yet importantly window sections are available also in architectural bronze, ideal for high end restoration works on heritage, but fascinating also for new prestige buildings.