What is a European standard window and what are its advantages?

The European standard window is a window made of timber, PVC, timber and aluminum or only aluminum and meets different European requirements such as DIN/ONORM and others.
European standard windows are different as in each European country as their shape and structure is defined by cultural, historical and weather conditions. But all of them are recognized by the EU and have their own marking.

A window with the isolated glazing unit (hereinafter IV-window) and the tilt and turn sash is the most common one and more than others deserves to be called a European standard window. IV-window meets DIN standards and successfully withstands the increasing pressure of norms and technical requirements, as well as satisfies a customer’s demands. Modern European standard windows are very popular due to new material processing and manufacturing methods, modern tools and equipment. Different types of European standard windows have almost the same technical and functional properties but vary in shape and form.

General characteristics of the European standard windows

  1. Thermal insulation coefficient according to DIN (u-value). The Euro window has excellent thermal passage coefficient K (max. 1 Watt/m2 K). Coefficients of the frame and the glazing unit depend on each other (1,2 Watts/m2 K is acceptable).
  2. Opening types. Sashes of the Euro window can be opened, tilted, turned and moved.
  3. Air flow coefficient. The Euro window can control air circulation per time unit for one meter of the sash surface when difference in air pressure is 10 Pa.
  4. Water resistance. All outer edges are designed with radius of 2 mm. Frame and sash esconsons must have at least a 15-degree-slope to let water drain easily.
  5. Drip mould. Euro profile provides installation of drip moulds to carry away water.
  6. Glazing. Euro profile requires glazing units 4-16 mm wide with a certain acoustic and thermal insulation.
  7. Width of the timber sections. Euro profile IV 68 requires the width of timber sections of 66 mm, euro profile IV 78 is made of timber sections 76 mm wide respectively.
  8. Thickening. The design of euro windows provides thickened framing of sashes.
  9. Thickness, height of the rebate. Euro profile can have two kinds of the rebate, namely 12 mm and 4 mm, to rest seal envelopes.
  10. Glazing beadings. Euro profile provides removable glazing beadings and therefore broken panes can easily be replaced. If a beading is 14mm wide, it should be nailed, and if it is 12 mm wide, it should be screwed.
  11. Condensation drainage. Euro window is designed so as to withdraw condensation from the space between timber sashes and a glazing unit.
  12. Soundproofing. Euro profile provides comparatively high soundproofing of 4 class (RW=44 dB), but also can be made to comply with class 6 (50 dB).
  13. Sealing. Euro windows must be seal glued with silicone between a glazing unit and a wooden frame.
  14. Weather protection. Euro windows are designed so as not to let water drops penetrate inside. Drip moulds, sealing, drainage channels, etc protect wood against moisture.
  15. Sizes. In general a window of any shape can be manufactured (rectangular, angle, arched, round and etc.) providing that the appropriate hardware and fittings exist.

The Window Manufacturing: the European way to the future

A modern Euro profile has undergone significant development. A manuscript dating 800 year BC was found. First wooden window frames are described in it, a first school of carpenters is mentioned, and also the drawings of first timber processing tools are given. With the development of other materials such as glass and steel, a window in its modern understanding appeared. Thus in middle age churches and buildings the timber stained-glass windows symbolized wealth and prosperity.

Only Industrialization of the late 18th century and early 19th century as well as rapid development of the public construction gave birth to a window system with separate sashes and simple panes, which is commonly spread even these days. After the Second World War the first tilt-d-turn windows appeared. And only in the late 1970s due to the oil recession and technical progress a modern IV 68 profile was presented as a main standard. Of course, hardware and glazing were given to serious consideration. Sellers and manufactures started to use a “u-value” notion to facilitate their selling.

The spread of uPVC windows on the one hand reflects our desire to have an alternative structure, but on the other hand it is rather preposterous as for their manufacturing oil is used. uPVC windows got their popularity in the1970s-1980s as at that time people tended to polymer materials. The polymer boom took place and the illusion of easy and no labor-consuming maintenance was sold.
Nowadays we calculate our expenditure and the time of uPVC is over. We learned the lesson taught by the fire in Dusseldorf airport in 1994, after this incident installation of uPVC windows at public buildings was banned. Later it was decided not to install uPVC at historical and ancient buildings.

What do we have today? Germany consumes window products for 25 billion marks per year, where timber windows consumption accounts for 17 billion marks. Italian, Danish and Dutch companies have enough possibilities to sell their products in Germany. German companies somewhat late but still came back to timber window traditions and conducted modernization of the manufacturing even in times of recession. For a certain period this manufacturing was considered to be of national-priority.
The Green Movement in Europe caused the rebirth of wooden windows, as regulated consumption of forest resources only renovates and maintains the forest balance and facilitates the natural circulation. About 7 million square meters of timber grow every year in the Swiss forest, while only 4,5 million square meters go for lumbering.
Aluminum clad timber windows are the next step in the development of the timber window structures, and such manufactures as Leitz, BUG, and GUTMANN take an active part in their design and production. The maintenance requirements on aluminum clad windows are typically lower than that on uPVC windows. Also you can select from a wide range of colors and such a window still preserves the same warm feeling to the interior.
An updated timber window is winning its popularity in Europe, more than a half of all timber windows are nowadays installed in old buildings that make 70% of all structures.
In the past, because of some shortsightedness of the market, uPVC windows were driving out timber windows in Switzerland, Italia, the Netherlands, Austria, and in the countries of Eastern Europe. But still a wooden window dominates in apartment buildings and this segment of the market helps to improve the position of wooden windows at the market in whole.

In general a timber window has its market in Germany and preserves its positions due to constant improvement of its properties and functions.

Of course, uPVC windows won its popularity by comparatively low price, as their manufacturing is large-scale and quite easy.

Though uPVC windows are quite young, we have enough information about them (fire behavior, environmental effect, etc) that can influence a customer, who more often prefers traditional timber structures. Only in the buildings of general use (e.g. dormitories) wooden windows were completely replaced by PVC, but it was owner’s decision, that is of the state, which usually supports big companies with many employees. If we want to create a better future for our wooden windows, we should adopt new concepts and strategies. New ideas and views concerning a wooden window are put forward and the recent discussions in press confirm this.

Custom made windows more and more prevail over standard ones. But specialists agree that for many years windows have been made with the same structural properties according to the existing norms and that’s why equipment and tools producers have managed to revive timber window manufacturing. The opposing grains, structural peculiarities and the very manufacturing process have been given to serious consideration.

DIN standards cannot be neglected and still are as important as the very material – timber, but manufactures tend to update their window image and make it more ‘liberal, to combine timber and aluminum, to carry on efficient and made to measure manufacturing. Surely, all these makes the window manufactures to reconsider the whole structure and functional properties of a modern window. Thus new design of a window open joint has been working out. Simple angle joint has been complemented with a mini-tenon, but this structure has not justified itself. In Switzerland the so-called “Biller’s angle” joint was developed: a combination of the tenon-mortise and the mini-tenon. Another type of joint is Module 4, which has been patented as an angle joint with polymer edges and dowels.
Future of junctions is a dowel with some glue (e.g. HOMAG, IMA), or a dowel with a screw, which is commonly used in door manufacturing. Its advantage lies in possibility to make different window elements separately.

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