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Fiberglass solves replacement problems

... problems. Window systems have taken some time to...


May 9, 2008
By Al Dueck*

Topics

A recent article written for the American Architectural Manufacturers
Association (AAMA) sub-chapter by a previously recognized ‘aluminum
expert’ noted, “Fiberglass window systems have taken some time to rise
in popularity, but have been steadily moving forward and will be a
force to be recognized in the near future.”

A recent article written for the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) sub-chapter by a previously recognized ‘aluminum expert’ noted, “Fiberglass window systems have taken some time to rise in popularity, but have been steadily moving forward and will be a force to be recognized in the near future.” This was partially written in connection with the Fiberglass Chapter within AAMA which has been developing supporting codes and building a stronger base for participants and suppliers.

Ranging from specialty shapes to custom finishes to complementary components and accessories, this thesis seems to find more and more support. The theory also seems to be well based on the number of participants and the increasing capabilities of pultruded fiberglass manufacturers in North America and abroad.

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Sunserve Window & Door in St Johns, Newfoundland, worked with DUXTON Windows to replace about 70 round windows, with a radius of approximately 60 inches, with a custom fiberglass frame in a project for Memorial University.

In one Canadian example, Sunserve Window & Door in St Johns, Newfoundland, was asked to help solve a window replacement problem on the Atlantic coast. The company worked closely with amec Engineering to identify the best options to replace a sizeable number of round windows including an option for venting units. The client selected a custom fiberglass frame including a one piece frame in a custom colour with an option for integral outward opening awnings. Insulating glass featured an AFG assembly with Super Spacer and operable windows with Truth stainless steel hardware.

This particular project, Ocean Sciences Centre for Memorial University, had approximately 70 round windows with a radius of approximately 60 inches. The challenge of using a molded fiberglass window required the company to come up with a single measurement that could work for all of the units in the building. The fact that they were installed in poured concrete over 12 inches thick meant that everything had to be very precise.

“We actually had to design the windows and in approximately 30 percent of these we had to install an awning operator that would work in one of the harshest environments on the east coast, directly on the cliffs of the Atlantic ocean with winds and rain gusting over 100 miles per hour continually, and the salt water spray beating on them constantly,” says installation co-ordinator Ray Hayward with Northfield Glass Group. “The design was completed and the windows installed with very little problems, none that we couldn’t address and fix afterwards.”

“The solution provided by DUXTON Windows was quite unique and the engineers have been really pleased with the replacement,” says Hayward. “We have worked with fiberglass windows for select applications for more than 22 years and have developed an increasing confidence in them for certain commercial projects.”

The building owner and Leo Reddy, with AMEC Arch Services, are pleased with the project. “I feel that our company, Sunserve Window and Door, partnering with DUXTON Windows will allow us to take on any challenging window and door project and come up with a product in fiberglass that would meet the task.”

Refinement and blending
Another case in point, the Altona Church has been up-dating its facility for several years and this year, property owners decided to add rigid insulation to the exterior as well as replace the Gothic front windows due to deterioration. “We recommended a dark brown exterior finish to blend with the existing entry door systems,” says Conrad Voth of Red River Glass. “We provided tight casing details and we were able to re-use the interior casing to simplify and reduce the cost of replacement.”

Assiniboine Credit Union has recently refined its building program to include a stronger focus on ‘green buildings’. Northern Sky Architecture was asked to develop a concept that includes a mix of fixed and operable fiberglass windows with aluminum entry systems. “The metallic silver exterior has blended very well with anodized aluminum,” says Don Oliver, principal, Northern Sky Architects, “and, the white interior proved to be a good suggestion to add a softer feel for the office space.”

Refinement and blending of processes has also allowed a more efficient approach to the creation of design friendly products. High performance finishes and colours which can be matched have been increasingly available from a mix of components and suppliers, ranging from aluminum to coatings suppliers.

Fiberglass windows and insulated fiberglass door panels and door frames have expanded exponentially in the past several years. This development and growth has been driven by a much greater range of product types as well as increasingly attractive pricing and broader availability. -end-

*Al Dueck is the president for DUXTON Windows & Doors in Winnipeg, Manitoba.


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