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The most effective way to sell one's products is to offer a price that is attractive to customers – which is really good in principle. Alas, there are no free lunches, and the customer-friendly price has its own price. Taking advantage of the ignorance of the customers, many window manufacturers do not add significant components on their products and replace important components with cheaper ones.
Besides taking advantage of the customer and damaging their own reputation, it unfortunately also promotes a notion that wooden windows are low-grade products and do not withstand our Northern climate. Hopefully the information in this article is helpful for future window buyers to make right decisions, and helps to restore the reputation of wooden windows.
Choice of Materials
Estonian window manufacturers usually offer finger-jointed pine wood windows. Pine wood is divided into quality heart wood and more tenuous sub-bark sapwood. Of course it is more useful for the window manufacturers to save on expenses, and produce from the latter and say to their customers that it's all the same pine. Also some manufacturers use even lower quality wood with knots. In that case the price should not be on a par with sorted knotless wood products.
All conifers contain bigger or smaller amounts of resin. Because the resin nests are often situated below the surface layer, they can be left unnoticed while handling the wood.
When darker paint tones are used, and on the southern and western side of the building, on warm summer days (when the temperature of the wood can rise up to 65-85 °C) such resin nests may often start “boiling” and press themselves under the paint as a bubble or even through the finishing coat, spoiling the appearance of the window. It is just a cosmetic defect which in case of conifer wood cannot be avoided to the end.
Less price sensitive customers prefer selected pine, meranti, oak or okoume wood imported by our company (no finger joints on the outer as well as inner window surfaces) as the material for wooden windows.
Usage of such materials guarantees a beautiful and exclusive result and this especially when lighter stain tones are used.
Preparation of Timber
Neither is deep soaking a miracle cure that would compensate for the compromise made with the choice of material. But as a sales argument deep soaking works well with less informed customers.
For wooden windows, it is of special importance to process the material with high quality impregnating and primer coating materials, which guarantee an ideal adhesiveness for the paints used for the final refining. But many window manufacturers, to save on expenses, have decided to cut back on pre-processing, applying the paint straight onto wood, so that it will probably soon crack and flake off.
Coat of Paint
It is known that wood is a “living” material that either contracts or expands, depending on the climate. This is why it is extremely important to use special high quality window paints that have an elastic structure and which are able to play along with the wood. Because these paints are a lot more expensive than ordinary wood paints, many window manufacturers prefer not to use them.
The result is windows with cracking surface and here it is not only a cosmetic defect. Namely it gives humidity an easy access to the wood, especially in the connections of the window profiles, which are most sensitive to the changes. The outcome is ugly wooden windows with deteriorating finishing, which will require a lot of time and work to restore.
Joint Filling Materials
Window manufacturers that offer a low price instead of quality also prefer not to fill the sash and jamb joints with special mastic that plays with the wood, like the elastic paint layer does. Saving on joint mastic increases the risk of joints cracking, which enables the humidity to get under the paint and damage the wood.
Closeness of window fitting locking items
For the sash to close tightly against the jamb, in case of “tilt & turn” wooden windows the closing points of the lock and hinges have to be installed after a minimum of 800-1000 mm. Unfortunately, often we come across windows where the distances between closing points are up to 1200 mm. Why do the locks have to be located so densely?
As mentioned, wood is a material that is “alive”, so with a big distance between closing points the windows lose their density while “playing.” As a consequence one has to heat the stove or turn up the heating to preserve a normal room temperature. And this way winter after winter, for the sole reason that the window manufacturer decided to save 100 EEK on the lock and the customer did not know to pay attention to it when ordering the windows.
Compensation gasket is installed between the window packet and the sash and its goal is to prevent the tension on the glass packet when the wood swells and “plays.” Such tension can cause cracking of the glass packet. Additionally it guarantees a better thermal insulation and soundproofing for the window. Since it is an unnoticeable detail, many window manufacturers have decided to save also on the installation of this gasket, hoping that their produced window will last for the guarantee period.
And even if some of 100 installed windows do not last, the glass packet is simply replaced, and waiting for the end of the guarantee period continues. Moreover, the customer first has to prove that the window really cracked due to the fault of the manufacturer, not the owner himself.
Grooves for Installation Foam
The optimal thickness of “tilt & turn” sashes and jambs is 68-88 mm (NB! With a wider jamb and a thinner sash the resulting thermal insulation depends on the one that is thinner – this is why it is not necessary to ask for wider jambs by any price). To achieve an effective and durable installation, isolation grooves for installation foam have to be milled to the outer edge of the jamb.
Primarily to save time, some window manufacturers see a possibility to save money even here, which can bring about lots of unpleasant experiences for the customers.
As it can be seen from the calculations, saving on what seem to be trivial things at the first sight, window manufacturers can leave 590 EEK in their pocket with each 2 m2 window. Considering that bigger wooden window manufacturers make approx. 50 000 windows and balcony doors each year, the saved sum is 590 x 50 000 = 29.5 million EEK. As you can see, we are talking about large amounts of money that are hard to give up.
Advice! In the current economic situation, saving a drowning man is that man's own problem, as a Russian proverb puts it. That is why it is useful to memorize questions to ask from the window manufacturer.
Kalesy’s answers to these questions are affirmative.
This is the reason why we are usually not found among the winners of offers that are oriented towards the lowest price. Instead we can look our customers into the eyes without shame even after 20 years. Our standpoint is that we would rather stop producing than put a Kalesy stamp on a low quality product.
Additional questions to investigate other useful properties and possibilities YES NO
Kalesy’s answers for these questions are affirmative as well.
For customers we advise to be informed and consistent in your demands. Kalesy’s team is prepared for all-encompassing counselling in everything window-related.