A recent visit to the world’s largest window fair ‘Fensterbau 2018’ in Germany revealed the latest trends in windows and doors. The main focus was on integrated drainage for level threshold doors, airtight window installation, sophisticated entrance door designs, burglary resistance and shading options, as well as smart home and automation solutions.
Whether it be hinged doors or sliding doors, the trend towards level thresholds has been noticed here in Australia over the last few years. However there was also a high chance of water penetration issues during heavy downpours. A number of companies have now invested time and energy into developing drainage systems which means that this issue is now a thing of the past.
Rainwater gets channelled away into a drain which is part of – or can be clipped onto – an aluminium threshold. Different widths of such a drain can be covered with a variety of grids. Some systems have additional seals, others have brushes. Another interesting solution features magnetic seals which are lifted up when the door is locked. These are exciting developments and will definitely be seen more and more in the future.
With energy efficiency and saving on heating and cooling costs on people’s minds, eliminating drafts is a priority. Correct installation is vital as gaps left during window and door installation can increase the energy needs of the building. Different solutions shown at the Fensterbau expo include tapes and foams in a variety of materials and from many suppliers.
Entrance doors are the first impression visitors get when coming to your home. Timber is still a popular material but insulated aluminium doors and uPVC panels are becoming sought after. Designs often include clear, opaque, coloured or switchable glass. Handles are getting longer or recessed and often feature LED lighting and locking mechanisms like fingerprint or various other smart home and automation systems. The most modern look for a door panel is concrete which can now also be achieved by applying a brand new paint on a board substrate.
Unlike Australia, in Europe window and door hardware undergoes burglary resistance testing and carries a rating from R2 to R6. The higher the ‘R’ rating the more time is needed to break and enter and more specialised the tools, which usually deters would-be-burglars. Hardware is available with different ratings for window and door systems to give the homeowner peace of mind.
In addition to using energy efficient windows and doors, those facing west need some kind of shading. Many external systems were on display at the expo as the shading of west facing glass is mandatory in Europe. This should also be considered in Australia to decrease cooling needs in the summer.
More and more solutions for today’s modern builds include apps and special hardware for monitoring, opening, closing and locking windows and doors. Much development has happened to bring refined automation to customers and to make homes smart. Stand-alone systems or those integrated into a higher-ranking building management system are available, with day and night functions, and time or weather-controlled ventilation scenarios, operated via smart phone, tablet etc.
The 2018 Fensterbau was again a very interesting expo with over 1,300 exhibitors from 42 countries presenting the latest trends from the fields of window, door and facade construction and the wood processing industry. The exhibition event made use of more than 64,000 square metres of exhibition space and attracted more than 110,000 international visitors from 123 countries.