Rau-Fibro Vs. uPVC Window Profiles
November 8, 2021
Why we chose the way we did.
When it comes to materials for windows and doors, there are a lot of options on the market; PVC (also called vinyl or uPVC), aluminum, wood, and fiberglass are the most common materials. Each option comes with its own list of pros and cons, and each has its place. As with all of our components, we met with numerous manufacturers, attended a lot of trade shows, tested a number of options and after an immense amount of research, finally made the choice to manufacture our products with the Rau-Fibro profile from REHAU.
One of the most popular choices for window and door manufacturers is uPVC, as it has an extremely nice, smooth finish. It has excellent weather resistance and it’s easy to work with. While the product has many positive attributes, it’s limited in terms of support and structural strength. The larger the product, the more limitations you will encounter. It expands and contracts at a rate of .08mm per degree Calvin per meter. This means that in some areas of North America, from the hottest day to the coldest night, uPVC can have a size variance of nearly an inch for every 10 feet of material. To compensate for this expansion and contraction rate a support system has to be added internally to reinforce the product. Manufacturers will place steel inside uPVC windows to try to correct this issue. Screws are placed on one side of the window to connect the steel reinforcement to the uPVC profile. But by only screwing into one side of the window or door, only one side is restricted which will cause the uPVC product to ultimately fail. Then, as the uPVC contracts and expands at a much higher rate than the steel inside the window/door frame, it applies pressure to screw points. Over time, it is very likely that the screws will cut into the uPVC enough to create a keyhole slot. At that point, it can expand and contract freely and the reinforcement steel now only serves as dead weight. Sooner or later, uPVC windows lose their structural integrity and your window and door is no longer sealed as well as it was when you first bought it.
One of the features that tipped the scales for us was that Rau-Fibro’s Profiles expand and contract 60% less than that of uPVC. Once we made the switch we noticed a significant decrease in our service calls, as our products were ultimately much less affected by the changes in temperature. Having our manufacturing facility in Manitoba, an area with extreme weather fluctuations, has given us the foresight to design products that can withstand any climate and provide the end users with the best performing products and an incredibly high-performing lifetime. We wanted to make sure our windows and doors would outlast the seasons, regardless of our customers locations.
The Rau-Fibro core material is similar to that used in race cars and the aviation industry; it’s both stronger and more stable than traditional fenestration materials, and it’s incredibly durable. Rau-Fibro is technically a hybrid, using an evolution of fiberglass (read more on this here ) with a thin finishing coating of uPVC. This new and superior material gives Access the ability to double the pros and eliminate the cons of both materials. The glass fibers in the RAU-FIBRO extrusions are arranged randomly, not linearly, which means you get strength in all different directions. You are unable to weld traditional fiberglass, but the RAU-FIBRO Profile “fiberglass” material is not a thermoset resin based, and instead uses a weldable thermoplastic. This allows us to weld the joints and process it the same way you would uPVC thus creating a much stronger, longer lasting finished product.
Traditional fiberglass windows and doors need to be coated to protect them from the elements such as the sun’s UV rays. This is normally done via paint and comes with its own set of disadvantages. More times than not, we have come across 5-year-old fiberglass windows that were painted and the window frames looked like they could be 20 years old. The sun quickly fades most paint pigments and with windows and doors being exposed to direct sunlight every day, this aging process happens very quickly. This prompted REHAU to use uPVC for the RAU-FIBRO outer coating. With a thin layer of unplasticized PVC over the Rau-Fibro core, we are able to protect the structure and give it a smooth high-definition finish, that not only looks great but is easy to maintain and greatly reduces the aging process. This gives our extrusions the strength and durability of “fiberglass” and the superior finish of uPVC hence creating a material that took 2 traditional materials and combined it into one that has the advantages of both but the disadvantages of neither.
It was really important to us that when we chose a material for our windows and doors, we were choosing one that would provide us with a solid foundation we could build our company on. With our doors we are able to take what we have and make something even more amazing. We firmly believe we have found a material that is the right foundation to go further than ever before and ensure that we exceed every single customer’s expectation.
If you have any questions about our product or manufacturing process, we would be happy to talk to you! Contact us today for a quote on your new windows and doors.Back