It was at the end of the 1980’s that saw the rise in properties being fitted with uPVC doors and windows. Although this change from traditional wood-based externals doors and windows began with large building developers, today over 85% of domestic properties have uPVC fittings as part of their exterior. The rise in popularity of this unsustainable material was largely down to its promotion as a low-maintenance or no-maintenance material, however this negligible claim is offset by uPVC’s non-environmental production and inability to naturally decompose. This means that both the production and destruction of uPVC results in dangerous chemical emissions that are equally dangerous and hazardous to humans, animals and nature.
Whilst their original promotion, as a cheap and secure alternative to traditionally expensive wooden products, was somewhat true in regards to uPVC. As of today, competitive prices set by suppliers of classic wooden doors means that there is literally no reason to use this toxic material. For example, Todd Doors produces a selection of high-quality oak front-doors for as low as under £100 pounds. These doors are as sturdy and easy to maintain as their uPVC alternative and now retail at round the same price – you can visit the external doors page here for more information.
Although uPVC can last up to 35 years, within this time cracks can still form within its surface, these lesions often having algal growth within them. The material can also become brittle along with quickly losing their glossy look and clean appeal. Whilst they can be painted over, which will somewhat correct the superficial damage, uPVC doors are still not as close to maintenance-free as manufacturers would suggest. However, these aesthetic issues aside, it is when these doors are disposed of that the problems really begin for not just the owner but the environment as well.
Within the UK, uPVC usually ends up in a landfills or is incinerated. Whilst landfills’s negative effects on the wildlife surrounding them is well publicised, even if the uPVC material is incinerated the contaminated ash released through this process is even more damaging to the ozone layer. Whilst modern incinerators operate within EU restrictions and control, an accidental fire or mismanagement of procedure can cause the release of toxic fumes which are incredibly hazardous to those who breath them in.
Timber, on the other hand, when properly maintained, can last over 100 years. Moreover, these economically friendly frames can be easily mended at a low cost. Whilst it cannot be denied that, in order for your wooden door to remain in top condition, it will need to be treated between every 4 to 8 years, it a testament to the durability of this material that many historic homes and classic buildings still have their original doors and windows, centuries after they were built. This durability aside, timber is also easy, and environmentally friendly, to recycle and reuse. This natural material can be easily turned into nature friendly bio-fuel and will effortlessly decompose back into the earth.
This article is provided by Agents of Drive Blog.