Flush sash, two markets
The general consensus is that you need a decent flush casement in your product portfolio, but demand isn’t just coming from where you might expect. We talk to Ian Cocken, Director of Sales and Marketing at aluplast, to find out more.
The focus on heritage projects has sharpened in recent years, as the fenestration industry developed options that more closely replicated windows and doors that better suited period properties.
As a result, PVC-U flush casement windows gave homeowners greater scope to more accurately choose home improvements that are sympathetic to the character of their homes. They have also opened new opportunities for fabricators and installers to improve choice – in many cases creating a hook to win significant new business.
“Beginning life as a niche product, the flush sash is going on to define a generation of windows,” Ian Cocken, Director of Sales and Marketing at aluplast, says. “Interestingly, those features that have been developed for the heritage sector are being used to create modern alternatives.”
aluplast’s flush sash is a well-established product, having been refined to meet the demands of the heritage sector, including – at 58mm – the narrowest sightlines on the market. Other design features include a choice of standard and heritage deep bottom rail, and options for mechanical jointing, which combine to create a strong match for a traditional, 19th century timber sash.
“Aesthetics are everything with flush, on the exterior but also the interior of the window,” Ian says.
A key advantage of the aluplast flush sash is that it sits behind the rebate on the outerframe, in the same way you would expect on a standard casement.
“On some competitor systems, their design effectively ‘rolls over’, leaving a gap between the outerframe, the transom and the sash, creating the potential for the window to drop over time and leave an unequal gap.
“That’s not something that you would easily pick up on from outside of the house, but on the inside, it’s much more noticeable. That’s a problem area; flush products are a premium offer and consumers will naturally expect them to perform.
“Our design avoids this problem, and the potential for costly remedial work, altogether.”
aluplast’s flush sash can be used alongside both the Ideal 70 and Ideal 400 systems, which significantly reduces stockholding, while opening up further opportunities. So, while the flush sash was born out of a desire to sympathetically replace timber windows in period properties, it is also being used to create modern façades where aluminium was originally the go-to option.
“Many fabricators are making ultra-modern windows using the flush sash with the Ideal 4000 outerframe and foiled with aludec,” Cocken says.
“The modern aesthetics provided by a flush casements are winning significant new business. And this is with a product that was developed to satisfy the heritage market.”
The ability to meet the demand for colour is important to fully make the most of the opportunities, as the vast majority of flush casement orders include colour.
With a range of 40 different finishes, including the next generation woodec and aludec foils, aluplast has invested significantly in its foil offer. This has allowed it to maintain a strong supply of its most popular stock colours, with foiled product accounting for as much as 50% of total order volume.
“We know that demand for flush and for foils is only going to increase,” Cocken says. “The development work in fine tuning our flush sash – combined with our investment and service on colour – has given our customers a massive opportunity to increase their profitability going forward.
“Fabricators are not only building in extra options in the heritage sector with the flush sash from aluplast, thanks to the single product working across two systems and the strength of the foil offering, but they are opening up contemporary opportunities. This, for me, is a growth market.”