The essential journalist news source
Steel appeal

Group 1


2 August 2019

Steel appeal

 P:\Lauren\Steel Window Association (SWA)\Photography\37854 - Fordington Road\01 lo-res.jpgP:\Lauren\Steel Window Association (SWA)\Photography\Clapham home\Sorcha Narbonne-1.jpg

What do the TV advertisementsfor DFS, Wren Kitchens, Valiant Heating and Diet Coke all have in common?Inthe background,each one features tantalising glimpses of steel windows and doors.

It's this kind of subliminal messaging, along with renovation programmes and shows like Grand Designs,thatisdrivingthe continuedinterest in steel among architects, designers and end consumers.The advent ofPVC and aluminiumdid not stop the trend for steel; after all, listed and heritage buildings demand it. It is now, though, the uber trendy material of choice in refit and new build, interiors and exteriors, and firmly back on the agenda.

"We are riding on a wave of new-found popularity in our products due to their slender lines, strong aesthetics and unique characteristics," explains Darren Lloyd,president of the Steel Window Association (SWA). "A lot of private homeowners who are carrying out extensions and refurbishment projects want to use our products. They love to do the unusual.And we're seeing architects having more faith in the product and using it instead of aluminium bi-folding doors or whatever. They're starting to really want the steel look."

The SWA represents a large majority of UK steelwindow and door manufacturers, ranging from tiny craft-based firms to large multi-site operations. Lloyd insists there isn't a steel window project in the UK that one of its members can't handle.

The work of its members ranges from replica refurbishment, and even in-situ repair, to the fabrication and installation of new, high-performance fenestration and door sets. Products are manufactured in the UK using a mainly British-based supply chain and meet all necessary building regulations.

"The advent of W50TB, which is our thermally broken steel window and door profile, is also opening up new opportunities for our members as they are beginning to receive enquiries for new build projects whether they are commercial, development or domestic," Lloyd continues. "This product will help to enhance our window and door portfolio."

Ironically, one of the association's newest recruits is Crittall Windows, a leading global supplier of steel windows and doors and the word many still use to describe this type of design: ‘the Crittall look'. 

The SWA is currently responding to hugedemand among consumers for bespoke internal glazed partitions in, for example, kitchens, showers and wine cellars. Steel screens help give excellent visibility, let in maximum light and provide solidity without being visually overpowering.

A slendersteel glazing bar providesstrength and the greatest possible area for glass. Designers can also incorporate sliding andpocket doorsorentire sliding screen sections; and door thresholds are unnecessary so the finished floor is uninterrupted.

But what's also helping the association flourish is that it's recently passed the latest UK fire testing regulation - BS 476 Part 22 30/0 - meaning it can offer the same design aesthetic but with fire-resistant glazing.

"We had a lot of people on our stand at Grand Designs," Lloyd reveals, "and what impressed them was the big pivoting internal door - a room divider.

Steel is also a "green" product and can be recycled at the end of its lifetime. Designs may be more costly, but the results outweigh the budgetary concerns of high-end consumers.

"Some have a perception that steel would rust or that windows would no longer be double glazed. We reassured them that we've met these challenges head on for decades."

"I was also asked by a potential customer how long the doors would last. When I told him it was 70 years, he accused me of not being old enough to know. But we regularly remove windows and doors that were installed back in the 1930s and, in some instances, refurbish and reinstall them. So with a steel galvanised frame, the life span is at least 70 years - and it could then be refurbished if required."

High-end developers are also increasingly interested in using steel windows and doors in their designs. But Lloyd is able to identify a light bulb moment when, for him, the material really took off: "Twelve years ago, we did our first Internal steel room divider project, down in West Sussex. It suited the property and looked brilliant and we thought this is going to be the new thing. In fact, all the manufacturers had a moment where people asked, ‘can we have it here?' and ‘we've never tried that before but now we can!' And before you knew it, it had started to snowball."

In the kitchen, steel windows embrace the trend for open-plan living and also the growing popularity of a broken plan scheme with separate areas. By amalgamating them into kitchen extensions as a replacement for exterior walls, the designer can provide the illusion of a larger room, blending the indoors with the outside. Steel windows come in a range of sizes allowing for the option of large glass panes spanning across the space of an external wall so as not to obstruct the view outside. 

To convert open plan areas to a broken plan kitchen design, and create separate spaces, the same W20 steel profiles can be used as internal partitions bringing through the external design aesthetics to the internal space. This can be a small partition to separate an open pantry or utility room from the rest of the kitchen, or a large partition can take the place of an interior non-weight bearing wall.

Steel partitions complement various interior schemes from mid-century modern designs to Scandi-styles with black steel windows reflecting a striking contrast to pale kitchen cabinetry.

Steel is also an increasingly popular choice in bathrooms, often to create shower screens that maximise the amount of light and do away with the need for a shower curtain. Homeowners can choose to have just one screen outlining the shower tray on one side with an open front, or opt for two screens to create a closed in cubicle.

Steel can also be as an internal partition between bedrooms and en suites, allowing plenty of light between the two rooms and opening up the bedroom to give the appearance of more space.

Alternatively, if no changes are needed to an existing scheme, bathroom windows can be replaced with frosted steel ones. The high-energy performing W30 or W40 profiles are ideal for exterior windows as they trap heat in the building, and the frosted panel means privacy is maintained. 

"Steel is hard work and you've got to find the right customer with the right budget," Lloyd concludes."We'd love to have the volume, but this is more about individual bespoke projects with a look that's totally unique."

Members of the Steel Window Association offer a UK wide service for the repair and replacement of various types of old metal windows, doors and screens, as well as being able to manufacture new fenestration which fully meets the requirements of the Building Regulations. Choosing an SWA member to manufacture and install your steel windows and doors ensures that you are receiving the highest standard of fabrication, installation and customer service.

For further information on the Steel Window Association, please call020 8543 2841.

facebook logo  Z:\Callie\Misc\Instagram small.png  Z:\Callie\Misc\Twitter icon.png


With compliments:

Alison Relf
Taylor Alden Ltd
Unit 2, Temple Place
247 The Broadway
SW19 1SD
Tel:  020 8543 3866 

Issued with media release PR: 39624 by Taylor Alden.Tel: 020 8543