Peter Thompson, General Manager UK of ISO-Chemie, explains the need for high levels of performance and ease of installation for window sealant products.

When it comes to window installation sealants, house builders and developers are not only looking for excellent thermal and acoustic efficiencies to meet and exceed regulations, but also products which are faster and simpler to install and have improved reliability over a longer service life.

It is imperative that during new installations and replacements, windows and doors can be quickly and easily sealed, ideally from inside the building. In contrast, the job can often require time consuming and costly external access systems like scaffolding and ladders. Hiring access systems, with the associated health and safety issues, can add significantly to the overall cost of a new build or renovation project.

To address these issues, high performance ‘fit and forget’ impregnated tapes are ideal for fast and effective sealing with ease of installation due to the user friendly features of the products. Based around the European RAL principles of three-level sealing, these products help to avoid time consuming and costly delays, leading to potential savings of hundreds of pounds per day.

Three-level sealing ensures a building is better protected from elemental factors like wind, dust and moisture ingress by accommodating the changes in structural movement caused by environmental, cyclical and settlement factors. The external seal area provides weather resistance and breathability, while the intermediate seal area provides extra thermal and acoustic properties and the internal one air tightness and humidity regulation. All three levels are designed to accommodate movement between the adjacent materials.

The most advanced sealants for windows and doors can meet stringent new energy efficiency building regulations, and are able to accommodate extremes of temperature change of anything from -30°C to +80°C and the interaction of differently designed window frames made of wood, PVC and aluminium against various constructions materials and methods in order to guarantee complete sealing. This prevents humidity penetrating the building connection joint and stops building damage in the long term.

The sealing products most in demand are all-rounders that can be used both for passive energy houses and for refurbishing buildings, that can be used to significantly reduce a building's convective heat losses, which has a positive effect on energy balance. Impregnated and pre-compressed Polyurethane (PUR) foam ‘fit and forget’ sealants can also be installed in windows regardless of external weather conditions.

In older buildings, large amounts of warm air are quite often lost. A fact that is reflected in high heating bills. For this reason, sealing existing dilapidated building joints and improving long-term energy efficiencies of new fit will help to preserve the financial budgets of the occupants. When listed buildings are refurbished, their appearance and basic historical structure must be retained to a major extent. What is difficult is the combination of high energy-related requirements with functionality, ability to absorb movement and reliable processing of the material. Therefore sealing systems must not only be functional and efficient, but also sympathetic to the original appearance of the building.

The feedback from many of the UK’s biggest house builders, developers and merchants is that they want sealing products that combine ease of installation with guaranteed “as built” high levels of performance. Ideally, products able to withstand driving rain at a minimum of 1,000 Pa and an internal air tight seals that can meet a 1000 Pa pressure difference, which is around 20 times more than UK Building Regulations, with zero air loss, as well as giving U-Values of around 0.55 and reducing sound by 45 dB after installation are increasingly in demand.

The greater the amount of installations that can be carried out within any given time period means a higher margin for installers. For example. It is estimated by ISO-Chemie that their ISO-BLOCO ONE multi-purpose foam sealing tapes can give significant cost savings due to the ease of installation.

ISO-Chemie is one of Europe’s main producers of impregnated foam sealants using the latest production techniques from its UK technical and distribution operation based in the North East of England.

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