The slim-framed VELFAC composite frame delivered the durability and low energy performance together with ‘uniformity in appearance’, achieved by the distinctive VELFAC frame profile which makes every window appear identical whether fixed or opening.
Name: Driftwood, West Sussex
Installer: Composite Windows UK (a Westcott Company)
Specified for: Durable composite frames • Stylish design • Triple glazing • Excellent insulation and acoustic control
Window system: VELFAC 200
‘We wanted a house by the sea which we could turn into a modern, energy efficient home for our extended family to enjoy,’ says René Lenain, owner of Driftwood, a detached property with an enviable location overlooking the English Channel. ‘We moved into Driftwood in 2021 and completely remodelled the whole house - we added a two storey extension to the rear and changed the interior to create an ‘upside down’ home where all main living spaces overlook the sea. Externally, we covered existing brick walls in white render and dark grey cladding and, of course, replaced all the existing PVCu windows and doors.’
René wanted a window system which would match the contemporary style of the updated property, contribute towards lower energy bills and - importantly - withstand the challenging coastal climate. ‘I talked to owners of other sea-facing houses and they all recommended aluminium windows, with some also suggesting aluminium / timber composite frames. I talked to suppliers, investigated a number of options and eventually chose VELFAC triple glazed windows.’
VELFAC system on display
René had seen the VELFAC system on display at Composite Windows UK - a local window installation company and VELFAC distributor. The slim-framed VELFAC composite frame delivered the durability and low energy performance René wanted together with ‘uniformity in appearance’, achieved by the distinctive VELFAC frame profile which makes every window appear identical whether fixed or opening.
With extensive experience in industrial design, René was able to draw up the window specification for Driftwood with technical help from the team from Composite Windows UK, his architect and a structural engineer.
‘We were delighted to work on this exciting project, and with Rene,’ says Composite Windows UK director Jeremy Westcott: ‘We installed 20 VELFAC windows in total, with the heaviest being large sliding doors which weighed 220kg. As we couldn’t position a crane at the rear of the house, the sliding doors had to be lifted over the roof by crane - although we are used to this type of installation the windy coastal location could have made it very challenging, but the whole manoeuvre was safely managed by our experienced installers. Fitting windows into render can also be difficult, but we worked closely with Rene’s contractor to quickly resolve any issues.’
René exploited the versatility of the VELFAC frame by choosing different frame finishes, inside and out, to complement Driftwood’s stylish grey and white colour scheme. ‘The external aluminium frame is finished in pale grey - RAL 7035 - chosen to blend with the roof tiles, cladding and render,’ says René. ‘Internal timber window frames are painted in RAL 9010 - the purest white - to blend in with the white walled interior.’
Window placement within each facade was also carefully considered in order to balance beautiful views and natural light with optimum comfort and energy efficiency. ‘My wife always wanted to live by the coast so we installed large windows, including sliding doors, in the south-facing elevation to make the most of the sea view, with smaller windows facing north. As the larger, south-facing windows receive a lot of direct sunlight we specified VELFAC Solar glass to help reduce excess heat, supported by ventilation from an air conditioning heat pump installed in the loft. As a result, every room across the house maintains a constant temperature of 22o, all year round, and our heating bills are very low.’ Triple glazing also provides excellent acoustic control adds René: ‘We recently watched a major storm from inside the house and we couldn’t hear a thing - it has made a huge difference.’
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