- Description and key differences
- Fittings and window modes
- Features of “Continental” type windows
- Energy efficiency comparison
- Cost and feasibility issues
Various technical solutions originating from European countries have always aroused genuine interest among domestic consumers. In our review, we will talk about Scandinavian windows – technological and durable, but at the same time made of environmentally friendly material.
Description and key differences
The closest and familiar to the domestic consumer analogue of Finnish windows can be called wooden window and balcony blocks, manufactured in accordance with GOST 11214–86. The quality and reliability of these products varied greatly depending on the place of production, but some samples serve regularly to this day..
Unlike Soviet wooden windows, Finnish ones are not designed for periodic adjustment of technological gaps during operation. Internal sash and frame are made of laminated glued beams, which are bioprotective and hydrophobic impregnation, becoming resistant to shrinkage under fluctuations in temperature and humidity. The outer sash is made of aluminum, the frame also has a protective aluminum screen that protects the wood from precipitation and frost. This ensures the maintenance of technological clearances throughout the entire service life..
The most obvious feature of Finnish windows is the synchronous movement of both sashes when opening. This ensures a high density of the vestibule with the formation of a sufficiently large sealed chamber between the outer and inner glazing. The latter can be represented by single glazing; also, in the most modern window models, double-glazed units with up to two chambers can be installed to improve energy efficiency in regions with cold climates..
The advantages of Finnish windows are natural naturalness and high-quality heat protection due to the considerable width of the window block – up to 220 mm. Manufacturability is also surprising: the wooden window is equipped with reliable modern fittings that ensure tight locking and long-term operation. Among the few shortcomings, the massiveness of the shutters stands out, which reduces the luminous flux, as well as the high cost of products made of high-quality wood..
Fittings and window modes
Unlike plastic windows familiar to many, Finnish ones have only one opening mode – rotary. It may seem that due to this, the ease of use is reduced, but this solution is fully justified by the increased reliability. Judge for yourself: instead of a complex tilt and turn mechanism, a pair of strong steel hinges are used, which do not need adjustment and require a minimum of maintenance (lubrication once a year).
The absence of a flap and a micro-ventilation mode is compensated for by various solutions depending on the configuration of the windows: a classic vent, a hinged transom with a lower hinge arrangement, or a supply valve with a built-in dust filter. The valve has the ability to adjust and can be adjusted for various operating modes of climatic equipment and general ventilation.
The locking mechanism of Finnish windows does not have a drive system located in a hidden groove along the sash contour. Instead, an ordinary window bolt is installed, while contour locking is not required due to the high rigidity of the wood and the use of sufficiently thick and soft seals around the frame perimeter. Finnish windows are equipped with an interframe brace on the railing, which ensures the synchronous movement of the racks. The tie bar can be detached, allowing access to the space between the frames for cleaning the windows and servicing the hinge group of the outer sash. Another highlight of Finnish windows is the possibility of installing plastic blinds in the space between the frames, for adjusting and lifting of which there is a convenient handle on the inner sash.
Features of “Continental” type windows
There is a variety of wooden windows, for example Skaala Continental, which is a hybrid of Finnish and modern plastic windows. In fact, this is a prototype of a modern system based on PVC profiles, however, instead of plastic frames, milled wooden frames are used.
Hybrid windows have gained high popularity mainly due to the possibility of completing them with common contour fittings that provide four modes of operation. Also, such windows have a standard profile size with a thickness of 78 mm, which facilitates their installation in apartment buildings made of concrete panels, where the installation of window blocks wider than 100 mm causes difficulties with fastening the window sill and finishing the slopes.
The main difference between Continental windows can be found on the outside of the frame. Here, as in classic Finnish windows, an aluminum screen is used to protect the unit from the weather. This is the hallmark of all Finnish windows: the protective screen is part of the exterior finish and is very technologically matched with the finish of the slopes and rain tide. Another characteristic feature is the absence of seals on the glazing beads, instead of them, silicone putty is used, which somewhat complicates the replacement of a damaged glass unit outside the conditions of the manufacturing plant.
Energy efficiency comparison
Quite often you can hear the opinion that Finnish-type wooden windows are colder than modern plastic ones. The main reason is the high thermal conductivity of wood and the impossibility of installing heavy multi-chamber glass units due to the lack of reinforcement in the frame..
If we talk about hybrid windows, then such statements are true, but only partially. The limited width of the frame really does not allow for a thick glass unit with more than two chambers. However, it is impossible to say that wooden frames conduct heat better than plastic ones at all: in the practice of operation, there are no known cases when condensation fell on a wooden window block in winter.
As for the classic Finnish windows, their energy efficiency cannot be called into question at all, this is the warmest type of glazing. It’s all about a fairly wide air gap, which greatly slows down the transfer of heat from the inner glazing line to the outer one. And when used in at least one glazing line of a glass unit, the energy efficiency parameters become even higher.
Cost and feasibility issues
The cost of high-quality Finnish windows is in the limit of 1 thousand dollars per m2, therefore, they cannot be called accessible to a wide class of consumers. Hybrid windows are somewhat cheaper, however, the best models of plastic systems with original fittings can be purchased for the same price. However, wooden windows are still in high demand, why is this??
First of all, there are objects of elite housing construction, where glazing in wooden frames is a tribute to luxury and prestige. This is especially true of private houses with a richly and elaborately decorated wooden facade: no one will argue that plastic frames are completely inappropriate in this case..
Some buyers are attracted by the fact that, unlike PVC windows, wooden ones do not provide solid insulation of the living space and continue to “breathe”. We are in a hurry to upset: during processing, wood becomes covered with film-forming substances, which deafly localize it from the external environment, and therefore there can be no question of any natural air exchange.