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Installing Windows and Doors: Must be Perfectly Done

13 September 2023

Aluminium is a material that guarantees quality and durability of windows and doors. Values that are ensured through correct installation. If it is carried out unprofessionally, in fact, it can lead to problems.
This article explains what laying is and how to do it correctly.

What is meant by the installation of window frames?

Laying (or installation) represents the set of procedures that lead to the actual assembly of the window. After all the laboratory tests and checks, the window acquires its protective function in the home with the installation.

The main objective of the installation is to anchor the window frame to the masonry of the house, so that the window ‘merges’ with the wall to create a whole (the facade). In this sense, it is therefore essential to first ensure that the window frame is anchored to the masonry firmly over time.

The other fundamental objective of installation is to allow the window to fulfil all its functions that have already been tested and certified in the laboratory: safety, thermal insulation, acoustic insulation1, weather tightness, solidity and durability. All these characteristics must not only be guaranteed in theory, but also in everyday practice, which is why it is so important to install them correctly.

The installation must also be adequate from two other points of view. First of all, trivially, the window must be installed in such a way that it can open and close easily and effortlessly. Secondly, with the installation, the aesthetics of the work must be guaranteed, making the joint between the frame and masonry pleasing to the eye.

Why is the installation of windows and doors so important?

When choosing windows and doors, one often focuses on certain fundamental aspects such as the correct choice of glass or the frame material. In the latter case, aluminium is the ideal choice in many respects, offering numerous advantages in terms of thermal and acoustic insulation, solidity, durability and weather resistance. Rarely do we dwell on the type of installation.

But all these benefits can be nullified by inadequate or hastily executed window installation. Sloppy installation, in short, can compromise the performance of even the best window on the market. An excellent window frame must be effective once it has become an integral part of the building envelope following a professional installation.

For this reason, it is always important to entrust this work to qualified personnel from companies specialised in this field, who not only know how to carry out a correct installation in practice, but also how to design it effectively beforehand.

What happens if the window frames are not installed correctly?

It can happen that, once the perfect windows and doors have been installed for our house, after a short time we notice that there is condensation or draughts. In most cases, this is due not so much to the quality of the materials, but to poorly executed installation.

When this happens, windows are simply not able to perform as promised on all levels. Thermal insulation will not be guaranteed: improper insulation leads to air passages that compromise the energy efficiency of the house and, consequently, increase heating/cooling costs.

The correct installation of windows and doors also allows the functionality of the openings to be maintained over time. For example, a window that opens incorrectly causes abnormal wear of the components over time, thus leading to their premature ageing.

Living comfort is greatly affected by a lack of acoustic insulation, with the passage of noise from outside. Finally, improper installation leads to the window frame being less resistant to wear and tear from atmospheric agents, such as wind and rain, sometimes even causing intolerable water infiltration; moreover, humidity would soon lead to the formation of condensation and mould, with negative consequences for the tenants’ health.

Finally, there is the security of one’s home to consider. A loosely fitted window may in fact compromise its burglar-proof capabilities because it is easier to tamper with.

How do you install windows and doors correctly?

When it comes to the installation of windows and doors, two fundamental elements must be introduced: the frame and the counterframe, which must guarantee adequate thermal, acoustic and weather tightness:

  • the counterframe is the element that represents the meeting point between the masonry and the window frame; in other words, it anchors the window frame to the wall. It must be insulating and resistant.
  • the frame supports the entire structure by anchoring to the counterframe, the sash consists of the opening sashes and allows for the many different types of opening. To fulfil these functions, aluminium is the preferred material: strong, light, ductile, maintenance-free and capable of supporting large glazed surfaces.

Frame installation: primary node and secondary node

To ensure that the window performs well, two installation points must therefore be considered: the one connecting the counterframe to the wall, known as the primary node, and the one connecting the frame to the counterframe, known as the secondary node.
There are situations where the counterframe is not present; in this case, there is only one joint – primary node – between the window frame and the masonry.

To prevent any remaining gaps and irregularities, and thus ensure better insulation, special insulating polyurethane foams are usually inserted into the primary node. In order to maximise the insulation also between the window and the counterframe, self-expanding tapes with very high sealing properties are applied in the secondary node. Foams and tapes, in combination with perimeter sealants and vapour barriers, are effective in protecting joints from standing water, rain, noise and the passage of air from outside to inside and vice versa.

The installation phases: design, assembly and service

The installation of windows and doors cannot be separated from an adequate initial design.
The installation of windows and doors must be designed in such a way as to ensure:

  • adequate fixings between the frame, counterframe and wall;
  • the transfer of loads to the wall structure;
  • good acoustic and thermal insulation;
  • harmonious integration with the facade context.

The counterframe must be designed in such a way as to guarantee insulation also on the lower part, where the windowsill is located; it is usually made of stone, which, although a valuable and aesthetically pleasing material, has good heat conductivity. The counterframe must therefore guarantee excellent insulation, avoiding the creation of thermal bridges near the windowsill.

In the actual assembly phase, it must be remembered that the frame must be fixed to the counterframe mechanically by means of specific screws and not with glues, expanded materials and the like. It is then important to eliminate all thermal bridges, which means possible air passages between the outside and the inside (and vice versa) that could compromise the efficiency of the frame and the energy efficiency of the home in general, as well as cause the formation of mould and condensation.
Thermal bridges are usually due to inhomogeneous materials and inaccurate installation; therefore, once again it is essential to rely on qualified professionals.

Finally, optionally, the customer can sign a contract for scheduled maintenance; in this case, the professional will periodically check the functioning and tightness of the materials, planning any remedial work where necessary.

How to ensure that window frames are correctly installed

Ensuring that the installation of windows and doors for one’s home is done correctly is an action that should be done in advance, requiring guarantees of professionalism and qualification from the installers. This is also very important because, if it is true that the installation has its own cost, any subsequent corrective work can be much more costly, as well as complex.

Once the installation has been carried out, in any case, it is possible to follow a few simple steps to check that no gross errors have been made. Simply open and close the sashes, checking that they close properly and do not open by themselves, and do the same checks with the installed shading systems, such as roller shutters and blinds. Finally, the joint between the masonry and the frame must be impeccable to the eye, with the absence of even the smallest gap between the two elements.

It is important to remember that, in the long term, the wear and tear of time could compromise the quality of the window, even if it has been professionally installed. It is therefore important to carry out proper window frame maintenance, which in the case of aluminium is very minimal. We therefore always recommend aluminium as the strongest and most durable material.

The PosaClima installation of METRA Building

PosaClima is a certified and innovative installation system that guarantees excellent performance in the installation of windows in newly built houses and in major renovations. But, with the Renova variant, it is also possible to adopt the same concepts in the replacement of existing windows, without replacing the counterframe.

The PosaClima system offers laying solutions for structural elements – frames and counterframes – as well as sealing elements. It is currently the most popular laying system in Italy. PosaClima solutions comply with the requirements of the relevant standard (UNI 11673-1 of 2017).

METRA Building’s aluminium windows and doors are combined with PosaClima, for maximum efficiency in terms of thermal and acoustic comfort, as well as energy saving. Applicable to all METRA Building products, PosaClima perfectly matches the company’s green DNA, as it is free from lead stabilisers and other heavy materials.
It is also fireproof, easily paintable and highly resistant to ageing and weathering.

METRA Building is also fully up-to-date with current regulations according to the new CAM provisions.

Offering products of the highest quality, we have a network of installation partners who ensure that we maintain this quality through properly executed installation. You
can contact METRA Building for more information on the installation of windows and doors and all aluminium products.