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Old and modern – is it possible?

What exactly is ‘old building’? Everybody has a certain idea but, in fact, there is no precise definition. This concept encompasses generally all architectonical styles before 1949. It includes relicts of classicism, secession, industrial revolution and other important historical epochs. They might be detached architectural gems, or street buildings with hidden yards – old building is definitely the ornament of our European architecture. The rich, lavishly decorated facades, ornaments, curls and crinkum-crankum evoke admiration and make streets of European cities truly unique. Inside, the high ceilings, often decorated with stuccos, and the old parquets add grandeur to the rooms. Comparing to the new types of residential buildings, which determine the functionality for particular rooms already in the plane of the building, rooms in old building often have similar size and allow for free and individual arrangement. Therefore, we are not surprised that old buildings are popular and attracts inhabitants from various age groups. They proudly present the past times in a new version – as long as they have been adopted to the modern standards of life.





Good windows may increase dramatically energy efficiency of old buildings.














As recently as in the 80’s old building did not imply prestigious locations. It constituted housing facilities for the poorer social groups. Even housing estates in the outskirts, now considered to be the social trouble spots, had better reputation than pre-war building because of the run down condition of the old tenement houses. Dilapidated houses, no sanitary installations that were often found in the corridors, did not promise a high comfort of the flats. Poor thermal insulation and outdated heating systems turned winter into a true survival school.  Draughts were a common problem, not impeded by the box windows with single layered glazing. Whereas the flat coziness and atmosphere depend hugely on the material that the window is made of. The significant amount of energy that we use to heat the house escapes through the window. Before PVC windows were introduced in 1954, in housing construction box windows in wooden frames were used almost exclusively. Because of the material, such windows are exposed to weather conditions, they require regular maintenance and must be renovated thoroughly every few years. However, modern PVC windows stand out for stability and resistance to weather conditions. ‘Apart from resistance to weather conditions, PVC is also a material characterized by very good parameters regarding energy efficiency – explains Mirosław Furtan, the Deputy Head of Quality in DRUTEX S.A. ‘Thermal transmittance, the Uw, specifies the heat insulation properties of the window’ – he adds. For example, in IGLO Energy window system by Drutex, Ucoefficient for the window is 0,6 W/(m²K)*. For comparison: at 0,8 W/(m2K) level or lower windows may be used in passive building. **. PVC windows are also exceptionally durable and practically do not require any maintenance. Therefore, they are the optimal solution for all types of buildings, and they are available in a variety of colors and shapes, e.g. also in colors that imitate natural wood, and in style suitable for old building.





More daylight – also in big rooms in old buildings. With the right window it is not a problem.












An impediment in renovation in old building may be the issue connected with protection of historical monuments. It may include the façade or structure of the building, as well as floors, doors and windows in some cases. However, there are many possibilities to carry out the renovation while maintaining and protecting the prime materials so that they would imitate the original version as much as possible. Wood and aluminum windows are very popular, where the classic wood combines with the modern aluminum structure. The tight connection of the two materials offers a number of advantages comparing to wood windows; on the inside the window frames can breathe, they look elegant and natural, on the outside they are modern and very resistant to weather conditions. Wood and aluminum windows constitute nowadays one of the fastest growing segment in construction woodwork market.

 



 

Elegance and classic. Combination of the old and the modern
















 

Elegance and classic. Combination of the old and the modern

In each case  there is a vast array of possibilities to renovate an old building according to the current standards and requirements. During the renovation it is worth considering the aesthetic aspects, as well as energy-efficient solutions. 

 




*regarding a window of 1230x1480 mm
** according to ift Rosenheim institute


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