Everyone we spoke to during our double glazing and granite bench-top road trip was welcoming and helpful.
David had wisely suggested that the best way to learn more about the different products we were considering in our design was to visit the supplier or manufacturer. Getting up close and personal would be far better than just looking at websites or reading magazine articles.
On Saturday, we took his advice and headed out on a product review road trip.
Granite bench-tops were a complete surprise.
The good folk at Gladstones Granites are wholesalers who kindly open their warehouse to retail customers so you can see what is available. And what a wide choice of granite there is!
When we walked in, we were thinking about the appearance of traditional granite. However, we quickly discovered there are so many more options. The colours are spectacular! Most of the slabs on display could easily be hung on walls as modern artworks. For now, it is enough to know these granites exist as we don’t have to make a decision right now.
One thing to ponder is that the granites are imported to Australia. No locals. We’ll need to think about this when considering the impact of shipping materials around the world and our desire to support local industries. Libby remembered seeing an ATA article about the different choices in bench-top materials. More research to be done on this dilemma.
Interesting to find out that the top of the range bench-top option provided by Gladstones was actually quartzite. This metamorphic rock is tougher and more hard wearing than granite.
Double glazing is a must.
An important part of passive design is to limit the heat transfer through the holes in the walls called windows.
So, we needed to know the latest thinking from the suppliers.
First we dropped into Miglas High Performance Windows, located just a short drive from our place. Kurt gave us an informative guided tour of the displays and even took us to see some of the products being made in the factory. The basic design used by Miglas is a composite timber-aluminium framing with a 14 mm gap. There are lots of choices in colours for the powder coating for the aluminium exteriors. The combination reduces maintenance as the aluminium exterior doesn’t need painting. Inside the wood frame can be painted or stained.
Later that morning we visited CertainTeed Windows. David explained how they used a uPVC framing system for their double glazed windows. PVC is ultra-low maintenance, long wearing and recyclable.
Both companies custom-make the windows and aren’t locked into standard frame sizes. That certainly suits us as we are going to have some interesting shapes and sizes in our designs.
The main ideas we took away from these discussions was that good sealing around the windows is essential for us to make the best of the double glazing. For that reason, we are going for casement windows, rather than awning windows. With proper consideration of window location and opening direction, we feel it’s more likely we’ll get a good flow of natural ventilation through the casement windows in summer.
For the large doors leading out onto the deck, it’s going to be hinged doors rather than sliding. From what we saw, hinged doors give a tighter seal when closed.
Road trip was time well spent.
Each place we went was well worth the visit. It was a pleasure talking to knowledgeable staff about what we were planning to do and getting their ideas about how their products could help us achieve that objective.
More road trips are definitely on the cards.