Composite Profiles in the Housing Market
An industry report by the EPTA (European Pultrusion Technology Association) has highlighted a potential area of growth for composite profiles in the housing market. This report drew attention to how beneficial these GRP profiles can be for the home. We have summarised the main points below.
With the knowledgebase and interest of composite profiles now rising, we are seeing more and more benefits of using composite profiles in replacement of traditional materials. These pultruded profiles are seen to outperform materials such as wood, aluminium, steel and PVC which are now starting to be replaced in energy efficient windows and doors, exterior trims, decking, fencing and much more. Pultruded profiles have consequently gained a reputation of being a premium, long lasting product. Glass Fibre Reinforced Polyester (GRP) is usually the preferred choice.
What are the advantages of using GRP composite profiles in the housing market?
Lightweight– Significantly lighter than steel and lighter than aluminium, making it easier to transport, handle and install. Therefore, overall costs are lower.
High Strength– Present a higher strength than steel on a Kg-for-Kg basis.
Parts consolidation– Designers are able to integrate various parts into one profile, meaning easy installation due to the ability to create complicated single parts.
Corrosion resistance– Pultruded products are commonly the product of choice for outdoor exposure, this is because of their inability to rust or rot and minimal maintenance is required. They are highly beneficial in areas that are exposed to airborne and waterborne salt agents!
Durability– This is a key advantage! As many composite structures are still in use after 50 years, the lifespan and minimal maintenance make it the perfect product for long term structure plans.
Those are just some of the benefits! More include the low thermal conductivity, low coefficient of thermal expansion, high and low temperature capabilities and its non-conductivity.
Because of stated advantages, the use of composite profiles in the home is increasing.
What can benefit from using composite profiles?
- Energy efficient Windows and Doors
The composite profiles are an excellent thermal insulator, limiting thermal bridging, condensation and mould issues. The frames will not warp, there’s less chance of seal failure and it will not rust. Slimmer frames are also possible due to the mechanical strength of the pultruded profiles, and therefore a larger viewing area is possible.
- Exterior trim and cladding
As a product that’s typically exposed to weather conditions, the GRP composite profiles’ corrosion resistant properties make it the perfect material to use. Pultruded glass fibre composite cladding is stronger and more durable than traditional materials. It will not buckle, it is resistant to chipping and is almost maintenance free. Pultruded profiles can also be used in rain gutter systems.
- Pergolas and arbours
The corrosion resistant pultruded beams can give the appearance of wood without the risk of rot and maintenance requirements. They are much stronger than PVC and will not dent or rust like aluminium.
- Fencing and decking
Pultruded glass fibre composite fencing systems offer a strong and long lifespan alternative to wood, metal and PVC. It is regularly the fencing choice in coastal environments due to its resistance against salt water corrosion. Pultruded decking is a low maintenance alternative to other materials such as wood, and it will not rot, rust or chip.
- Affordable housing systems
Pultruded profiles offer opportunities for low maintenance, efficient homes which can be built quickly.
The Smartlink system is an example of a modular construction system for “low-cost thermally efficient homes based on a small number of pultruded profiles that bolt and ‘snap-fit’ together enabling rapid assembly.” The homes can be dissembled and reassembled elsewhere if needed, and are 25% cheaper than traditional builds.
These “flat-pack” houses can also play a role in disaster relief, as they are easy to transport and can be used as temporary accommodation for people during natural disasters.
It is clear how much of a benefit GRP composite profiles can present, and with the awareness currently developing, there is a large potential for further growth in the market!
To Access their full report, please visit: https://pultruders.org/pdf_news/1_EPTA%20Construction%20Briefing.pdf
To find out how Engineered Composites can help you with GRP Profiles, please call us on +44 (0)1244 676 000.