Norman’s shutter programs are based on trouble-free product design, quality, range, value pricing and reliable delivery. We feel that the selection of the most suitable materials to make shutters is fundamental to their design and ultimate lifetime performance. To this end, Norman has developed and engineered proprietary materials to make up the components of our shutters. Not only will these materials ensure trouble-free operation over many years and look beautiful, but we ensure they are safe for you and your family and minimise our footprint on the global environment.
Often, we are asked why Norman does not make PVC shutters like many of our competitors, especially as we use PVC to make many of our blind products. In response, I thought I would share with you the issues I see with PVC shutters and why Norman does not consider this material suitable to make shutters.
From a performance perspective, PVC shutters are heavier and more flexible than shutters made from wood and engineered wood composite materials. As most shutter installations are hinged this presents a problem over time as the heavier PVC shutters can sag and twist under their own weight and eventually this will affect the opening and closing of the panels and operation of the louvres which will scrape on the inside surface of the stiles. Note this is of particular concern in the Australian market as generally, our homes have larger window and door openings.
PVC is a thermoplastic so shutter panels and frames will experience dimensional variation in response to changes in temperature. Heat stability of PVC is very poor, so the addition of a heat stabilizer during the process is necessary in order to ensure the product’s properties. Traditional product PVC has a maximum operating temperature around 60 °C when heat distortion begins to occur.
In Australia where the differences between seasonal and even daily temperatures can be extreme, this can be a big problem particularly for larger panels where PVC panel components may shrink, expand, bow and twist. This ultimately can lead to distortion of the panels which will affect their appearance and functionality. Often in response to this PVC shutter manufactures will add aluminium inserts to the components of larger panels. The inserts may add stiffness and some stability to the panels, but it does not prevent twisting and makes the panels heavier again.
As PVC profiles are extruded, often the finish will exhibit fine extrusion lines and these need careful treatment to disguise. So, for most of the PVC shutters on the market, they still look, feel and sound like PVC.
Apart from the performance and appearance aspects of PVC shutters discussed above, Norman doesn’t use PVC to make their shutters because there are more suitable and environmentally sustainable materials available. Namely, responsibly managed wood-based materials. In some of our shutter programs, wood-based materials are used in combination with higher grade and recyclable plastics such as ABS and Polypropylene.
Responsibly managed wood products are renewable, recyclable, waste efficient, biodegradable and non-toxic. Wood is also particularly energy efficient in production and use, and as such can play a major role in combatting global warming (see attached the benefits of using wood for shutters and blinds).
Shutters made from wood are the real deal! They are not pretending to be someone else, they are authentic, look beautiful, stable, environmentally friendly, sustainable and most importantly trouble-free.
Wood Is Good.
Norman as one of the world’s leading manufacturers of window covering products strongly encourage consumers around the globe to use wood blinds and shutters. Wood products
are renewable, recyclable, waste efficient, bio-degradable and non-toxic. Wood, as you will read below, is also particularly energy efficient in production and use, and as such can play a major role in combatting global warming. Remember next time you are updating your window coverings at home or in the office choose “wood is good”.
“Wood is beautiful, light and strong to build with, warm, welcoming and healthy to live with. And it offers a simple way to reduce CO2 emissions that are the main cause of climatic change ”
1. Use of wood products reduces atmospheric CO2 and conserves energy
● Low energy requirement to produce and process – giving the wood an ultra-low carbon footprint
● Can substitute materials like steel, aluminium or plastics which require large amounts of “fossil ”energy to produce
● A growing tree absorbs 1 t atmospheric CO2 for every cubic metre of wood
● The growing tree produces 0.7 t O2 for every t of CO2 it absorbs
● Productive forests provide a carbon sink • wood products provide a carbon store
● Outstanding thermal insulation – saving energy in our built-up environment (wood has 1770 times better thermal insulation than aluminium)
● Substitution for fossil fuels….burning wood is carbon neutral
2. Wood is a naturally renewable and a sound ecological building material
● Forests have the potential to regenerate or be cultivated to provide sustainable wood resources
● The world’s forests in temperate and boreal regions continue to increase, despite an increase in the supply of wood from these ecosystems
● It can be reused and recycled
● Waste efficient – very little waste is generated in making wood-based products
● All byproducts can be used as raw materials or as an energy source
● It is biodegradable and non-toxic
3. Wood makes a natural case for itself inside the home from a practical and aesthetic point of view. It provides timeless good looks and a sense of well being
● Whether contemporary or traditional, painted or stained wood adds classic elegance to a room
● It ages gracefully over the years – developing depth of character and interest
● Improves insulation and helps to warm up a room more quickly
● Is warm to touch and provides a robust and maintenance-free surface
● Creates naturally healthy living conditions, easy to keep clean, no hiding place for dust mites and provides natural humidity control
● Products can be easily customised to suit individual style
● It is affordable and easily available