Steel windows are great. Steel windows on your terms are even better.
These sleek, modern products are now popular in not only commercial architecture, but in residential applications as well. It’s not hard to see why -- steel windows are the best at matching durability with elegance.
Most steel windows use solid, extruded components. But window manufacturers and the designers that specify these cool windows are looking past the window itself to an easy, elegant, and inexpensive way to enhance the installation: hollow, snap-on, roll formed trim.
Steel Windows: Solid, Extruded Parts Vs. Hollow, Roll Formed Parts
The steel extrusion process resembles that old Play-Doh machine in your mother’s attic. The metal is molten, and the manufacturer forces it through a template. It then cools and creates a solid shape.
Aluminum extrusion is very common, too, but if you really want to go high-end with a unique look, it’s all about steel. Really want to step it up? Some companies also offer extruded or machined bronze as a window construction option. Machining solid metal bars or rods into window frame components or decorative shapes can happen, but the process is very costly and produces a large percentage of scrap.
Roll forming involves the continuous bending of a long strip of coiled steel into a desired cross-section. The strip passes through sets of rolls, each set performing an incremental part of the bending.
While roll formed window frame construction is available, solid extrusion construction is considered superior. However, as a decorative accessory option roll formed profiles work quite well.
So, with roll forming, you’re getting a similar metal look, but with a hollow piece you can snap onto adjacent surfaces for a fraction of the cost of any solid shaping method.
Enough about the similarities for now -- let’s talk about the benefits of snap-on simplicity.
3 Advantages of Hollow Clip-on Parts
1. You can still pull off a vintage look.
You’ve probably noticed steel windows have a rectilinear, square look to them. A lot of today’s architects are trying to reduce the frame and increase the amount of glass present in the architecture.
If that’s your muse, great. Want a more vintage look on your steel windows? You may not be able to get it with solid, extruded parts. You instead need a hollow, snap-on part if you seek colonial-like aesthetics such as:
- Unique curves
- Unique tapers
- A more ornate appearance
This way you can dress up windows in a non-modern style but keep the awesomeness and longevity of steel. Snap-on moulding is definitely the answer if you want similar or contrasting adjacent trim made of metal -- whether your project is commercial or residential.
2. You can use current windows.
Clip-on steel parts let you work with windows already available on market with the rectilinear look you currently have.
The bonus is that you can augment your complete look with a snap-on -- whenever you want. You can add snap-on moulding to new brand-new installations or adjacent to windows that have been in place for 50 years.
3. They’re less expensive.
From a construction standpoint, steel windows involve unique and high-value processes. The steel extrusion process is very expensive, complicated, and rare. If you’re considering steel windows, you’re probably in the top 1% of window buyers in terms of budget, but saving money still feels great, right?
With roll formed parts, you’ll get hollow, snap-on pieces that still carry the same great look as extruded parts. By the way, you’ll get it at 25% of the cost of extruded parts. Since they’re hollow, clip-on parts require less base material to produce -- it’s like paying for Play-Doh but getting professional sculptor’s clay!
Steel Is the Real Deal
Hollow, clip-on metal parts are a flexible, economical option for your architecture. If you’re serious about getting a top-notch look and keeping up with trends, steel parts are even better.
So in love with steel that you can’t get enough? Look into steel doors for your residential, commercial, or industrial building.
There will always be designers who want control of every single detail, down to the last thread, sliver, or scrap. That philosophy can apply to choosing decorative metal trim. To each their own, we say.
Which type of decorative metal trim finish is right for your project? It depends on the basis of the specification. “Form or function?” is the basic question so many architectures have wrestled with over the years, and it applies even to decorative accents.