Isle of Lewis, Scotland

Red-framed, triple-glazed VELFAC windows and doors add the finishing touch to Colin Thompson’s distinctive self-build Isle of Lewis home. Specified for thermal performance and architectural impact, the windows have helped deliver ultra-low U-values of 0.14 W/m2k across the house while also enhancing beautiful sea views.


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‘When planning our self-build project we knew we wanted composite windows,’ says Colin. ‘We didn’t like plastic frames and wanted internal wood together with a durable exterior. We first saw the VELFAC system at a Homebuilding & Renovating Show in Birmingham – we discovered that it had a good reputation, could deliver the thermal insulation we required, and we were able to negotiate a very good price.’

Built to Passivhaus principles, Colin’s timber-clad home is constructed using structurally insulated panels (SIPs) with VELFAC windows and patio doors installed in every façade, triple-glazed to withstand the exposed location and often wild and windy weather. The slim VELFAC frame design also helps connect the house to the beautiful island landscape: ‘We installed large windows on the ground floor of the south-facing façade, with fixed units above stretching into the eaves, which together flood the house with light,’ says Colin. ‘We also combined full height VELFAC units to create a west-facing sunroom, which has proved the ideal place to watch the sun set over the sea.’

As there was no VELFAC Direct Approved Joiner nearby, installation was handled by local builders with plenty of technical help from VELFAC resulting in excellent air tightness levels of 1.46 N/m2k. The versatility of the composite frame also allowed Colin to specify different finishes inside and out. He opted for clear lacquered wood internally and ‘ruby red’ (RAL 3003) polyester powder coating for external aluminium frames: ‘We originally wanted a red roof’ he comments, ‘but this was denied by the local planning committee so we specified red-framed windows instead, and a red VELFAC / RIBO front door, which all add colour to the timber facades.’

The house was finally finished in late 2018, and Colin is delighted with the end result: ‘When planning the budget for our build we deliberately decided to spend money on the most important elements, including the windows,’ he says, adding: ‘We were impressed when we first saw the VELFAC system and remain impressed, now that we are enjoying our new home’.


Sector: Self-build home

Homeowner: Colin Thompson

Specified for:

  • Composite aluminium/wood frame
  • Thermal efficiency
  • Durable, low maintenance construction
  • Competitive pricing
  • Technical support