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Best types of locks & Handles for pvc windows
When choosing new windows most people think they will automatically just get good locking systems. (Well the short answer is No) Mostly because they vary in price so much and some systems can take twice as long to fit. Which will cost the window company more in labour.
So if it looks like you know nothing about windows or what type of window locks you want you could be landed with anything. As most of you will know locks & handles will vary in price. But it does not mean the most expensive is the best. The best way to choose is to get something that will lock in as many different places as possible.
Below are a few of the main types of Handles & Locking systems available for pvc windows.
1 : Cockspur Handle - This is one of the older systems used it is just a handle that closes over the mullion bar. Simple and effective with only one moving part. But once the nylon washer starts to wear down it will mean your sash won't close tightly and will than leave a draft in. The security of this type of lock & Handle all depends on how good the quality is of the handle is. If it is made of a cheap & weak material than it will not stand up to someone trying to break in with a nail bar. If you are getting these type of handles than make sure they come with a security cert. This means they have been tried and tested for all types of security issues.
Note : For downstairs windows get handles that you can lock. So if someone breaks the glass they can't put there hand in and open the window.
2 : Espage lock - This system is the most common used on pvc windows today. The Locking system is hidden inside the frame and has two or three locking points depending on the sizes of window sash. The handle in this case does not improve the locking system so it does not really matter if it is a cheap handle. The security of the espage locking system is good once your PVC window has been made properly. The thing to watch out for with this system, is to make sure that sash line-blocks have been fitted. Without these means someone who tries to force your window open may do so. Because the sash may move down slightly and pop of the lock keeps. All good window systems come with these sash line-blocks. But they get left off due to a lazy fabricator or because the fitter has not fitted the window properly and your sash is now catching on this block so the fitter removes it.
3 : Double Espage System - This is an upgraded system of the espage system above. It has double the locking points which move in a different direction. In other words two locking points move up and two move down. This make the window very hard to force open, even if the sash line-blocks are missing. The handle on this system is the same as the normal espage system and does not need to be very expensive. So most people will just choose a nice looking handle. Most window fabricators will offer a choice of colours for your handles. Some of the main colours are ( white - black - brush chrome - shiny chrome - Gold ) all these handles should also have the option of locking or non locking.
4 : Shoot Bolt System - This is a combination of espage locking plus it will also have two bolts which shoot out into the frame. Very secure system and very hard to force open. The only draw back is that you have more moving parts in this type of lock plus more parts which must engage into the keeps. So if your window is not made and fitted 100% you can find that your locks are hard to close due to the fact that they are grinding of the keeps to close. Which in turn will wear down and break your locks quicker. So if you are getting this system make sure you check every single window so that they are closing smoothly. Other wise they may give a lot of trouble just a few months down the line.
5 : Espage & Hook lock - This is mostly used on doors but you can get a scaled down version for windows. It is a very secure system because it has a metal hook built into it, which hooks onto the frame and because the hook is located next to the espage it still works very easy even if your window was not fitted 100% unlike the shoot bolt system. This means less grinding so your locks will last longer. Handles for this are the same as above.
6 : Tilt / Turn System - With this system your window sash will open inwards unlike the ones above which all open outwards. The bonus with this is that you have two option when opening your window. The first one is when you turn you handle a half turn your sash will tilt inwards at the top. Than if you turn your handle all the way to the top it will open inwards like a door, which is ideal for a fire exit or just for cleaning purposes. The security on these windows are very good because they have locking points right around the window and are very hard to force open. The handle on these windows are slightly bigger than what is used on casement windows but come in all the same colours and with or with out locks. Plus for safety you can also have the door option locked so a young child can't open it and fall out. This option is built into some handles so you will than need a key to open your window like a door.
7 : Extra Security - What some people also add to there windows on the hinge side is a security claw. This is like a metal bolt which locks into the frame on the hinge side of your sash. This will prevent your sash from being forced opened on the hinge side.
Some companies will fit these as standard but others will have an extra charge for them. The extra charge should not be much but they are worth it
Note : These are not needed on Tilt/Turn windows.
Conclusion : Above are some of the main systems used on pvc window. There are others but I have listed the most common and secure ones here. Plus in a few years and in many years to come you will still be able to get spare parts for any of these systems which is something you should consider because in a few years the person who sold you the windows may not be around for spare parts. So you need to pick a system that is widely used. That way you will always be able to get parts plus they won't cost a fortune.
Tip : To help prolong the life of your locks Get a can of spray grease and spray the locks once a year. This will reduce wear and tear, plus it keeps the air and moisture of the locks which will reduce corrosion.