- Home Improvement
What are the Best uPVC Windows and Doors to Get
About this article
This article is designed to help you choose the best PVC windows & doors for your house. As we all know PVC windows cost enough so it is important that you choose a good window. With a little knowledge you can save yourself a lot of money and grief
Getting your price
Step 1 : the first thing you need to do. Is pick at least three different window & door suppliers. If possible have at least one of those from a different town. The reason why one should be from a different town is that sometimes local people will agree on a bit of price fixing to keep the prices high.
Step 2 : Get prices from all three. But do not tell any of them who else is pricing your windows. Plus do not tell anyone what the other prices are.
Step 3 : Now that you have your three prices. You should have a idea on who you want to go with. But now you should ring all three and ask for a job reference. Plus also try to find out yourself if anyone you know has dealt with these companies. Remember you can never have enough information
Step 4 : By now you should know which company you are going with. So ring them and tell them you will go with them if they can do a small bit better on the price. If they won't move on the price. Tell them you will give them the deposit today if they can do something on the price. In most case you will find that they will adjust the price for you.
What makes a Good uPVC window
Not all PVC windows are the same. In some case there is a reason why two windows that look the same can have such a price deferent's.
Look at it this way if you are buying a car you don't expect to get a rolls Royce at the same price of a mini miner. Even if they are both cars and they both get you from A to B. But you know there is a big deferent's there.
The same applies to uPVC windows. So what is the deferent's here are some of the main things you should be looking for in your PVC window
1 - guarantee on the PVC section. This should be for at least 15 years and it should be guaranteed against warping and discolouring. Plus get it in writing
2 - Window reinforcement. All coloured & timber effect windows should be reinforced with galvanised steel or aluminium. Plus white windows over a certain size. This size can vary depending on whose PVC section is being used. But the most common height is 1100mm height by 1350mm width any part of the window longer them measurements should have reinforcement. How you check is by using a magnet if it is galvanised steel the magnet will stick. But if it aluminium reinforcement the only way to check is to look for the screws which are holding the reinforcement in place. These are the screws in the section which seem to be doing nothing.
Once you have located these screws you can just take one out and see if it fixed into reinforcement. Some window manufactures do skimp on the reinforcement to save money.
3 - Fully welded or Mechanical joints. All upvc windows are welded at the corners but some systems still have mechanical joints on the mullions & transoms. The mechanical joints are a faster and cheaper system to make that is why it is still on the market.
4 - Internal or external beaded systems. The internal system is more secure because the glass can only come out from the inside. Plus in a few years time if you have to change glass it can be easily done from the inside.
5 - Locks - Always make sure you have a good multi point locking system fitted. There are many different types plus at many different prices. Here are a few of the main types starting with the cheapest
a- cockspur handles
b - standard - espage
c - double espage
d - Espage & shootbolt
e - Espage / shootbolt & hook lock
when choosing locks you will find most companies use the standard espage but it is worth paying a bit extra to get the double espage or better
6 - Hinges On side hung sashes you should have the egress fire hinge fitted this will allow for maximum exit room if need in an emergence. Plus if you live near the sea make sure you get the stainless steel screws fitted to everything. You can get stainless steel hinges too, but they will cost a bit more.
7 - Glass What type of glass is fitted will make a big deferent's to the price of the windows below is a list of the most common glass starting with the cheapest.
a - single glazed
b - Double glazed
c - Double glazed with Low-E and warm edge spacer bar
d - Double glazed / Low - E & Gas filled and warm edge spacer bar
c - Triple Glazed / Low - E Gas Filled and warm edge spacer bar
When getting new windows Double glazed with Low-E and warm edge spacer is the most popular today. Don't go for less unless the window is just going into a shed
There are many different types of double glazing you can get, but they are also different prices so when pricing around make sure you price like for like.
8 - Window cert. All windows should come with this now if it don't than you should be asking a lot of questions as to why not. The Cert is done with the A rating as the best and so on down. But remember just because a window has an A does not mean it is the best. The A cert only measure how good the window is at holding in the heat. So you can have an A Rated window but the locks & hinges could be crap and fall apart after a few months. So don't just go by what's on the cert.
Check List for windows
1 - Section guarantee
2 - Window reinforcement
3 - Fully welded or Mechanical joints
4 - Internal or external beaded systems
5 - Type of Locks
6 - Type of Hinges
7 - Type of Double Glazing
8 - Window Cert
So when you are changing your windows make sure you get good windows as they are not cheap, and if hinges & locks start breaking the cost of getting these replaced can be quite high.
What makes a Good uPVC Door
It is more or less the same as the windows
1 - Section guarantee
2 - Door reinforcement (All doors must be fully reinforced)
3 - Fully welded or Mechanical joints (some door & sidelight designs will have to have a mechanical joint it all depends on where the mullions & transoms are.
4 - Internal or external beaded systems (Same as windows)
5 - Type of Locks Just like windows, doors come with many different types of locks plus different prices on all of them. Here are a few starting with the cheapest.
a - 4 cam roller with deadbolt
b - 4 cam roller with deadbolt & shoot bolts
c - 4 cam roller with hook locks
d - 4 cam roller with hook locks & shoot bolts
The most common lock used is the 4 am roller with deadbolt. But you really should upgrade to a better lock for more security.
6 - Type of Hinges Most of the door hinges are not bad and do the job. But just make sure that there is at least three on the door and if your door is even a small bit bigger than standard ask for four hinges to be fitted.
7 - Type of Double Glazing (same as windows)
8 - Door Cert ( same as windows)
9 - Security Claw. This is an extra item fitted to the hinge side of a door. Some companies will fit them as standard but some charge extra. What they do is stop your door from being prised open with a nail bar. If your door opens outwards you should defiantly have one fitted.
10 - Door Panel. This is the part that fits into the door frame the same way that double glazing is fitted. With door panels just make sure you get panels that are fully reinforced. How tell is just by knocking on the panel. If there is no reinforcement it will sound and feel very light. If you are in any doubt just ask for the panel to be slipped out so you can see the side & the reinforcement. It only takes a few minutes to do this.
Fitting of your uPVC Windows & Doors
If your windows & doors are not fitted properly than they will give trouble all the time. Here are a few of the main thing to watch out for.
1 - If your windows & doors are fitted of level your hinges and locks will not run smoothly so they will wear down a lot faster. So once you windows are in, make sure you check that all the windows & door are opening & closing smoothly. If any of them are catching or feel a bit over stiff than you may have a problem. But give the window fitter a chance to adjust them first, because they might only need a small adjustment. But if there is still a problem after the adjustment than maybe it is time to get the level out and check the windows & doors.
2 - Make sure the windows are fully sealed to the reveals on the house. Check right around the window on the outside. Plus it would do no harm to ask what type of sealer they use, because there are many different types. The sealer must be designed for use on uPVC windows or else it will only peal of after a few months. It should be written on the tube if it can be used on windows & doors.
3 - Most Companies now use expanding foam around the windows & doors. But just make sure they don't use it under the windows as the foam is not waterproof.
4 - Check your glass straight away and make sure there is no scratches on them because if you leave it to long it is hard to prove that you didn't make the scratches.
But most of all don't just think they will do a good job just because they did a good job for your friend up the road. Anyone can have a bad day and you don't want to be the result of someone else's bad day, as it will only cost you money in the long run.
Maintaining your uPVC windows & Doors
Now that you have your new windows & doors. It is best to check with the window company what cleaning fluids can be used. Because some can discolour gold and chrome handle. Plus be careful what cleaning fluids you use on timber effect windows as some can discolour the timber effect.
Also any moving parts could do with a bit of greece about once a year. This will slow down wear & tear, and if you live next to the sea it would be a good idea to buy a can of spray greece and give your hinges & locks a spray every year. This will keep the sea air of them and stop corrosion.
If a handle or hinge does break it is not a big job to replace them.
If it happens within the first two years the warranty should cover it. But your warranty will only cover it, if it due to a fault in the handle or hinge.
So if its the case that you had an extension lead out the window for Christmas lights or something. Than afterwards you get a draft in your window, more than likely you strained the hinge that's why you now have a faulty hinge. You can tell the trades person all the stories you want. But more than likely they have seen this a hundred times before and heard all the stories to go with it. But after all that, the worst that can happen is that you have to pay for a new pair of hinges.
Got some tips
If anyone else has any other tips or ideas please put them in comments box at the bottom. You may just save someone a lot of grief and money.