Often referred to as plastic windows, uPVC styles are a specific incarnation of windows that most contemporary homes have installed, but what exactly are they?
uPVC refers to products that are made using polyvinyl chloride. Basically, this is a combination of different chemicals, plasticizers and pigments that are light and easy to maintain and can be manipulated into specific shapes with little difficulty.
uPVC is considered to be extremely energy efficient, as it doesn’t allow much heat to escape, which is a key selling point.
Pros and Cons of uPVC windows.
Apart from needing to be cleaned, these windows are maintenance-free, as the material won’t corrode, rot or rust.
They keep heat within a property exceptionally well, especial if double-glazing or triple-glazing glass panels are selected.
uPVC windows do not ever need to be painted.
If you want to up your eco credentials, uPVC window installations are perfect, as the frames are made from recycled material and can be recycled again at the end of their life.
They create a contemporary aesthetic for modern homes.
Extensive glazing options are available to choose from, including double-glazed windows, triple-glazing and even soundproofed glass.
They are available in a number of colours and styles, so as to blend in, even with older properties.
uPVC windows can be surprisingly cost-effective.
uPVC windows are not fireproof, but are fire resistant
Many people don’t consider them to be as attractive as traditional wooden windows.
Repair work usually requires total removal and disassembly.
uPVC windows are not suitable for every climate. Extreme weather can prevent them being an option.
White uPVC has a tendency to discolour over time.
Direct heat sources can warp plastic frames.
Repairs to uPVC windows need to be carried out by professionals.
If set on fire, plastic windows could release toxic fumes.
The majority of people consider them unsuitable for period homes.
Plastic windows could last as little as 15 years.
Whether you have decided to fit your own supply-only plastic windows or have a professional fitting team coming to do the job for you, the process will be the same and can be split into five stages:
This part of the process helps you to make sure that your brickwork is in good condition and that you won’t need to make any structural repairs ahead of fitting new windows. You will also be able to see if you need to account for any telephone or internet wiring.
You can ask a professional to come and check your aperture and take accurate measurements for you at this stage. You need to remember that your new windows will need to be smaller than the holes they are going into, usually 10mm smaller, all the way around the frame.
You will need to clean the area well at this point.
2. Removing existing windows
Before you remove your old windows, triple-check that the replacements are the exact same size and will fit perfectly. If everything looks good, remove existing windows very carefully, to minimise damage to walls.
If possible, remove your glazing panels first and then the frames, as this will reduce the weight you need to account for and obviously, wear protective clothing.
Be wary of damaging any damp proofing.
3. Fit the new frame
Before fitting your new uPVC frame, you will need to attach your sill, if you are having one. Be careful to use the right length of screws, or they could penetrate your frame and allow moisture to creep in. Be sure to add the sill end caps as well.
Place your frame into your gap and level it, using shims if necessary. Once it is in the right place and perfectly level, drill fixing screw holes through the frame and into the wall.
Screw your frame to the wall, using high quality frame fixings, but don’t over tighten until all screws are in place and can be equally tightened.
Fill any holes with silicone sealant, to prevent moisture creeping in anywhere and then clean all brick dust away.
4. Insert the glass
It goes without saying that you will need to enlist the help of a second person to lift your glazing into place. Do this VERY carefully, or you might have to order new glass!
Click your sealed units into place and add finishing strips, supplied with your frame.
5. Finishing touches
Clean all of the surface areas, so prevent staining and finally, add a perfectly smooth bead of quality sealant, in a matching colour, to fill the gap between your walls and the frame. This should be a weatherproof barrier, so don’t try to be frugal.
There are lots of window suppliers to choose from and the homify directory of window suppliers is a great place to start your search.