Did you know that over 85% of new window installations use UPVC windows? Requiring less maintenance than wood and lasting much longer, this wonder material is quickly becoming the most efficient option for door and window solutions. But how do you decide if it is right for your home?
If you are unsure about UPVC or why you should consider it, we are here to help. Read on as we discuss UPVC windows in our essential guide.
What Is UPVC?
Unplasticised polyvinyl chloride (UPVC) is a substance that is extremely popular in the manufacture of windows. It has several properties that make it ideal for the purpose, such as durability, low maintenance and lightweight. This makes it excellent for a range of exterior home products, from guttering to siding.
The material has been around since 1935. It is made through a process in which chlorine gas gets obtained from sodium chloride via electrolysis. Chlorine is then mixed with ethylene which comes from petroleum and natural gas, along with liquid vinyl chloride.
When combined, they provide a compound of hydrogen, chlorine and carbon, also known as polyvinyl chloride. The unplasticised section of the name means they have not gone through a softening process involved in the manufacture of plastics. Instead, they undergo a heat and UV protection process to make them durable.
Benefits of UPVC Windows
UPVC has grown in popularity because of the range of benefits it offers. The most attractive ones are listed below.
Metal window frames will rust and discolour over time, particularly if they don’t have the right treatments and protection. Wood is even more delicate and can rot or attract mould. Yet UPVC suffers from none of these problems.
Even in harsh conditions, such as salty coastal air or direct sunlight, you won’t get rot or fade with UPVC windows. With the right maintenance, you can expect them to last for 20 years, possibly even longer, depending on the climate.
With wood and metal window frames, you will need to perform regular checks. The removal of any rot or rust is key, as it will spread quickly and destroy the structure of the frame. As the sun fades their exterior, you will also need to paint them periodically.
UPVC windows only require a wash once in a while. They don’t need any ongoing maintenance, and as they don’t rot or rust, nothing will impair their surface.
Energy prices are rising, so it pays to be as efficient as possible. UPVC windows offer excellent insulation, so any heat produced in the home will stay inside. This reduces your bills for the year.
Conversely, UK summers are reaching record temperatures. As many do not have air conditioning installed, any cool air from temporary AC solutions is kept inside. This allows you to keep a cool head in the summer months.
As they are excellent at insulating, these windows also keep out sound. If you are near public footpaths or busy roads, this can keep out a lot of noise, giving you peace and quiet in your home.
Several features make UPVC windows one of the most secure options on the market. With multiple locking mechanisms, toughened glass and strong frames, it is almost impossible for intruders to force entry.
Styles of UPVC Window
Another reason they are so popular is that they can come in a lot of different styles and fittings. This allows them to look great with a range of property aesthetics, from modern exteriors to classic cottages. Some of the options are below.
Casement windows have one or more hinges on the left and right sides. They can come as single windows or in pairs, attaching to the same frame. Casement windows swing outward, opening horizontally as a door would.
As they open wide, they can be a great source of ventilation. Many have low rates of air leakage, making them energy efficient. Catchments can also affix to them so they don’t open fully for safety in areas where pets or children may be around.
Sliding sash windows have large panels which slide to one side to open the window. The most common option is to have one pane fixed and another which moves, sliding over the other. Most commonly, they are used where outward opening windows can intrude on space or be a hazard.
A bay window is any window that occupies a bay space, jutting out from the main body of the property. They often have curved or squared spaces, allowing a lot of natural light into the room. With a classic look, modern UPVC windows can still retain the period feel with the right colour scheme.
Tilt and Turn
Unlike most outward-opening windows, these windows open inward in a downward movement. They are excellent for ventilation and are extremely versatile. Tilt and turn can also be opened fully inward on their horizontal axis, providing two ways to get air into the home.
Cost of UPVC Windows
The cost of UPVC windows can vary greatly. Factors that change them include the type of window, the labour involved and the quality of the materials used. When getting a quote, you should also consider the value you will add through energy savings, particularly if you have a large home that costs a lot to heat.
A general rule is that if you have a small home with around 8 to 9 windows, new UPVC casement windows for each can cost between £3,300 to £5000. That averages around £400 to £625 a window.
Labour costs will need to be added to this. The bigger the house, the longer the job will be. Large windows may also need several installation experts, increasing your UPVC window prices.
Maintaining UPVC Doors and Windows
Your UPVC doors and windows require very little maintenance. In some conditions, they may not require any at all. However, to get the best results, follow the tips below to assist.
UPVC cleaning fluids are available for when your window frames get dirty. However, few of them do a job as good as warm, soapy water.
Avoid using any harsh cleaners or even a cloth on the surface. These can make small scratches along the surface of the frames. No substance that contains thinners or solvents should be used either, as this can result in damage to the plastic itself.
You may also decide to have your UPVC fittings sprayed. Not only do they allow you to choose colours, but they add an extra layer of protection.
Once you have cleaned the frames, you can ensure fitting opens and close easily by giving them a light oil. This should be done about twice a year to ensure they open and close without any problems.
Double or Triple Glazing?
Double glazing involves having two layers of glass that trap air between them. This provides a huge boost in terms of insulation and soundproofing. However, you can go one step further and use triple glazing.
Triple glazing not only adds an extra layer but uses krypton glass between the panels instead of argon. This gives added protection, particularly in cold climates. Of course, this added extra will increase the costs.
Where to Place UPVC Windows
For most people, new UPVC windows mean replacing the old windows in the home. However, you may be designing a home from scratch and get to choose window placement, or you may just want to add a new window to maximise light and ventilation.
These latter factors should be the biggest deciders. If you have a room that gets little light, the right placed window can transform the space. Consult a builder who will be able to advise on if the wall is load-bearing and can have a new window placed in it.
Ventilation is another great advantage of a UPVC window. Kitchens and bathrooms can benefit from this, particularly if they have only been provided with small openings and get lots of use.
If you are choosing the window to maximise light, then south-facing installations are always the best option as they utilise more sun. Even if you have a great view in a different direction, placing the window at this orientation will allow light to spill in for most of the day.
Finding Expert UPVC Window Suppliers
Now you know everything about UPVC windows; you just need to find the best suppliers and installation experts. Make sure you shop around for quotes, choosing the best service and one that suits your needs, not just the cheapest. When the new windows are installed, you can begin to enjoy savings in energy efficiency.
JLR Building Maintenance can provide a range of home improvement solutions. From roofing to doors, we can safeguard and insulate your house against the elements. Visit us here to book your no-obligation, free quote today.