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Guide To uPVC Windows



What is uPVC?

PVC stands for poly-vinyl-chloride, which is a form of plastic. You may have heard of it being a substitute for leather. When an extra ingredient is added, the material sets in a rigid, tough form. This is then known as Unplasticized Polyvinyl Chloride (uPVC). It is a low maintenance building material that is mostly used for installing double glazing in new builds or to replace older single glazed windows. It can also be used for facia and siding or weatherboarding.


Why Are UPVC Windows So Popular?

There are many reasons as to why uPVC windows are widely used in manufacturing windows. It has remained popular with homeowners since they were first introduced in the 1980s. Here are some of the many reasons as to why they are popular:

  • It is a cheaper alternative to other materials such as hardwood timber and aluminium

  • It is very durable

  • Cost effective

  • Improved thermal performance

  • Enhanced aesthetic appearance

  • Excellent security credentials

  • Strong, versatile and low maintenance

  • Low ongoing costs for homeowners


What Is The Lifespan of UPVC Windows?

uPVC windows should have a lifespan of at least 25 years. It has been suggested that higher quality uPVC windows that have been installed correctly can last over 35 years. To be assured of the best quality, take a look at the length of warranty from the supplier. If they aren't prepared to give you a warranty of at least 10 years, this is definitely a red flag.

The lifespan of 25 years is based on the assumption that the installation is correct. If the windows are misaligned or poorly installed, they can fail much sooner. If this is the case, it won't be the uPVC to blame. It will be moving parts such as seals or hinges due to stress and gravity if they aren't aligned correctly. These parts can be replaced whilst leaving the window itself intact.


It is also important to bear in mind that over time there has been a massive improvement in technology. Modern windows are much more efficient than those manufactured 10 years ago. You may want to consider putting in new ones!


How Do I Know When UPVC Windows Need Replacing?

Watch out for the following signs that your windows may need replacing:

  1. Discolouration: uPVC windows will start off being brilliantly white, but they may not stay this way. Lots of exposure to UV light over time can cause the white to turn yellow. This will not only look unattractive but will also devalue your property. If your windows are yellow, it is time to replace them.

  2. Condensation: If condensation is occurring between the panes of glass it means the seal around the edges has broken. This gap will mean that the inert gas inside the panel will have escaped which will massively reduce the efficiency of the window.

  3. Draughts: If you can feel a draught around the window frame, this can be fixed without replacing the window. But this is a good sign that the window is on its last legs.


Can You Paint UPVC Windows?

The majority of uPVC windows are brilliant white and any that are coloured, are given their pigment at factory level. UPVCs surface is low friction which means it is able to resist stains and rainwater slides away quickly. This normally means that uPVC is very difficult to paint as it is naturally resistant. This doesn't mean that it is impossible, but it means that over time, any coats of paint applied will be more prone to peeling and warping.


While painting uPVC windows can be a good way to give them a new lease of life, if you are investing in new windows and do not want them to be white, we’d suggest you opt for another window material. UPVC is a material that is not built to be modified, it looks and functions best when it is in its normal glossy-white form.


How Do I Maintain UPVC Windows?

UPVC are low maintenance but it is still important to carry out routine maintenance to ensure longevity. It is suggested to do this at least twice a year but in areas of high exposure, you may want to do it more frequently. For the parts of the window that are exposed when closed, wash them down with warm soapy water using a soft cloth. Then dry with a clean dry cloth. Any parts that are exposed when the window is open, should be wiped clean to remove any grime and dirt.


Avoid using any cleaning products that contain ammonia or are abrasive, especially on the handles and other metal parts.


Contact Birmingham Aluminium Systems

We hope this article has answered some of your questions on uPVC windows. Birmingham Aluminium Systems specialise in the manufacture, supply and installation of uPVC windows to the Midlands. If you are based in Birmingham, Solihull or Sutton Coldfield, or the surrounding areas and are interested in uPVC windows, please get in touch. Contact us on 0121 726 3201 today, or fill out our online enquiry form - we'd be happy to help!


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