UPVC framed windows have been around since the 1980s.  Over the years construction methods and overall quality has improved greatly and cost remains competitive.  In volume terms uPVC is the most regular install for window fitters in Norwich & Norfolk today.

uPVC Window Cost

A clue on the attractiveness of the uPVC window is in its production. uPVC is an easy to work with material.  As a result, this enables a highly streamlined manufacturing process and keep costs low.  Creating raw uPVC material (Unplasticised Poly Vinyl Chloride) also suits bulk processing.  Due to that, the making of a uPVC window begins life at lower raw cost versus other materials.

Once installed, the cost of ownership of a uPVC window is also low, the material is durable and needs very little maintenance other than the usual cleaning.

uPVC Window Style

uPVC as a manufacturing material is versatile and can produce a wide range of windows styles. For this reason uPVC windows are commonly made to replace older traditional style windows such as box-sash.  New window designs or variations on  the standard casement window, such as slide+tilt mechanisms or easy-clean hinged windows are also easily implemented in uPVC.

In colour terms uPVC is usually considered standard white but can also be made in multiple colours.  Colour is achieved by coating the plastic frames with a foil.  E.g.  woodgrain is a popular foil effect for wooden window replacements.

wood grain windows

The style downside of uPVC is that it is a plastic, so even with colour and effect masking, the look might not suit everyone.  uPVC also doesn’t suit stack-able window construction or thinner frames.  For that reason, if you’re looking for something ultra-modern or want maximum glass area, then consider Aluminium windows.

uPVC Window Material

uPVC windows contain steel or aluminium bars inside the frame to provide the necessary strength.  Windows made with uPVC are also highly durable offering low maintenance and longevity.

The downsides of uPVC material:

  • Not  easily recyclable due to mix of plastic and metal elements.
  • Some cheaper uPVC can warp over time or fade under strong sunlight and might not suit south facing locations.
  • Larger uPVC windows need additional reinforcement which can mean bulkier frames.

Look for a ten year guarantee on your uPVC window frames which cover them from discolouration and warpage.  At NC Windows, our window fitters in Norwich & Norfolk back all our uPVC windows with this guarantee.

uPVC Window Efficiency & Quality

uPVC windows achieved thermal performance via multi-chambered mouldings built into the frame’s inner profile.  Acoustic insulation is also improved in the same way via trapped air layers within the frame moulding.  uPVC frames coupled with a suitable glazing choice and tight installation can deliver up to 70% noise reduction and at high thermal efficiency.

In terms of window quality of construction, this varies with cost.  One of the main things is to look for is welded joints across the entire window.  This is because cheaper offerings substitute mechanical fixings in some places and aren’t as reliable.

Also look for good quality in the locks and hinges and ask if they are covered under the guarantee.  uPVC windows are not easy to repair, so this aspect is important and not so easy to know by eye.  When choosing your window system, insist on a minimum two year guarantee for all moving parts on the window.  In doing that you will be ensuring that a reasonable quality.

For industry quality standards look for uPVC windows certified to BS EN12608 and BS7412

uPVC Window Security

uPVC frames are very tough and difficult to penetrate by any intruder.  These frames can incorporate all industry standard locking systems.  The most frequently used locking system is called Espag.  Another popular type is the shoot-bolt system, which offers more resilience but at higher cost.  uPVC frames also support what’s known as an internal bead system, this means the glass is fitted from the inside and cannot be removed from the outside.

Other aspects such as night vent locking, hinge hooks and multi-points also assist.  Look for your window be PAS24 compliant, an industry recognised security standard.  You may see or hear marketing phrase for this such as “Secured by Design status”.

PAS24 Enhanced Security Performance

uPVC windows legally must meet fire performance building regulations by default.  uPVC as a window material is considered safe in that it doesn’t cause, sustain or encourage the spread of fire.  UPVC profiles can achieve Class 1 rating to BS476 and specifically formulated UPVC compositions do achieve a more stringent Class 0 rating.

In general it’s easy to see why the uPVC is the most popular material in use today, however there are some minor downsides as described above.   Also other materials such as Aluminium frames are advancing in technology and offering an improved proposition.  Our window fitters in Norwich & Norfolk meet all our clients face-to-face, so we can help you work out the best approach.