When measuring frames prior to manufacturing, write each measurement down immediately, don’t be tempted to remember 2 or 3 measurements! Once PVC-U frames have been made that’s the only size they will fit, make sure it’s the right one!!!
The best way to cut old frames out is:
a. Remove the openers first;
b. All the remaining glass;
c. Cut through the frame at a 45-degree angle;
d. Pry the sides away from the wall;
e. Cut through centre of the cill;
f. Cut through the centre of the head (but be aware of any lead work). The frame should come out easily after that.
Don’t over tighten fixings as PVC-U windows expand and contract with the different seasons and changing temperatures.
There will be gaps! You will be very lucky if your new window fits as snugly in the opening as the old one did. To cover these gaps PVC trims are produced. Ask one of our staff for details on what is available.
Please see below for how to glaze PVC-U doors correctly.
No, we don't mean the car racing practice of having your right foot on the brake and throttle at the same time, or tap dancing either! What is Toeing and Heeling, and why do it anyway?
PVC-U doors are heavy, and although the dead weight is supported on the hinge side when it is opened, there is nothing on the lock side to support the weight, and without the procedure of toeing and heeling the door will 'drop' on the handle side, sooner or later. To stop a door dropping the glass itself has to be braced diagonally corner to corner by the insertion of plastic packers slipped in the gap between the glass and frame, under the beading. On the hinge side the packers go at the bottom corner, whilst on the lock side, the packers go at the top (opposite) corner - get it?
Example of a dropped door
BUILDING A CONSERVATORY
1. The site of the proposed conservatory
2. Foundations are dug and concrete is poured into the trench to form the foundations.
3. The inner leaf of the cavity wall is built up to floor level.
4. Hardcore is then laid and compacted. A blinding screed of sand is laid over the hardcore to prevent sharp stone from puncturing the damp proof membrane, which is placed over the sand and lapped onto the inner leaf of the brickwork.
5. Concrete is laid to bring up the slab up to the finished floor level. The concrete is then floated to a smooth surface, suitable for tiling or carpet.
6. The outer leaf of the wall is built, in this example artificial stone is used to match the house.
7. The inner leaf of the cavity wall is built to complete the basework. The same material as the outer leaf has been used to provide a feature stone finish.
8. Soon after completion of the base the fitters are ready for installation.
9. After the PVCu external cill has been fitted, the wall and side frame eretction begins. On completion of the frames the structural aluminium eaves beam is fitted to the top of the frame.
10. The PVCu thermally clad aluminium glazing bars and ridge system are quickly assembled.
11. The roof glazing panels are then installed and the side frames are glazed after the roof is complete.
12. The complete conservatory.
Remember that fitting PVC-U is completely different to fitting wooden frames, and even an expert chippy would find that his experience and intuition would not apply to PVC-U, because unlike wood, plastic frames must be fitted to allow them to expand. Try to familiarise yourself with all the names and descriptions of parts, where they go, what they do, and why, and try to gain a complete overview of all aspects, as if you were 'in the game'.
The best way to cut old frames out is to remove the openers first, then cut through the old frame sides at a 45-degree angle, pry the sides away from the wall, and then the top and bottom of the frame should come out easily after that.
The best way is to 'push forward' along the line you want to seal, rather than feeding the sealant in by pulling away from the gap, and straight cut the nozzle to the required size, and not at an angle as is often suggested. Practice on a couple of pieces of something held at 45 degrees to each other beforehand, and also hold the gun at 45 degrees to get the hang of it.
Don't over tighten fixings, just 'nip them up', as PVC-U windows need to be able to move, and expand and contract with the different seasons and changing temperatures.
Recommended for drilling fixing holes through the frames and into masonry is an 8mm masonry bit, and more preferably you should really obtain an 'SDS' power drill if at all possible. Such a drill will prove a godsend for all diy masonry drilling and a good quality one can be purchased for under £100 from Screwfix or tools direct, both online, and this should prove a very good investment for anyone serious at diy.
Most systems suppliers (that is the extrusion company who supply their fabricators) specify that no fixing should be closer than 6" or 150mm of a weld, and that fixing centres should be no more that 2' or 600mm apart.
Horns. That is:
The extended part of the exterior cill which often goes further across the width outdoors that the window itself. It is best if the exterior cill extends some 50mm more at each end of the window itself, it is aesthetically nicer, and also serves the purpose of ensuring less dampness might otherwise penetrate indoors.
Never rest glass sealed units on edge on concrete, as they are very likely to 'shell' and then crack as you handle or fit them.
If your windows use a method of glazing that requires a 'wedge gasket' indoors, then it is most important not to cut the gasket too short as you are fitting it in place, which is all too easy to do. Cut it by an inch too long if you can, start at each end, and then ease it in to its location in loops. Get your supplier to demonstrate how to fit the wedge gasket because it may be second nature to a regular fitter, it is an odd thing to get the knack of the first time.
Do not run a sealant line outside along the gap between cill and frame; this should be left bare for the concealed drainage to work.
"Toe and heeling" across the glass or panel, ask supplier to demonstrate the correct way to do this. To explain, imagine a side gate that would drop if it was not braced, think about it. See our separate "special article" on this by clicking here.
Make sure you feel comfortable at heights on the ladder and that you rest the feet of the ladder on a good and level surface, and out at a sufficient angle so that if you lean backwards at the top the ladder will not fall away. It is always safer if you have someone with a foot on the bottom rung, making certain that it is secure at the bottom for your safety, or you could be at risk of injury.
In conclusion: Is DIY for me - and is it really worth it?
* Be in control of the quality of the installation
* Be able to do more windows on your budget
* Maybe get lead lights that you could not otherwise afford
* The satisfaction of saying "I did it all myself"
* Bond with your home, it's your family castle
* Make it fun, gain the admiration of your partner and friends/neighbours
* You will need all the right tools if you have not already got them
* Problems arising from waste disposal
* The guarantee may not be as good as if you had it all done for you
* There is a learning curve, make sure you have done all of your homework, read that line again. You will also most probably lose some leisure time with your friends and family by having a go, but then again no pain - no gain