Monday, 24 May 2010

Cleaning uPVC Windows

There are various opinions about the best way to clean uPVC windows. It is hard to know for certain what the best way to clean uPVC is. The best advice is NOT to use scouring pads. Abrasive cleaners will scratch the uPVC. Unlike wood it is not a simple matter to sand down a scratch and reapply a varnish. A series of scratches on uPVC is difficult to repair.

For this reason a soft cloth or a baby wipe is recommended to use for cleaning uPVC.

The main question is what type of cleaning product to use. One source of good information is the supplier of the uPVC window. They will normally be able to recommend a suitable cleaning product.

Washing up liquid with water is one commonly used cleaning product. Another traditional cleaning method is to use a mixture of vinegar and water to clean the uPVC.

Other cleaning products that are recommended by housewives are Jif, Astonish, Flash Mark and Stain Eraser. This link has a good list of reviews of uPVC cleaning products.

Finally, there is a very good chance one of your neighbours has uPVC windows. Ask them what they use.

Reminder - This post is about cleaning the uPVC frame AND NOT THE WINDOW

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Saving Money With uPVC Windows

To install uPVC windows is not easy. You can do it yourself if you are an experienced do-it-yourselfer, but for the average home owner it is a task too difficult to attempt. Often when you purchase uPVC windows the dealer will offer an installation service as part of the price.

Typically a 6 sided uPVC bay window with top opening window can cost you $2,000. For $7,000 you can buy and get installed 10 uPVC windows and 2 doors. Obviously the bigger your purchase the greater the discount you can get on individual items and the cost of installation.

This may seem like a lot of money. But you must consider the money you will save.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Security of uPVC Windows

There is no doubt that uPVC windows are more secure than timber frame windows. Timber has a habit of rotting over a period of time making the wood easy to break or manipulate. As a timber window frame weakens the more it compromises the security of your house. While you are away for the weekend or on your summer holidays a burglar or a housebreaker can sneak into your garden and use a pry bar to gain entry to your house via your timber frame windows.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

What is uPVC?

uPVC is the acronym for the chemical formula unplasticised Poly Vinyl Chloride. In the United States it is often referred to simply as 'vinyl' or 'rigid vinyl'. uPVC is a plastic. Like all plastics it is made from petroleum.

uPVC has been around for more than 50 years and because of its strength and durability has become a popular material for certain aspects of construction work. uPVC is not strong enough to support load bearing walls but it is very suitable as a material for making window frames. In the USA and the UK it has become the material of choice for developers because it is easy to work with and it is cheap.

Timber looks great but there are a number of draw backs with using timber in construction:
  • Timber obviously comes from chopping down trees. Even if the timber is from managed forests the tree serves more use to people left standing and being part of an eco-system that provides habitat, absorbs CO2 and gives out O2. In today's environmentally sensitive climate, trees are gaining in intrinsic value and it is only a matter of time before scarcity makes the price of timber so high that it is not practical to use as a material in construction projects.
  • Timber is not ideal for window frames because it needs to be repaired and painted every two years or so. Hot weather dries out the wood and makes it crack. Wet and humid weather makes the wood swell.
  • As a result, a timber frame is 'alive' in the sense that it is subject to fluctuations in size. This places a strain on the glass it holds in place.
  • Timber window frames are less secure than uPVC window frames. 
In contrast, uPVC windows need very little maintenance. They don't shrink and expand in extreme weather conditions. They are easy to install and very easy to clean. For people living in cold climates, uPVC double or triple glazing can reduce annual energy bills by as much as 20%.

The average life expectancy of a uPVC window is between 25 and 30 years.

For these reasons uPVC windows have become an industry standard in several parts of the world. uPVC windows and uPVC in particular is not without its detractors. In the following blog posts I will look further at some of the key issues surrounding the controversy of using uPVC as a construction material.