UPVC Double glazing – you get what you pay for
Think all UPVC double glazed windows and doors are the same as each other? Nothing could be further from the truth.
Like all things in life, there are widely varying standards in both quality and performance. You would not say that a Camry and a Rolls Royce were identical because they are both cars. Nor would you argue that the Australian Open course is the same as your local municipal because they are both golf courses.
It is no different with UPVC double glazing. The main comments we get are that European double glazed windows and doors may be better than their Chinese or American equivalents, and all European systems are the same. Even with European double glazed windows and doors the quality and standards or performance vary significantly.
There are important things to look out for and question when considering renovating your home with UPVC double glazed windows and doors:
- The UPVC external wall thickness gives strength to the window and door frame and determines the energy efficiency and traffic noise reduction. The thickness can be lower than 1mm in some cases, and some European systems vary from 1.5mm to 2.2mm. Look for an external wall thickness of at least 2.8mm and preferably nearer to 3mm to give the best performance.
- The multi-chambers in the UPVC frames provide the best energy efficiency and the biggest noise reduction. The numbers vary from 2 chambers to 8. With 2 to 5 chambers, this will make no difference to your current single glazed windows so you will waste your hard earned cash. Go for at least 6 to 8 chambers and you will enjoy noticeable improvements.
- Always ask for proof that the UPVC has been tested in Australia to prove suitability for the harsh Australian climate. Most European systems are unsuitable. Many claim they are, so demand the proof, as it can make the difference between your windows lasting 7 years as against 40 years plus. The real issue is the level of Titanium Dioxide in the UPVC profile itself. Titanium dioxide (TiO2) is a naturally occurring mineral used as a bright white pigment for paint, in the food industry as a coloring, in sunscreens and cosmetics, and in other industrial uses. With UPVC used for window and door frames, it needs to have a factor of 6 or greater, then it will withstand the higher levels of UV than is experienced in Europe. If the factor is less than 6, and most European UPVC has a factor of 2 or 3, then the UPVC will suffer UV degradation, it will discolour and become brittle.
- Check out the U-Value, the lower the number, the better. This is the best measure of how energy efficient the double glazing actually is. For example, the U-Value of a single glazed window is 10. The Australian Window Association say U-Values in Australia range from 2.0 to 10.0. UPVC systems vary from a U-Value of 1.0 to 10. Anything over 1.8 will not give you the benefits you deserve. Look for a U-Value as low as 1.0 to 1.4.
- Noise reduction will vary from 10% to 90%, so check the claims carefully. Ask for demonstrable proof. Check claims regarding acoustic glass very carefully. Look for customer comments and reviews.
- Check out the security in terms of how many locking points there are on the windows and doors. The burglary rates across Melbourne are rising fast. Windows should have at least 4 locking points, preferably more, and doors should have 6 locking points, again ideally more. All these locks should be engaged with one turn of the handle.
Ask the right questions and you will not be disappointed with one of the best investments you can ever make in your home.