Common Issues with uPVC doors, windows, hinges and locking mechanisms

By September 27, 2021 Locksmith Blog
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Everyone knows a uPVC door or window when they see one, but do you really know what it means? uPVC is the abbreviated term for plasticised polyvinyl chloride and when used in its original form is strong and rigid. uPVC is tough, maintenance-free and has a long-life span which makes it a popular choice for homes, however despite this, it does come with its problems, and we at Key Access Locksmith can provide some basic tips to help.

Despite its strength and resilience, uPVC is known to swell or shrink during extreme weather conditions, such as excessive heat or wet weather. Although this shouldn’t cause any permanent damage, the temporary problems it encounters can often leave frustration and concern.

Most commonly experienced by home owners is the expansion of uPVC in hot temperatures, uPVC is known to expand in heat at 40 Degrees Celsius by as much as 2.4cm!

The easiest resolution is to simply wait for the plastic to cool, thus returning the uPVC back into its original form, however, due to time constraints, this is also not always efficient. You could try spraying the uPVC with cold water or using a cold damp cloth to pat the uPVC down to try and cool the plastic quicker. If this doesn’t work, uPVC doors and windows come with easy to alter flag hinges that are provided to accommodate for heat expansion and allow adjustment as and when required. Bear in mind, however, that when the plastic returns to normal temperature it may require re-adjustment back to its original position. If you find this a reoccurring problem, it may be best consulting a specialist, and this is where Key Access Locksmith can help.

Another common issue that can be experienced is what we call a door having ‘dropped’. By ‘dropped’ it simply means when the door becomes difficult to lock or starts catching on its frame when closing. You may get the dreaded feeling that this means a new door, however in most cases it just needs re-adjusting.

A door can drop for a number of reasons but most commonly:

  • Due to the sheer weight of doors and windows especially those with glass or glazing, and the fact that they are supported on one side of the frame with hinges and no support on the other side (lock side), this becomes a heavy weight for the hinges to carry over a number of years, therefore can gradually drop over time.
  • Wear and Tear – we’ve all slammed a door in our time and understand that over the years, the sheer amount of opening, closing and even slamming will take a toll on the door or window and gradually they can drop.

As most doors and windows are fitted with flag hinges, this means they can be adjusted in any direction although ensure to check as some older doors or windows are fitted with fixed hinges, which means they can only be adjusted left to right and NOT up and down like flag hinges.

The first thing to do to see if your door or window has dropped, is by slowly closing it and see where the edge looks like it is touching the frame. Or sometimes the tell-tale sign is when the lock isn’t working as easily as normal or maybe not at all, or the door/window may rub on the bottom when closed. Once you can see this you can adjust the desired hinges either up, down, left or right. With a bit of adjustment this usually solves the issue.

If you continue to encounter issues with any of your doors or windows feel free to book in a no obligation call with your local specialist at Key Access Locksmith, servicing all areas in and around Manchester and Cheshire.