Your home provides a unique canvas on which to paint your own particular style. Therefore, the type of windows and doors you choose to install is very important. Your top priorities will be value for money, safety, efficiency, and aesthetics, but your windows and doors should also be indicative of your personality. They help shape the narrative, not just of your home, but of you and your family. That's why uPVC windows and doors have become particularly popular in homes around the UK. Thousands of Brackenwood’s customers have turned to uPVC windows and doors to help tell their stories in a durable, secure way. With flexibility in design, Brackenwood windows and doors are incredibly easy to manage, maintaining their aesthetics for many, many years. With quality fixtures and finishes, too, it is little wonder that they are one of our most popular choices.
So, What Is uPVC?uPVC (unplasticised Polyvinyl Chloride) windows and doors are low-maintenance and easy to clean. They are tough and durable, and thanks to Brackenwood’s multi-point locking system, they are safe. Sometimes known as PVCu, this type of material is known to be a strong, low-maintenance, and lightweight building material. It is an exceptional substitute for wooden frames. You may also see the material used in drain pipes, as well as other building materials to replace cast iron originals. More economical than wooden frames, the benefits of uPVC frames mean that this type of material is very popular. The sustainability and low maintenance of this building material ensure its continued success.
A History of uPVCPVC, or Polyvinyl Chloride was first constructed in 1872, made from a chemical compound of chlorine, carbon, and hydrogen. These components originate from the naturally occurring raw materials of petroleum and natural gas, as well as from common salt. Since its discovery, over 40 million tonnes of it has been made on average, each year. It comes in two forms - rigid (also known as RPVC) and flexible. The rigid form typically comes in pipes used for plumbing, for example. The flexible form emerges when PVC is mixed with plasticisers. It comes in the shape of your water bottle, imitation leather, cables, and so much more. The ‘u’ in ‘uPVC’ stands for unplasticised (although some call it ‘unmodified’. This means that the material has not been softened by the addition of chemicals known as "plasticisers". When it is unplasticised, it becomes uPVC - typically used today for windows and doors - the very same uPVC that thousands of Brackenwood customers love so much. Created for the first time in 1935, the benefits of uPVC windows and doors were realised very quickly, and this material has been produced heavily in the last 50 years to satisfy homeowners across the UK. This type of material remains a favourite of homeowners for its durability. The first commercially available windows made with uPVC frames were installed in a home in Germany in 1959. The most remarkable thing, is that some windows originally installed in the late 1950's/ early 1960's are still in use in many homes, today.
How Is It Made?The technology for making uPVC has advanced greatly since those early days, however. More advanced technology is utilised, including more established ingredients like stabilisers that make uPVC products more durable to the elements (whether wet, windy, sunny, or otherwise). Therefore, they are considered widely to be great value for money, as they conform to building regulation standards for an incredibly long period of time; ensuring energy efficiency in all types of homes. uPVC has been developed into a material that offers a wide range of properties. The process starts with sodium chloride (common salt), from which chlorine gas is obtained by electrolysis. Petroleum or natural gas is used to produce ethylene, one of many products of the process known as ‘cracking’. Bringing together chlorine, ethylene, and liquid vinyl chloride, the resulting product is uPVC. To make the material suitable for use as a window, a number of different modern additives and stabilisers are used in the manufacturing process. Special heat and UV stabilisers are added. These are an essential part of any uPVC formulations; particularly for windows and even doors with panes of glass inside. Since windows are exposed to the elements, including wind, rain, and UV light, some superficial changes can occur. With uPVC, there is typically no loss of impact strength or structural integrity, even after many years of use. The colour would also remain white, for example.
The Benefits of uPVC Windows and DoorsHere are some of the benefits of uPVC windows and doors:
- Weather Resistant
- Low Maintenance
Why Are uPVC Windows and Doors So Popular?The benefits of uPVC windows and doors for homeowners are innumerable. Whilst recycling uPVC is not possible, the longevity of life, the sustainability, and durability of this type of material makes it an economical solution that is built to last. uPVC windows and doors are very popular thanks to their low-maintenance aspect. They are incredibly versatile, able to be designed just for your home in the colour you choose. uPVC windows and doors also work particularly well for double-glazing - the most highly-recommended and sought-after glazing solution.
How to Clean Your uPVC Windows and DoorsThe benefits of uPVC windows and doors mean that very little maintenance is involved. However, you may wish to step outside to clean your windows and doors from time-to-time. Here are some steps you can follow to keep them looking their best:
- Remove any loose dirt or debris from the window or door using a soft brush or dry cloth. You can also carefully remove any indoor dirt by using your vacuum cleaner.
- Create a cleaning solution by mixing a small amount of mild detergent or uPVC cleaner with warm water. Dish washing liquid works very well in this instance.
- Using a soft cloth or sponge, gently clean the window or door frame, as well as any hardware. Be careful not to scrub too hard, and do not use any cloth or sponge with an abrasive surface (like a scouring pad), as this could scratch the surface of your uPVC.
- Rinse the window or door thoroughly with clean water to remove any soapy residue.
- Use a scraper designed for cleaning windows to remove any excess water from the glass. Maybe have a go at removing it the way some of these window cleaners do!
- Once this is done, dry the window or door with a soft cloth or towel to prevent water spots from forming.
Extra AdviceFor stubborn stains, you can use a non-abrasive cleaner or uPVC solvent. Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully and always test the cleaner first. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners, such as bleach, ammonia, or scouring pads, as these can damage the uPVC surface. Regular cleaning can help prevent dirt and grime buildup, and it will keep your uPVC windows and doors looking like new for years to come. Aim to clean them at least once a year, or more often if they are exposed to harsh weather conditions or heavy use.
Brackenwood Windows and DoorsThe benefits of Brackenwood’s modern UPVC windows also include the availability of installations in a wide range of styles, including;
- Casement windows
- Tilt and turn windows
- Heritage windows
- Bay and bow windows
- Bespoke windows