How to choose PVC windows: profile, double-glazed windows, fittings

Recommendation points

The topic of choosing plastic windows is covered in sufficient detail, but this industry is progressing very actively, which is why new technical solutions are periodically fixed on the market. We invite you to familiarize yourself with the updated recommendations for choosing PVC windows.

How to choose PVC windows

Plastic windows as an integrated technology

Learning to understand the intricacies of choosing PVC windows will be very difficult without understanding their structure and the features of various technical solutions. A plastic window cannot be considered as an independent element, it includes four basic components: frame profile, double-glazed window, fittings and installation technique. None of the components is of priority importance, all of them equally determine the durability, practicality of operation and the heat-saving properties of windows.

There are two main requirements for plastic profiles: the lowest possible thermal conductivity coefficient and maximum strength. To ensure high resistance to heat transfer, the profiles are divided into a large number of chambers, the overall thickness of the frame is increased, special sealing systems are used, in general, they impede the path of heat transfer in all ways. Mechanical strength is provided by the inclusion of steel elements in the profile, as well as by various variations in the thickness and location of the chamber partitions, which serve as stiffeners.

Glazing has always been the most vulnerable point in the thermal protection of buildings and has been the main pathway for street noise to enter a room. Modern double-glazed windows are devoid of many of these disadvantages due to the use of glass of various thicknesses, the formation of a large number of chambers between glass partitions and a special coating that prevents radiant heat from escaping through the window.

Double-glazed windows for plastic windows

The fittings of plastic windows provide comfortable control of the sashes, preservation of technological gaps during the entire service life, strict adherence to operating modes and resistance to burglary. This part of the windows is distinguished by the highest variety of proposals and serves as a guarantee of durability. The fittings include a system of hinges and awnings, as well as a clamping mechanism along the perimeter of the vestibule and locking the window.

Hardware for plastic windows

Finally, the importance of correct installation must not be forgotten. A window, even with outstanding heat-saving and sound-insulating characteristics, may be simply useless if installed incorrectly. When it comes to buying expensive and really high-quality plastic windows, you need to look for an installation contractor carefully and in advance, while coordinating your choice with the product supplier, subject to the availability of appropriate warranty conditions .

Modern systems of PVC profiles

It is believed that there is not much difference in which profile is used in the manufacture of windows. The main reason given is the fact that the total area of ​​the visible part of the frame is negligible compared to the area of ​​the glass unit, which means that heat loss through the plastic profile can be neglected. However, the frames of PVC windows perform a number of functions and heat protection is not the main one among them..

First of all, you need to figure out which classes of PVC profiles are offered by window sellers. The best option is class A, the plastic in them is primary, the thickness of the outer wall is at least 2.8 mm, the inner wall is from 2.5 mm. This profile is recommended for installation in residential premises and can be used in the manufacture of window units of almost all known configurations. The use of only primary plastic provides a number of advantages, such as: color retention, stability of physical and mechanical properties for a long time, no extrusion defects during production.

Production of plastic windows

Class B profiles have inner and outer walls from 2.5 mm and 2 mm, respectively. For their manufacture, it is allowed to use a mixture of a melt of primary and secondary plastic with the addition of modifying additives. Such windows are intended for technical objects; in residential construction, they are allowed to be used only for glazing balconies, loggias, terraces and unexploited attic spaces. There are also restrictions on the maximum sash size and window unit configuration..

Profiles that do not fall into any of the indicated categories due to insufficient wall thickness and poor quality of raw materials are assigned class C, sometimes this designation is replaced by the Object marking. Such frames are not intended for long-term operation, they are mainly used as temporary glazing in new buildings to close the thermal circuit, that is, the window frame is not designed to withstand operational loads..

PVC profile

As for the number of chambers or the presence of filling cavities with foamed insulation, there really is not much difference between profiles of different configurations. Of course, heat-saving and strength characteristics change with an increase in the total thermal resistance, but the differences are so insignificant that their role is important only in the construction of buildings with a zero or positive energy balance. We only note that the number of cameras strictly correlates with the profile width: from the classic 58 and 70 mm to 90 and even 128 mm. Such a variety expands the possibilities of choosing double-glazed windows, increases the maximum permissible dimensions of blocks, their resistance to wind, seasonal and operational loads.

When choosing a profile, it is also important to pay attention to not entirely obvious factors: how well the frame holds the geometry, whether there are internal stresses in the plastic formed during frame assembly, whether the strength of the profile corresponds to the operating conditions and the type of opening into which the window will be installed and how well the system of seals of the glass unit seat is thought over. All these aspects must be explained and argued by the seller of PVC windows in the process of preliminary approval of the order. Trust in the manufacturer of the profile is also important, however, you should not rely on the brand name appearing on the protective film: all high-quality modern profiles are laser-marked on the inside of the porch indicating the class, series, production date and, of course, the brand name.

PVC profile marking

How to choose a double-glazed window

What is much more important than the profile is the characteristics of the glass unit, which will be inserted into the frame. Here, the variety is extremely large and it is very easy for an uninformed buyer to get confused about which technical solutions really promise a benefit commensurate with the additional monetary investment, and which are just an advertising gimmick..

You should start with the main thing – heat-saving characteristics. The glazing of plastic windows can be represented by several layers of glass with gaps between them, the number of chambers can be up to four, that is, there will be five glasses in such a package. The more chambers, the higher the thermal resistance of the glass unit, however, with an increase in the total thickness and number of glass, the luminous flux entering the room and heating it during the day decreases, and the mass of the window also increases. It is impossible not to mention the technological complexity of the production of multi-chamber double-glazed windows: the more layers in the “sandwich”, the higher the probability that a mistake will be made during the gluing process..

Double-glazed window

However, in reality, the increase in the number of cameras is still justified. Firstly, the route of heat transfer through such a window is really very difficult; moreover, it becomes possible to use glasses of different thicknesses with giving each layer special properties. This has a positive effect on sound insulation, the ability of glass to heat up under the influence of thermal radiation from inside the premises; also, tempered glass or triplex can be used as outer layers, providing additional safety and anti-vandal properties..

Glass unit installation

From the category of purely marketing moves, one can give an example of filling chambers with argon. Yes, this gas has a significantly lower thermal conductivity than air, and yet the decrease in the heat transfer coefficient is not so significant as a result and is only noticeable with a large glazing area. What is really important is the quality of the glass unit assembly, the strength of the spacers, the presence and “freshness” of silica gel, which dries the air in the chambers. Also, one should not expect colossal benefits from heat-saving coatings or a special patented brand of glass, but the presence of tinting can be useful: both for reasons of reducing backward visibility, and purely for aesthetic wishes, including the requirement to fit into the overall style of the building facade.

Fittings and sealing elements

The plastic profile and glass unit are practically not subject to aging and loss of properties, except if we are talking about products of frankly low quality. But what, then, is the reason for the loss of tightness of the opening doors, jamming and distortions? The answer is simple: the problem lies in the fittings, that is, in those mechanisms that are responsible for a snug fit along the entire contour of the vestibule, supporting the sash in the open and closed positions, as well as maintaining smooth movement and the possibility of adjustment.

Checking window fittings

The general law is this: if windows are purchased with the expectation of many years of operation, the fittings must be installed of high quality and with an expanded set of functions. The problem of choosing fittings is that the market is flooded with many of its varieties, moreover, products are supplied by more than one dozen manufacturers. When completing PVC windows, a prerequisite is the ability to hold the fittings in your hands, evaluate the quality of steel, stamping and processing, make sure there are no backlashes.

All fittings are divided into three groups:

Looped.The most popular are systems with vertical placement of suspension points, but there are also middle-suspended ones, the loops of which are located on a horizontal line. For PVC windows, hinges are the most standardized elements of fittings, it is quite difficult to make a mistake when choosing, it is only important not to purchase products of the lower price category. There are swivel, folding and combined types of fittings. The latter are highly recommended for purchase, it is also desirable to have a mode of contour micro-ventilation.

Hinges of plastic windows

Locking.Elements of this group are located in the technological groove along the three ends of the opening sash. When choosing locking elements, you need to be especially careful, because it is these parts of the mechanism that most often fail. It is recommended to purchase burglar-proof locks with mushroom pins and special strikers, which prevents vandal sash release. The handle can have a lock with an English cylinder, a pivot opening safety device to ensure child safety, or a lock button that prevents the mechanism from turning through a hole in the frame. The guides must have damping pads that reduce friction; it is mandatory to install a microlift to support the sash in the closed state. But much more important than all other conditions is the general quality factor and reliability of the product..

PVC window shut-off valves

Sealing.This group includes rubber-polymer tapes, which are located in a technological groove along the entire contour of the vestibule in two lines. The most preferred option is pile silicone seals, which are characterized by the longest service life. A more budgetary, but also a good option – a profile tape made of rubber rubber, which retains its shape and ductility for at least 5-7 years even in severe operating conditions.

Installation of a sealing rubber on a plastic window

When choosing accessories for plastic windows, it is imperative to ask the seller in detail about the mechanism and the principle of operation of each element, pay attention to the absence of backlash in the hinge joints, and evaluate the overall quality of performance. It is advisable that a guarantee is given for the hardware elements or the window in the complex, this will allow you to contact the manufacturer with a complaint if a malfunction is found. In no case should you buy the cheapest fittings or products that do not have the manufacturer’s stamp..

Features of installation of plastic windows

The final, but most important component of PVC windows as a technology is their correct installation. There is no problem for the installation to be carried out exactly according to the technology, because the manufacturers of profiles and fittings regularly conduct training courses and seminars for representatives of the distribution sector. There are two options that guarantee correct installation: order the installation from the seller of windows within the general warranty package, or find a contractor yourself and personally control the entire process.

In both cases, a prerequisite is to find out in as much detail as possible from the installer what nuances of the process of replacing or installing windows they observe. First of all, you need to ask what standards the contractor relies on in his work. For reference – the rules for installing PVC windows are regulated by:

  1. GOST 30971–2012, which describes the requirements for the preparation of the opening and the formation of junction nodes.
  2. GOST 52749-2007, regulating the order of assembly, installation of the window unit and the execution of assembly seams.

Installation of a plastic window

It is important to follow the correct sequence and follow the hidden aspects of the installation. When installing PVC windows, the initial stage is the preparation of the opening with the formation of four flat planes, dust-free and primed. The preliminary installation of the window is carried out on the support pads, alignment is performed relative to the inner plane of the wall. Next, the window frame is prepared accordingly: the protective film is necessarily removed from the outside, the PSUL and two sealing tapes are glued along the contour with the formation of technological folds in the corners. The installation of the window is carried out as quickly as possible before the expansion of the PSUL, fastening on the sides and at the top is carried out through mounting on frame anchors, in the lower part – using reinforced anchor plates. At the end of the installation, a foam seam is formed with the obligatory overlap of the supporting pads, the sealing tape is glued to the edges of the opening, the window sill is installed and the slopes are finished.

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