D.I.Y. DOUBLE GLAZING, SAVE A FORTUNE!

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To many people the thought of buying a door or window on e Bay to fit into their own home would possibly be expelled due to the fear of having to fit it!. Having fitted double glazing for over 30 years I can assure you that there is no mystery surrounding the process of renewing your old draughty and rotten doors and windows whether it be with the latest Upvc materials, or sturdy aluminium. Hardwood products have had bad press over the last few years because of the rain forest issues but of course any amount of doors and windows can still be purchased from manufacturers who claim that the timber they use comes from sustainable sources.However, you will find all sorts of doors and windows and their ancillary products on eBay, some new and some pre used but nearly always at bargain prices and available NOW!

 Your first step as keen self installer comes with being able to read a tape measure accurately and writing down either in metric (the trade standard) or imperial,--or both, your window or door size's for instance your property is of a face brick build. Simply measure between the brickwork of the opening for the width, then from the top of your existing frame or head drip to the underside of the cill if there is one. You will have to allow a few millimetres of play for your newly purchased door or window to fit comfortably, so reduce your measurements, by say 10mm for height and width. If your property is of the rendered or pebble-dashed or cladding faced type then you will ideally have to chip away some of the material, or ease away the cladding to find the outer edge of your frame.I shall not go into the methods for measuring bay windows here as they are somewhat more complicated but not impossible providing you can give your manufacturer the dimensions he requires for an accurate made to measure bay or bow window.

 The second step is to source your replacement door or window after you have decided what material you would like it to be made of. Upvc is undoubtedly the most popular nowadays because of its durability and ease of maintenance. Aluminium is also still very popular because of its strength and the possibility that it can be fitted into the existing outer timber frame of an existing door or window. You may be able to source what you want from local manufacturers or installation companies who could have a number of mismeasured  or ex showroom items for sale, or sometimes from adverts in local newspapers, but by far the easier method is to browse the massive selection here on eBay like you are doing now. My advice would be to read the description carefully, especially the overall sizes and if a door, which side the hinges are on and if it was designed to open outwards or inwards if this is of importance to you. Does it come with a cill supplied and does the overall height include this? Window design, type of glass, obscure or clear, thickness of sealed units etc. may all be of importance to you so don't be afraid to ask the seller a question if he has not displayed this information. A sealed unit can be replaced if it has broken down and has condensation inside it, but the seller should state this if he is aware, but sometimes it is not always obvious. A new s/u for a patio door could cost anything either side of £100.00 for instance, so be cautious. When you feel happy that what you have found is the item for you, then bid away and good luck, and lets hope you win it for a good price!

 So, now you are the new proud owner of  a new or pre owned (second hand ) window or door, but what next? Here comes the fun part. Hopefully the item you have bought with your hard earned will fit a treat and without making too much local damage to your plasterwork or exterior brickwork. Rendering can of course be reinstated, but with care and attention and a methodical and calm workmanlike persona you will I am confident create a masterpiece that will be the envy of your neighbours, family and friends. Just for good luck though, remeasure and measure again carefully before you remove your old window or door to double check that it will fit!

Right, first job, clear the work area of all obstacles,  i.e. furniture, TVs, beds, flower pots, computers, grannies and small children and pets.What you cannot shift then protect with dust sheets, cardboard or bits of old carpet. Lay dust sheets on your carpet but better not on a slippery tiled surface, use cardboard or hardboard or leave uncovered.Gather your tools around you for the removal process. You will need a hammer, a crowbar of reasonable size, and an old saw or bow saw or if you are posh, an electric reciprocating saw and perhaps a masonry bolster and/ or old chisel and oh yes a decent pair of work gloves and protective goggles.Obviously I do not know what your old window looks like, but chances are it will have hinged openers and fixed puttied in glass. You will have to either unscrew the sashes or crowbar them off, then remove the fixed glass VERY CAREFULLY! Please take your time! Have an old bucket or bin ready to take any broken glass and clear up with brush and dustpan as soon as possible straight after this procedure. Cut out any transoms or mullions next until you are left with the bare outer frame.If your old frame is the original one that was installed when your house was built then chances are that it will have fixings behind it that are not accessible, so you will have to saw through the sides of the frame first, then a handy hint to help save your plasterwork, firmly tap the inside of the frame with your hammer to release any bonding/adhesion that may have occurred twixt frame and plaster or tiles.--It works and could save you from the tedious task of re plastering or having to replace tiles that you may not have any replacements for! I always try to do any window frame removal from inside if it is above ground floor level for safety's sake.Working off a scaffold is safe enough but ladder work and wielding crow bars and hammers can be a tad dangerous if you know what I mean? The next step is to tap the curved end of your crow bar between frame and brickwork and as an added caution place a piece of old flat wood or metal (like an old saw blade) to lever on between bar and brick for protection and damage limitation. Go for it! lever away, but don't get carried away and fall out of the window.!!! You may have to cut through the 'head' of the frame next as you may notice that its 'horns' probably go into the brickwork either side and cutting the head in half will make removal much easier, The same applies to the cill if it has horns, but you may be able to chip out the mortar above it and gently tap out the whole section complete if lucky. Remember, that a little more extra time and care spent at this stage will hopefully reduce any major making good later on.

 Right, what you have now is a nice great big hole in your wall that has been cleaned up and all debris removed away from the work area. Next job,--have a cup of tea and a sit down and a think! Does your new window or door have a loose cill with it? If yes, then cut to size and super glue end caps on taking care not stick your thumbs or nose to the upvc. Loose fit the cill and if correct remove and apply a couple of lines of 'low modulus' mastic applied with a mastic gun of course, (a bit messy otherwise). Incidentally, all the fixings and glues and mastic's and trims,cleaners, etc can be obtained via eBay or your local D.I.Y. store.  Basically the next steps depend on what you have bought and if you have a fitters mate-- or wife or husband assisting you. Is the window or door pre-glazed or unglazed and manageable? Either way, you may find it easier the first time to get hold of an assistant. Offer your item up into the hole and onto the cill if one has been fitted. Let us assume at this point that-- thank heavens-- it fits like a glove,. As I usually fit alone, I would deglaze firstly before attempting this first step, then either wedge or use clamps to hold frame into position by bracing it from the inside of the plaster reveal if poss. You will need a spirit level to check that your verticals and horizontals are 'as near as' , but if your bungalow or whatever is on the tilt then this ideal of perfection can sometimes be near impossible to achieve. Sometimes, if there is a gap between frame and brick I will use builders expanding foam with application gun at this stage because it is a good opportunity to have another cuppa whilst it 'goes off' or hardens, and it is also a jolly good fixative!  I know that some professional fitters use foam alone to fix their products, but I personally prefer the belt and braces alternative. Fixing bolts come in various forms and everyone may have their own favourites. My own preference is of the semi-self tapping masonry screw that has a cutting thread on it, say 6mm, and is driven through frame and into masonry after having drilled a pilot hole with a masonry bit of the same diameter. You drill through the sides of your frame and into the brickwork in one movement, then simply screw in the fixing of your choice at APR. 400mm spacings or closer if you wish. If you are fitting a wide window or double or Patio doors, you can also fix likewise in both head and cill if need be, and recommended for added robustness.

We are nearly there! If you have lost the will to live at this point then I do apologise. We have come a long way and by trying to condense the basics of double glazing fitting into what I hope will be of some use to you but in the shortest way I can think of, is not ideal granted, but may boost your own confidence in fulfilling your home project, --I do hope so.! ----So all that remains is to stick on your trims, glaze up your openings, make good your mortar and plaster and apply your mastic around the edges,-- neatly if possible, and clean your newly installed edifice of wonderment and stand back and pat yourself on the back for a job well done! Sorry I cant help you with trimming and mastic-ing but as I say, I have been at this lark for over 30 years and some things need to be practiced before you perfect them. So the second time you fit then you will be better at it, and the third time,--better still and so on! Good luck to you, and if the above has been of any use to you then please tick the box below. Happy fitting!

 

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