Topic: General Chatter
I have had a lot of customers get in touch with me lately who seem to be struggling to find uPVC window lock repairs in the West Midlands. It appears that most double glazing firms aren't interested in these smaller jobs and a lot of locksmiths shy away from uPVC window lock repairs.
I myself do not deal with replacement glass units for double glazed windows but I do undertake a lot of lock and hinge repairs, particularly seized and broken mechanisms which jam the window shut, the same way a upvc door mechanism fails, in the majority of cases the same central gearbox will break under forcing or through wear.
I think the reason a lot of locksmiths shy away form this type of window repair work is because it isn't something that is generally taught on locksmith courses and usually requires the locksmith or repairer to think outside of the box a little and improvise in some cases. Over the years I have taught myself to unjam and free up faulty window lock mechanisms and have a few custom made tools that allow me to spread the window and manipulate rollers without the need for removing glass and beading. I taught my friend at Alcatraz Locksmith Edinburgh how to make one and he loves it!
Once the window is unjammed you can unscrew and remove the locking strip from the window edge which is usually straightforward. If working above ground floor level it will require a little more care as not to drop parts or tools. I have always managed to do this from inside but please be careful leaning out of open windows, if uncertain get yourself up a ladder and familiarise youself with the positions of screws and how to disassemble the lock.
There are many types of window locks, the espag style being most likely in a uPVC window unit. This style incorporating a central square hole gear that operated a slider fixed with rollers, which in turn can also operate side mounted shootbolts and occassionally a central hook depending on the manufacturer. These can be in a one piece strip or three parts connected by crocodile teeth fittings. Depending on the lock and the part broken you could either end up replacing a complete strip or just a central gearbox section, again dependent on manufacturer.
Window hinges are another common job whereby a stiff window has been forced and bent the hinges or the hinges have worn preventing the window from closing properly or catching on the closing edge.
Very easy to replace on smaller windows however I would suggest an extra pair of hands with large windows or upper story windows as the weight of the unit can be misleading. I have had a few occassions where I have been unscrewing a hinge on a heavy window only to drop a screwdriver and have to sketchily jam the window back in its hole. A good tip is to keep a few screwdrivers and screws in your pocket!
Replacement is straightforward and the hinge fits snugly in the top corner of the frame, remember they are handed and sometimes you may need to replace the pair if they open at different rates/angles to the originals. Another good tip is to sure that the pointed top end of the hinge locates correctly in the attached plastic keep. If it doesn't you may have inverted the hinge on itself and the top corner of the window will not pull in if this is the case.
Don't talk yourself out of that next window repair job, get out there and add another string to your bow! £££