Thursday, 8 August 2013

How to buy uPVC Door/Window in India ?

For most people the word " windows" bring the image of the computers windows rather than the image of the house window. In our contemporary world where progress enters our everyday life so fast that we sometimes don't even notice it, "regular" windows have also undergone significant changes and one can probably say that ordinary windows have managed to become extra-ordinary.

There is surely one connection between user of the computer operating system windows and homeowners. Without basic knowledge of how things work it is not going to be easy to maintain both the windows system and house windows. That's why it is important to be aware of certain elements.

If you are buying a new home, be prepared that your builder or, contractor might not do his best in installing the windows and doors even if on the superficial level everything looks nice. I had a chance to see some new homes where the owners had to deal with the window & door problems.

Probably one may ask, " what is so special about windows ? There is just a frame and glass". Well, both the frame and glass of a modern window differ drastically from the earlier one.

Today there are more than 200 upvc windows & doors manufacturers in India & as per market growth, you will be amazed to know that in next 10 years, it is going to be more than a customer, options are unlimited for us. But still million dollar question is Which one is better ? Should I go with India Manufactured or, should I go with German Manufactured or, What is the cost of upvc windows ? or, How do I get best deal out of my hard earned money......; so here are few points which will definitely help you to get a better deal -

REMEMBER "Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort." - John Ruskin

1. BUY WINDOWS WITH WRITTEN SPECIFICATIONS- It is one of the most important factors while making decision to buy high quality doors & windows in India which is going to affect you & your family for next 15-20 years. In my own experience which is reinforcing same thought day-by-day , most of the time advertisements corrupts our need-based decision making & we fill our world buy things we do not need, instead of things we actual needs. So it is important to buy doors & windows with written specifications rather than buy heavily advertised No. 1 or, best Brand worldwide. One more thing I would like to mention doors & windows are manufactured worldwide as per International Standards as Britain has BS norms(EN 12608 ), Germany has DIN norms, America has ASTM norms even country like china is following EN standards(GB/T 8814-2004 is same as EN Norms) but in India still there is a long way to have standards for Doors & Windows, so in India if you are no.1 it does not mean you are following high quality standards. Trust my experience in Building industry, there is no safety norms followed while designing uPVC doors &windows in India. So once again BUY WRITTEN SPECIFICATIONS RATHER THAN BUY SELF PROCLAIMED EXPERTS BRAND.

TRUST this if you get it in written, then Half the battle is won...

Normally Sales People will not understand your concern as rightly said by Upton Sinclair ," It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job & entire salary depends on not understanding it."

  • UPVC Profile specification : Which company profile he is using? (German/Turkish/Chinese/Indian) 
  • Steel Reinforcement type : What type of reinforcement he is using ? (Galvanized steel & its thickness ) 
  • Fittings: What type of fittings or, hardware he is using ? (German/Turkish/Chinese/Indian ) 
  • Glass: What make Glass he is using ? (AIS or, Saint Gobain or, Others ) 
  • Warranty- What kind of warranty for after sales service is he providing ? (Is he providing only on upvc profile or, also on fittings )-ASK MIN. 10 YEARS WARRANTY ON PROFILE AS WELL AS ON FITTINGS FROM MANUFACTURER... 

2. UPVC PROFILE - Every one talks about benefits of upvc doors & windows, no doubt upvc is best material to be used in place of wood, aluminum & steel but it has one disadvantage i.e. limited tensile strength, that’s why it has steel reinforcement inside all upvc profiles.

Worldwide standards( EN 12608 accepted in Germany, Europe, China & Britain) have been made to use regarding uPVC profile as below mentioned-

  • Outer Wall Thickness- As shown in picture uPVC profile is having outer wall thickness "A" means its outer wall thickness is more than 2.8mm . If it is "B" than outer wall thickness is more than 2.5 mm. If it is C than it is less than 2.5 mm. 

  • Impact Test- As shown in picture uPVC profile is having class "II" Impact Test -Class II is better than Class I as Impact test is for 1.5 meter height & Class I is for 1 meter height. (Please check specially in Indian Profile as they match outer wall thickness of International players but Impact test is important which will confirm their Material mix )

  • Weather Test- As mentioned in the below picture it is " S "i.e. for Severe weather , it can also be " M" that means for Moderate weather which is not suitable for Indian condition ( Please check specifically uPVC Profile from Germany as Germany has Cold climate & Moderate weather profile can turn yellowish due to sunlight exposure) 

Please check profile marking as per EN 12608 guidelines.( check below mentioned picture )

3. STRUCTURALLY STABLE OR, SAFE DESIGNED DOORS & WINDOWS- This is another one of the important factors while choosing high quality doors & windows. As discussed earlier uPVC Profile has limited tensile strength so it is important to ask the uPVC windows & doors manufacturer about maximum deflection allowed when exposed to wind speed as per your city. (Please note as per DIN standards, it should not be more than 8 mm i.e. DIN 1055 part-4 & DIN 18056).(I know it would be bit technical but it is some thing like your car, How much maximum safe speed you can attain with-out vibrations ). It will cover the point of inside steel reinforcement's thickness as well as shape as reinforcement gives required tensile strength to uPVC windows & doors system.

4. FITTINGS CHOICE – One of the major differentiating factor in upvc windows & doors in comparison to wooden and aluminum counter parts-i.e. wider range in fittings. We can choose multi point locking to single point locking –no more locking the door with 3 different locking mechanisms. ( I remember when I visited a customer’s Home & lady was pregnant & she has to bend to lock the door from the bottom, it was dangerous way to live life when we have wonderful product like uPVC doors &windows –Please check picture )


3 Different Locking points in wooden doors                     

Also Functioning of windows & doors depends on good fittings. Three types of fittings are available in the market. German, Turkish & Chinese. Go with German fittings if you want peace of mind for min. 10 years.Ask your vendor about weight of sash as in uPVC doors & windows each high quality fittings comes in according to sash weight. E.g. Hinges for Doors are available from 50 kg. To 180 kg. . If your supplier is not calculating or, mentioning sash weight on its proposal then most likely you will have trouble while functioning of doors &windows.

5. GLASS: - Glass itself is one of the important factors in window & door. One need to do self analysis while choosing glass( I will address Glass in a separate article )-

Written Specifications will answer below mentioned queries-

  • Where do I need safety? 
  • What are my security requirements? 
  • Do I need to control noise? 
  • How my building look like aesthetically? 
  • External & Internal Reflection? 
  • Can I make my residential/commercial project more green efficient as well as minimize negative impact on environment? 
  • How can I control solar heat in tropical country like India? 
  • Availability for service in case of breakage? 
  • U-value & UV radiation? 

6.SEARCH FOR LOCAL FABRICATOR- Try to search for local supplier for high quality windows & doors. (Remember your old carpenter & old Doctor- I know; you can not leave your Home & Body to be in vulnerable condition). It is easy to contact local guy as he is always there for broken glass or changing the handle. BUT TRY TO GET LOCAL FABRICATOR BY UPVC PROFILE MANUFACTURER CERTIFIED !


7. SITE CONDITIONS & INSTALLATION STANDARDS– It is the most important factor which lies in our hands. Most of the time we make same mistake as rightly said AL-GORE (Ex. vice president of United States & Presenter for An Inconvenient Truth of a documentary film about climate change, specifically global warming and a future ice age in Northern Europe)- “ Old Habits plus Old Technology have predictable consequences. Old Habits, that are hard to change, plus New Technology can have dramatically altered consequences.”

Same true for while thinking about site readiness about windows & doors. Most of the time customers request to install windows & doors when site is not ready & bad installation conditions can kill high quality product. (Check picture)

Drainage Slot has been blocked by Post-Stone installation

UPVC has high resistance to weather,to corrosion and to the most materials found on Building sites so it would be best to install uPVC windows & doors after final paint or. P.O.P. . Installed windows are subjected to dead load, live load and wind load, high and low temperature and weathering. These factors have also big influence on the joint between walls and window as well as Doors. Careful planning and good craftsmanship is therefore essential for the quality of installation.

Some times Good Installer has to follow instruction of Customers as Arc. Wren did. In 1688, Sir Christopher Wren, the celebrated English architect, was asked to design a town hall for the city of Westminster. When the mayor saw the design, he told Wren the second floor was not secure and that it could all come crashing down. And therefore, he wanted Wren to add two stone columns for extra support. Wren didn't argue. He complied even though he knew it would serve no purpose. It was only years later, when workmen got on a high scaffold for some minor repairs did they see that the columns Wren gave in to stopped a few centimeters short of the ceiling. They were dummies. But the point is, both men got what they wanted. The mayor could relax and posterity demonstrated Wren was right.

8. ENERGY EFFICIENCY IS MUST- UPVC windows & doors is an energy efficient material but we have to choose glass & windows combination in a manner in which it should save energy. E.g. if it is south facing opening, we should choose heat reflective glass with double glazing to save energy.

Making mistakes in centuries and generations past would have consequences that we could overcome. We don't have that luxury anymore......

9. HOW TO GET BEST PRICE FOR UPVC WINDOWS & DOORS – Most of the time first time buyer ask this question to me.One has to understand Doors & windows is not a ready-made product & there is no thumb-rule for costing. One has to go in details to get best deal out of his/her hard earned money as It is customized product so price depends on below mentioned factors-

  • UPVC windows & doors Profile- Good Quality profile will increase price 15-20 % costlier than cheaper Turkish & Indian profiles made windows & doors.(Go for Profile as per International standards as it is customized product , You can change fittings but not profile easily) 
  • Fittings – Good multi point locking & as per sash weight calculating fittings will increase price 20-30 %. 
  • Glass has 20-40% share in window & door price. E.g. 6 mm toughened glass costs approx. 60/- Sq.ft & double glazed glass costs approx. 150/- Sq.ft 

10. LAST CHECKING POINT: - Last but not the least- [quoting Mark Twain] "What gets us into trouble is not what we don't know. It's what we know for sure that just ain't so." So BE ALERT ALWAYS.