Jammed or broken UPVC window lock?

UPVC windows may become difficult to open or break completely. Reasons for this may include poor installation, poor alignment, dropped window, lack of lubrication, wear and tear etc.

Broken window mechanism

Bathroom and kitchen windows tend to break or jam more than other windows. This is due to the increased moisture in the air in these rooms.

The gearbox above is one of the most common makes that we replace. They fail because of poor fitting / maintenance. The window had been jammed closed for months. You can see how badly corroded and caked in crud this has become over the years. One of the mounting screws had to be drilled out because it was so seized.

An occasional application of lubricant to the moving parts of your windows can prevent this happening. Use a lithium or silicone lubricant. GT85 or similar is OK. WD40 is not good for this situation.

If your window handle and lock operate ok with the window open, but not when closed then this indicates an alignment problem. This can often be remedied by rehinging the window.

UPVC window won’t open?

Is your UPVC window jammed shut? More often than not it’s bathroom and kitchen windows that fail first – due to the increased moisture in the air.

Below are the parts that came out of a jammed shut bathroom windows. We had to remove both double glazed units before we could get the windows open. Being unable to open a bathroom window can lead to damp and mould in the house.

The gearbox shown in the photo is the most most common that we have to replace.

Broken window mechanism
Broken window gearboxes.

If you need a UPVC door or window repair, give us a call for a free quote.

UPVC door repairs & UPVC window repairs.

The majority of UPVC / composite door locking problems are due to misalignment between the door and frame. This can either be due to poor initial installation, or the building settling/subsiding.

Signs of poor installation may be difficult for a layman to identify. Gradually doors will become stiff and difficult to lock, then after a few years the door mechanism can break completely. Eventually you’ll find yourself with a door that doesn’t lock, or you can’t open. There are entire estates in Lydney and Coleford where the doors were poorly installed.

With older buildings the signs of settling / subsidence which cause misalignment can be more easily seen. If your door is difficult to lock, take a look around the frame or nearby to see if there are cracks. These cracks can indicate settling of the building and may be the reason your door is difficult to lock. If the settling is minor adjustments can probably be made to the door to get it back into correct alignment.

We keep the most common multipoint mechanisms in stock. Sadly sometimes in the Forest of Dean you’ll come across a building subsiding so badly there’s nothing we can do. If we can’t fix your door – there is no charge.

A broken door mechanism (multipoint) is very likely to also require door realigning, or at least checking. Putting a new mechanism in a badly adjusted door will cause the new parts to fail prematurely. We always check door alignment when we fit new replacement parts.

Difficulty locking UPVC doors. Again. And again.

It’s pretty common when called to a broken UPVC door to be told by the customer that they’ve been squirting WD40 into. It’s understandable, but for starters it’s the wrong lubricant for the job. Secondly the difficulty locking is normally because the door is out of alignment. WD40 won’t magically re-align the door.

If you ignore difficulty locking a UPVC door eventually the mechanism is going to break. You could end up with a door jammed shut, or unable to lock. In the photo below a customer had been using WD40 to try to make the door work. No amount of lubricant was going to put all these broken pieces of metal back together. Adjusting the door in time would have prevented this breakage.

It is far cheaper to adjust your door correctly than it is to open a broken UPVC mechanism and replace the parts.

REPLACEMENT LOCK DETAINERS

With most mortise locks that are difficult to lock there are 2 main reasons. Either the door has dropped and the bolt is hitting the keep, or the keys are badly worn / cut. If the bow of the key does not have a manufacturer’s name, (or has an aftermarket brand such as JMA) the key is likely to be a copy. Take a look at the bitting of the key for worn or bent elements. If the key only works one side of the door this is a good indication of a worn key.

Worn keys can be exacerbated having too many keys/junk hanging on the bunch. This additional weight can wear levers or the curtain on one side.

If the keys are too badly worn they may have damaged the levers. It is possible to replace these levers but it’s normally cheaper to replace a complete lock. An exception to this rule is for Chubb (now Union) 3G110 lock. A detainer pack for these locks is cheaper than replacing the entire lock. Some companies do make cheaper locks that will slot straight into the hole but they’re not the same quality as a 3G110.

Chubb 3G110 detainers
Replacing 3G110 detainers

UPVC Doors not locking

During this hot weather we are attending a lot of doors that cannot be locked. This is normally due to the doors being out of alignment. This most often happens to UPVC doors but can also affect wood and composite doors. If you have to use excessive force to lift the handle then very soon the mechanism is going to break. Your door should not be “knocking” when you shut the door with the handle held down.

door roller
Door roller locking point showing wear from door misalignment.

It is far cheaper to get the doors adjusted before the mechanism breaks (possibly locking you in/out).

UPVC door repair.
UPVC door locking point showing wear due to door misalignment.

There is a fairly new housing estate in Coleford where we often go to conduct repairs. There’s also a new estate in Lydney with the same door mechanism. It isn’t the fault of the door mechanism, it’s the fault of the builders / installers who never took the time to line up the doors correctly to begin with.

Find us on Yell.com

https://www.yell.com/biz/ross-dean-locksmiths-ruardean-8144374/

UPVC door repair

UPVC door reported as ‘difficult to lock’. This was what we found. The top hinge had been ripped completely off, leaving the door hanging on by the lower 2 hinges. This is often seen when an unrestrained door is allowed to blow open against the door reveal.

Broken UPVC door hinge
Damaged UPVC door hinge requiring repair.

As can be seen above the screws had not only stripped out of the plastic, the end of the metal flag hinge had sheared off. Typically this will result in difficulty locking/unlocking. Worst case scenario is the rest of the hinges fail and the door falls off, breaking the glass. In this example the door was repaired and correctly aligned.

It is always worth preventing your door from swinging freely in the wind. There are a variety of ways that you can achieve this.

If you need UPVC door or window repairing in Ross on Wye or Forest of Dean areas give us a call for a quote.

UPVC doors – butt hinges or flag hinges?

Double glazed doors tend to be fitted with either butt hinges, or flag hinges. Butt hinges are commonly seen on cheaper, lower spec UPVC French doors and frames. These offer little or not adjustment. Flag hinges are normally found on better quality doors and offer greater adjustment. (Metal skinned composite doors will usually have butt hinges as they do not sag, warp or as badly as UPVC doors).

UPVC door butt hinge
UPVC door butt hinge. Original fit. Doors misaligned with resultant broken mechanism.

If doors fitted with butt hinges have sagged, dropped, or were installed wonky to begin with it may be impossible to align the doors correctly. The additional strain trying to lock wonky doors will often cause the multipoint locking system to fail, jamming the door shut, or unable to lock.

Rather than replace wonky doors for a complete new set of doors/frames it is often possible (and certainly cheaper) to replace the butt hinges for flag hinges. These offer much more adjustment in all the planes and take the strain off of the locking mechanism.

UPVC door flag hinge
Original hinges upgraded to adjustable flag hinges.

We repaired these doors but replacing the original butt hinges for these flag hinges (3 per door leaf). Previously the doors had been held closed for months by nothing more than a padlock around the handles. The doors were so badly installed that the locking mechanism was broken and could not be replaced. The new hinges allowed the doors to be lined up correctly and a new working multipoint strip to be fitted.

If you are near to Forest of Dean / Ross on Wye and your UPVC double glazed doors or windows need repair or adjustment give Ross-Dean Locksmiths a call.

UPVC door mechanism repair – again

We are very busy for door repairs this week. Normally they peak early spring/late autumn. Shown below are parts of a very clearly broken top case. This particular part is long since discontinued but somebody makes a repair part for the case. This make/model full length mechanism is also unobtainable, although the gearboxes can be found.

Because the gearbox (not shown) has an odd PZ (handle-spindle distance) a complete replacement with modern mechanism would have been more expensive than a repair, and also required new handles to fit the modern handle-spindle distance.

UPVC repair top case

Double glazing & UPVC repairs are normally far, far cheaper than replacing the entire window or door. Recently we repaired a door during the afternoon for over £1000 less than the price the customer was quoted for a replacement door that morning.

UPVC door repair

We were called to repair a set of UPVC French doors. The door could not be locked because the multipoint mechanism had broken. This was caused by the door swinging open with such force against the wall that it was ripping the door off its hinges. This in turn caused the door to drop out of alignment.

UPVC door hinge
Hinges damaged due to door swinging open
UPVC door repair

Because of the failed gearbox the customer had temporarily secured the doors by tying the handles together with a shoelace.

If you are experiencing any difficulty locking a UPVC door, 90% of the time it is due to mis-alignment. Unless you get the door correctly adjusted the gearbox will fail. This will result in a door jammed shut, or cannot be locked.

Fitting a cat flap to UPVC door

Not posted anything for a while. Let’s see how long winded fitting a cat flap can be. Customer’s cats wanted a flap fitting but the design of the door prevented a simple installation. The door needed adaptation from a 3 panel/2 bar lower section to a single section panel.

cat flap fitting
Door in original state. 3 panel/2 bar lower section. Panels too narrow to accept a flap.
cat flap fitting
Glass removed to access lower bar securing screws. Lower panels removed.
locksmith cat flap fitting
Mitre jointing the old beading to fit the new panel
Locksmith cat flap fitting
Cat flap fitting