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 Post subject: draught in new UPVC door
PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:34 pm 
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Hi

newly registerd to this helpful site

We had a UPVC door fitted by a apprantly reputable company 4 months ago. We have a porch connecting to our main hall. Immediately we noticed that there was a cold draught coming into the porch. The porch is only 1mx1.5m and has its own radiator. But the porch is always very cold. We have asked the company to come out and remedy it on 6 occasions. Each time to adjust something but the draught remains. Ive spoken to trading standards and they have told me to write a final letter to them asking them to fix it. My worry is that they will come out, say there is nothing more they can do or say it is fine and we will have to take it further. They have fitted draght excluders but they dont even cover up the space between the frame and door?

My questions are:

1. How much draught should a door permit? if any?
2. Is there any way i can prove to them that there is a draught? (ive done the old licking finger and placing against door but its not very objective!)
3. Should i go down the route of getting a independent inspection? and where can i get someone like tht?
4. Any general advice re our situation?

any help will be very much appreciated as its a stressful situation being in a dispute.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 4:58 pm 
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what sort of door is it? by that i mean is it a composite door that fits just like a normal hardwood front door - butt hinges with a 4mm gap all round the edge, flush fitting internally or is it the type where the door leaf closes up against the frame?
you shouldnt be getting a draught either way... the easiest way to find a draught is to use a candle...
just hold the candle (lit obviously) near the door perimeter and move it all the way round, a draught will disturb the flame...
dont hold it too near the door though... although upvc is self extinguishing it will still mark...
the problem could be that the doors been fitted in 'twist' or incorrectly 'toe and heeled'..
it could also be improperly adjusted on the hinges...
or the frame could be too big for the door leaf...

if its a composite door, how big is the gap round the periemeter? and if its a standard upvc door, how much clearance is there between door leaf and frame as you pull it closed at its nearest point on the closing side?

there is such a thing as a 'thermal draught' too, thats just air moving from a warm area to a cold area, like an air current if you like, im sure one of the heating engineers would explain that phenomenom better...

what is the porch construction? have you had this problem before the door was fitted or is it all since its been installed?

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 6:53 pm 
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hi cw

thanks for ur comments

Im not 100% about all my definitions but ill try my best

I think its a composite door. We used to have double UPVC doors but had these replaced with a single door with the sides panelled up. When u pull the handle up, two locks pull up and lock it into place. I think its supposed to be flush fitting internally but measuring the L upper and R upper distance from frame is 5mm and 3mm respectively (looking at it as in the pic), while the L lower and R lower door distance from frame is 3mm and 5mm. The R lower edge of the door is juting out and so isnt flush fitting. All the rest of the door seems to be flush fitting.

I tried the candle test. If im honest, with the hinge of the door pulled up (and locks in place) flickering was minimal. But with the hinge pulled down but door still closed, there was big flickering at the R lower edge of the door.

Sorry, i think i have called it a porch when it probably isnt. Call it a hallway. ive attached a pic if its of any help. Where im standing is the door that divides the hall with the rest of the house.

I have to say, when we had the old doors, i didnt used to notice the cold. but since we've had them changed, its always very cold.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 7:23 pm 
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your right, thats a composite door (so called because its a composite of glassfibre, timber, glass and sometimes upvc)
they should be flush internally but it you go outside and close the door, if its nice and tight up against the gaskets that shouldnt be a problem...
usually though, a 70mm profile takes a composite door nicely flush...
little bit out of square (2mm) but that shouldnt really cause that much of a problem...
sounds like the door leaf has a bit of twist in it or the frame, if you open the door and look straight at it edge on, shut one eye and line up the front edge with the back edge then look it up and down youll see if theres any twist...
mark 1 eyeball being the best measuring device...
if theres no twist in the door then the frames prolly got a bit of twist in it, a spirit level held up both jambs will confirm this, any deviation should be rectified.
these doors are very unforgiving of innacuracy when fitting, the way i used to fit them was hang the hinge side and fit the frame to the door, that way it fitted perfectly..
its possible the glazing isnt as good as your last doors, if they were argon units they'll have had a lower (better) u value (heat loss), worth asking..
and the door should also be up to standard with regard to heat loss but i dont think that'll be the problem.
the glazing (side panels) should also be packed correctly along the long edge to avoid the frame bowing...
if youve got roller cams as well as hook bolt locking, these can be adjusted slightly to pull the door in tighter when you lift the handle...
if theres no noticeable flicker wuith the handle pulled up then theres no draught through the gap. these type of upvc frames are designed to work to full design spec with the handle pulled up, thats what the roller cams are for, to pull the door in against the frame..
anything other than that i wouldnt know although it couldnt just be the current weather could it?

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 7:54 pm 
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btw, the way to check if youve got argon filled glass units is look at the spacer bar between the 2 peices of glass...

if theres 2 little black 'bumps' then its argon filled, this is where they fill it..

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 8:03 pm 
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thanks CW

could u just clarify what u mean with the following 2 statements?

if you open the door and look straight at it edge on, shut one eye and line up the front edge with the back edge then look it up and down youll see if theres any twist...
mark 1 eyeball being the best measuring device...

if theres no twist in the door then the frames prolly got a bit of twist in it, a spirit level held up both jambs will confirm this


not sure how u mean by looking at it up and down?? mark 1 eyeball? what are jambs? pardon my ignorance.

Also, there is zero wind today. Maybe i should try again when its a little more windy? or maybe with a hair drier? or is that too extreme?


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2010 10:14 pm 
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bit like if you look at a length of timber and think its straight then you pick it up to eye level and look straight down its length youll see its actually bent like a banana - youre mark 1 eyeball being the best measuring device (figure of speech)
now if you open the door and stand 4 feet away looking directly at the edge of the door where the lock is, close one eye and move your head so your looking dead straight on at it - line the back edge up with the front at the bottom (or top whichever) then without moving your head look up the door (or down depending on where you started) and if the door is twisted the other end wont be lined up...
to check a frame for twist, not being able to look down it sideways cos its in the brickwork you place a spirit level vertically on the closing or hinge side (jambs), the bubble should read exactly the same both sides...
a better check is to check one side and keeping the top of the level in the top corner, swap the bottom of the level to the other side so the levels on an angle across the door frame... the bubble shouldnt move...
try the candle test in the wind by all means, there still shouldnt be a noticable draught...
force 9 gale maybe, but not on a normally windy day..
if it was bad it'd probably whistle as the wind came in anyway...

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 4:20 pm 
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thanks CW

I tried the candle test again with the hair dryer. There was a significant flicker att he R bottom corner where the door isnt aligned. This would explain why its always much colder when its windy. The R upper had no flicker. L side (hinges) seem fine except for a single spot. Bear in mind that in normal use there is no flicker but as i said there is zero wind today.

I wasnt 100% sure what u meant about the alignment of the door? but i do remember when the workmen came out, he did mumble that the door was slightly curved? But only a few mm so something about that being an acceptable amount?

Im just wondering what my next step is with the company. When they came out, i could see with my own eye there was a step but i didnt want to waste my breath explaining to them it wasnt right. These are the same guys who have come out the 6 previous time, and if they cant see it now, there never going to see it.

Will it be relatively easy to adjust?

is the hairdryer test an acceptable method to prove there is a draught? (as in, can they say that its too extreme method to prove)


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 4:35 pm 
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was the flicker there when the handle was lifted? thats the question youll be asked..
when the cams pull the door in it should be draughtproof...
i suppose the hairdrier would be an acceptable method of testing, if you really wanted to go down this route then you'd need an 'expert witness', someone with the relevant qualifications to write you an unbiased qualified report to be shown in court...
you'd have to do a search google stylie i suppose and find one...
it would appear to me than letting the fixings in the closing side panels go followed by closing the door but not lifting the handle...
then adjust the frame so the door doesnt appear in twist and refixing the side panels would cure the problem..
bottom line is, you have to lift the handle...
i would say that most of these doors that ive fitted (and ive fitted a hell of a lo of em on council contracts troughout the uk) have had some degree of bow / twist in the door leaf...
this is why i fit the frame to the door, not as recommended, fit the frame dead plumb and square only to find the door doesnt fit perfectly...
once i figured this out i never had a problem... until i did though, i had some sort of minor problem nearly every time... things like stiff locking, split spindles being unusable due to stiffness, draughts etc...
ive given 6"nails to old women with arthritis before today cos the split spindles were that stiff they couldnt turn the key! and thats when the door fits bang on!

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 5:03 pm 
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How easy is it to lift the handle up to lock it.Is there a noticeable difference between doing it with the door open and with it closed ?
Any chance of a picture of the lock or frame side keeps ?

Doesnt look like the best door to adjust as the hinges are not adjustable to any degree looking at rthe picture.Nto good as most new doors have fitters adjustable hinges.

Is the door square ? Measure it corner to corner diagonally and see if it varies.

cpw if you are having trouble with the split spindle sets ups the door needs adjusting.Any lock that is difficult to lift up on the handles will fail eventually.I do loads of upvc work because of this reason.Only yesterday did one that failed in the locked position.Easy enough to sort out but a headache if its your front door with no other way out or in.Come the warmer weather and any problems with it sticking become highlighted.Its the same when it turns cold too,throws up a spate of the same thing of failed multipoints.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 14, 2010 5:30 pm 
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thanks chaps

Yes. Draught was present with the handle up and locks in place.

diagonals are L top to R bottom 211.5cm, R top to L bottom, 211cm. so only 0.5cm diff

handle is relatively easy to pull up when open or closed. Slightly harder when closed. But no stick.

Some pics attached of door:

first is of is where hooking locks go into frame .

Second is main lock

thrid is close up of hooking lock

last is door and locks. When i pull handle up the bottom lock and another at top hook into frame. Nothing happens in middle so only 2 locks


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 8:48 pm 
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Hmm,

This is very interesting.
I too have recently had a composite(front)door and PVC (back) door fitted, and am finding the same thing. I have had the engineers out to tighten the doors up and said they should be be fine now (when locked) but they do appear to give out a draught.
The company I used is a very reputable company based in Kidderminster and I paid £1800.00 for both doors...
I was thinking of putting my thoughts in writing to the company, it's just that you know when you have a bad meal at a restaurant, and you want to say something but don't want to make yourself out to be picky!!!


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 15, 2010 9:22 pm 
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hi wicker

the following website might be of use for a letter of complaint.

http://www.consumerdirect.gov.uk/after_ ... goods_new/

I saw it like this. I paid £8500 for new windows and doors. But if all the money i am supposed to be saving is being blown (literally) through the door then whats the point?


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 16, 2010 2:42 pm 
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split spindle... no roller cams, only the hook bolts to pull the door in.... 3 point locking..
secure enough...
looked again and the keep is at maximum adjustment already...
only thing that would fix that would be a thicker fir tree gasket i reckon...
(thats the one round the perimeter of the frame that butts against the door)
and taking the twist out of the frame.....
at maximum adjustment the door handle should be quite stiff to lift indicating maximum pressure against the gasket...
if its dead easy and adjusted to the max then youve got to consider either a thicker gasket or the complete repositioning of the entire keep plate itself maybe even shaving some off the back edge to allow it to move...

what should happen is that the handle is firm but not stiff, and the seal should be good enough to stop draughts...

could be the threshold casuing some of the problem too.... sometimes the gaskets are cut short / kicked out / or there's just no seal under the weatherbar...
you havent got a low ali threshold though so thats unlikely but worth checking...

i would cetaintly be very tempted (in a service engineer situation) to replace that low profile retainer gasket with some 'fir tree' gasket....
only problem with that is youll see a black gasket line round the door when viewed from outside...

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