✔ uPVC double-glazed windows are the most popular type in the UK
✔ They have an average lifespan of 20 years
✔ A 60 x 90cm uPVC window typically costs £1,050
Why Do Most People Opt for uPVC Double Glazing?
Un-plasticised Polyvinyl Chloride (uPVC for short and also referred to as rigid PVC, PVC-U and PVCu) windows are the UK’s most popular type of double glazing. uPVC windows and uPVC doors are well suited to modern properties because they come in a range of styles and colours, and are ideal for anyone looking for affordable and low-maintenance home improvements.
So, what are uPVC windows? uPVC double glazed windows consist of 2 panes of glass with a thin pocket of air between them. This narrow gap creates a vacuum which plays an important part in reducing the amount of cold air that can make its way into a property.
Why is that important? It also helps to prevent hot air from escaping, ensuring that your home remains insulated and warm – and will help to make your home quieter by cutting out exterior noise.
If you'd like to compare quotes from trusted professionals for uPVC windows and more, fill in this quick form.
What's in This Guide to uPVC Windows?
1. What Are the Pros and Cons of uPVC Windows?
- Low cost
- A good insulator
- Likely to save you money on your energy bills
- Able to reduce noise from outside
- Low maintenance
- Fairly recyclable
- Highly energy efficient
- Helpful in making your home more secure
- Available in a range of designs and styles
- Usually come with white frames
- Get dirty quickly
- Require regular cleaning
- Not the most visually pleasing windows
- Don’t use natural materials
- Manufactured using a lot of energy and many chemical processes
- Tend to appeal less to modern house buyers
- Can be difficult to repair
- Tend to come with a 10 year warranty only
- Can discolour if not cleaned regularly
- Can crack when exposed to sunlight over a long time
- Less environmentally friendly than other types
- Can’t be used to replace windows on a listed building
- Adds less value to your home than wooden double glazing
- Have a relatively short life expectancy of 20 years
- Look out of place on an older-style house
2. uPVC Sash Windows
uPVC sash windows are a popular choice for period properties owners. In fact, they are mandatory for many buildings situated in conservation areas.
Sash windows were, of course, originally made using wood, but modern uPVC sash windows are able to retain the same level of elegance as those fitted with traditional timber frames, particularly since there is a wide range of colours and textures to choose from.
For example, wood effect uPVC (otherwise known as woodgrain uPVC or timber effect uPVC) is increasingly becoming one of the most popular styles of uPVC sash window, thanks to its natural-appearing woodgrain finish.
Some uPVC sash windows can also include period features such as Georgian bars, which help to achieve a more authentic traditional look.
The table below shows the leading uPVC double glazed sash windows which have been endorsed by the Energy Saving Trust for their energy efficiency.
Sash Window Name
Energy Efficiency Rating
Safestyle Sliding Sash Window
Bevelled Standard / Flush Sash
3. uPVC Casement Windows
In the UK, casement windows were in use before the advent of its sash counterparts, and are the most common form of double glazing in the UK (and Europe as a whole).
This is in no small part because of their simplicity of style and suitability for a wide range of property types. They are also exceptionally versatile and can be fitted to almost any kind of home, even those that are unusually designed.
Casement windows are easy to open and close, thanks to a discreet crank handle that sits tight to the frame when not in use. Because they open a full 90 degrees, casement windows are simple to clean.
They are also particularly secure, thanks to a multi-locking system with pivots that firmly affix the opening pane to the main window frame.
A uPVC casement window can offer greater energy efficiency than sash windows, with some being awarded a A++ rating (more on this later).
With all-uPVC casement windows fitted throughout your property, your home will almost certainly be warmer – and you should begin to notice savings on your energy bills, too.
The below table features some of the most energy-efficient uPVC casement windows on the market.
Energy Efficiency Rating
Eurocell PVCu Casement*
Anglian uPVC Casement
CMS Window Systems
CMS PVCu Casement
Everest uPVC Casement
*Eurocell is a main supplier for A&B Glass
4. uPVC Bay Windows
Bay windows are one of the most attractive features that a property can possess – and uPVC versions have proven to be a popular choice for many homeowners.
As well as their aesthetic appeal, bay windows (more rounded versions are known as bow windows) allow more natural light into a room than standard windows. They also provide additional internal space – not to mention a light and airy look and feel to a room – because they project away from a property.
Bay windows often come in either a casement or sash design, and there are many ways you can customise them including the glass and colour of the frames.
5. uPVC Windows Cost
Are uPVC windows cheap? uPVC double glazed windows are currently the cheapest form of double glazing available and come in a range of styles.
How much will I pay? Of course, that'll vary according to your specs. Pricing is determined by a number of factors: how many windows you have, how big they are and whether you opt for casement or sash windows. In terms of size, they vary from 60x90cm to as much as 180x150cm.
uPVC Casement Window Prices
Casement windows offer the most cost-effective option when it comes to replacing old windows with brand-new uPVC windows. The smallest casement window (60 x 90 cm) will typically cost around £515, while the largest example (180 x 150 cm) is priced at approximately £1,230.
uPVC Sash Window Prices
Sash windows are the more costly of these 2 uPVC double glazing options. A 60 x 90 cm window comes with a typical price tag of £1,050, whereas a single 180 x 150 cm sash window will set you back in the region of £2,330.
These prices reflect the installation of ground-floor windows. To have windows fitted on the first floor (and higher) will cost you more, simply because of the logistics of the operation (mainly, the need for scaffolding).
As an example, a 60 x 90 cm first-floor (or above) casement window is typically priced at £585 (an increase of £75). A 180 x 150 cm sash window for the first floor (or higher) will cost you in the region of £2,400 (a £70 increase). As you can see, the price difference between ground-floor and first-floor installation isn’t enormous but it certainly adds up the more upper floor windows your property possesses.
That said, if you have all your windows replaced in one go, you’ll benefit from a greater discount, which can be typically be anything from 3% to 21%.
The above prices also include the removal and disposal of old same-size windows. If you wish to resize an existing window or relocate it – or have a new window created – this will cost more.
Naturally, the larger your home, the more windows it is likely to have and the greater the cost. Bear in mind, too, that prices tend to be higher if you require more openings per window.
uPVC Windows Made to Measure
It’s important to choose a company that offer uPVC windows supply and fitting. There are companies that will buy ready-made windows at fixed sizes, meaning they can offer a cheaper supply and fit service, but this could impact their suitability to your home.
Made-to-measure double glazing will significantly minimise draughts, keep rainwater out and will refrain from rattling during strong winds. They will also increase the energy efficiency of your home – and make it more secure.
Will You Pay More for Coloured uPVC Windows?
uPVC windows, while typically associated with the colour white, are actually available in a wide range of hues. Although white frames tend to be the cheapest option, choosing an alternative colour is not likely to add too much to the overall price of your windows.
Coloured uPVC windows are likely to cost you in the region of 15-20% more, depending on the size of the windows you require.
The selection of colours available vary from company to company but most window installers offer tones such as cream, green, mahogany, oak, rosewood, grey and black. Some even offer dual-colour uPVC, featuring a coloured interior frame and a white external frame, or vice versa.
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6. Compare uPVC Window Manufacturers
As with any other kind of big purchase, it pays to compare and contrast reviews across the board; you can do this by completing the form at the top of this page. Just because you’re not familiar with a company’s name doesn’t mean that it can’t deliver you the best overall package.
Word of mouth is often the most compelling form of marketing that a company can hope for. Be sure to canvas the opinions of neighbours, friends and family that have had uPVC windows installed.
They will be only too happy to tell you about their good, bad and indifferent experiences!
Tell Me About uPVC Windows Warranties
All the best double glazing manufacturers and fitters will provide a warranty or guarantee for the uPVC windows that they provide. uPVC double glazing tends to last for approximately 20 years.
However, the majority of double glazing companies only offer a 10-year warranty. Consequently, if any of your uPVC windows need to be repaired – or even replaced, you will have to meet the cost yourself.
A bit of research before buying your windows will almost certainly save you a fair amount of money, and it’s always worth comparing quotes from a number of suppliers.
Be sure to ask whether or not estimates come with a warranty or guarantee – and always compare the length of each to ensure that you’re getting the best deal.
Further uPVC Windows Protection
Any windows installed by contractors that are ratified by CERTASS, the Double Glazing & Conservatory Ombudsman Scheme (DGCOS) or the Fenestration Self Assessment Scheme (FENSA) will come with an extra level of cover.
CERTASS, the DGCOS and FENSA each regularly evaluate their registered contractors to ensure that they are appropriately qualified and complete installations successfully.
7. What Do uPVC Window Energy Ratings Mean?
All new windows should have a Window Energy Rating (WER). The 3 most common rating systems (and the most reliable) are awarded by the British Fenestration Rating Council (BFRC), the British Standards Institute (BSI) and CERTASS (which stands for Certificate and Assessment).
Ratings run from A to E / A to G (i.e. from efficient to inefficient). A C-rating is the minimum required under current building regulations. The most energy efficient windows carry an A+ (or even an A++) rating.
The higher the rating, the greater the savings you’re likely to make on your fuel bills. A WER measures how energy efficient a window as a whole is (not just the glass).
Any windows that carry a B-rating or higher are automatically endorsed by the Energy Savings Trust (EST).
8. What About Triple Glazed uPVC Windows?
Triple glazed windows are certainly an option worth considering. Instead of 2 panes of glass, triple glazed windows feature 3.
In theory, triple glazed properties retain heat better than double glazed homes. They should also further reduce the level of external noise and be even harder to break into.
However, the difference between triple glazed windows and double glazed windows can be negligible in some cases. That said, if you currently have single glazing or double glazing that is past its best, triple glazed uPVC windows could be a good choice.
Of course, there is a cost implication and it’s possible that fuel savings made in the long run might not mitigate the price of installation. You can read more about what triple glazing has to offer.
9. What Are the Alternatives to uPVC Windows?
Timber frames are environmentally friendly and can be easily recycled. However, wooden double glazing can be up to 3 times more expensive than uPVC – and require regular maintenance.
That said, if well looked after, timber frames can last for a remarkably long time. Many house buyers prefer wood-framed double glazed windows because they are visually appealing and add value to a property.
Aluminium frames, once treated with an initial powder coating, require little or no maintenance and are especially resistant to rust and discolouration.
Aluminium is also less bulky than uPVC, thus allowing for a greater glass area. Aluminium is much easier to recycle than uPVC, too.
Who Are the Leading Manufacturers with the Biggest Range of Windows?
Manchester Window Factory