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uPVC Window Not Closing Properly

Updated on July 19, 2017
Gap in window where hinge won't close sash fully.
Gap in window where hinge won't close sash fully.

How to Check for Problems in Your uPVC Windows

The most common problem with PVC windows is that the sash won't close properly against the seal, which means you will lose money when the heat escapes outside. The problem is caused either with the lock, the hinges, or a dropped sash.

Check hinges: Close your sash and check the hinge side. If there is a gap between the sash and the frame on the hinge side, than it is your hinges. All that is wrong is that your hinges are after wearing down and not pulling the sash in tight against the frame anymore. A new pair of hinges is needed. It only takes a few minutes and is not a big job, most people would be able to do this job themselves, and most window companies will do it for you.

Check lock: Close your sash, and on the inside, slide a credit card between the sash and the frame. The card should fit tight and shouldn't be easy to move around. If not, then you more than likely are getting a draft. All that is needed here is a small adjustment to you lock and it will tighten up the seal. Almost anyone would be able to do this job; all that is need is a set of allen keys.

Check if sash has dropped: This problem affects windows that have a side swing opening, the type that open like a door. Close your sash and look at the top corner above the handle. Move slightly, and if you can see daylight, then that means it has dropped. Also check that the sash is fitting equal with the frame. If it has shifted down at the handle side, then your sash may be dropping. Most sashes will drop a bit without affecting the overall performance of the window, but if it keeps dropping, that is when the problems start.

Espag lock showing the cams which can be adjusted to tighten the seal.
Espag lock showing the cams which can be adjusted to tighten the seal.
Check the seal with a credit card. It should fit tight and be hard to move.
Check the seal with a credit card. It should fit tight and be hard to move.

How to Fix a uPVC Window That's Not Closing Properly

If you want to have a go at fixing any of these problems yourself, below is a guide to help you get it sorted.

Hinges:

  1. Unscrew the hinges from the frame and lift the sash out.
  2. Have a look at the sash and the way the old hinges are fixed to it.
  3. Unscrew the old hinges and put the new ones on it the same place.
  4. Place the sash back into the frame and screw the hinges back onto the frame.
  5. Check that it is opening and closing.

Lock: To adjust the lock will only take a minute, and all that is needed is an allen key.

  1. Open the window and look at the cams—these are the parts that move up and down when you move the handle.
  2. These can be turned with an allen key. Turn them one way and it tightens the sash against the seal. Turn them the other way and it loosens them.

Dropped Sash:

  1. Take out the glass, then close your sash and make sure your sash is lined up.
  2. Now put your glass back in and pack it right around with plastic packers so that there is no movement between the glass and the sash. If you don't have plastic packers, you can get them at any company that makes windows. They are very cheap to buy. The chances are there is not enough of them in your sash from day one and that is why your sash dropped.
  3. To help prolong the life of your espag locks and hinges, especially if you are living near the sea, rub grease onto them. This will keep the air from harming them, stop corrosion, and slow down wear and tear. As for the dropped sash, there is nothing you can do about this until it happens, as this happens due to glass being fitted badly.

Feel free to ask any questions by posting them in the comment box below.

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    • Martin-ddp profile image
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      Martin-ddp 11 months ago from Ireland

      Sounds like the glass was not packed properly to the sash. To fix will mean taking glass out. Than line sash up properly. Replace glass and pack glass right around with plastic glass packers. This is know as toe & healing once done properly your window sash should not drop down no more

    • profile image

      keith pell 11 months ago

      indow wont close smoothly,it has a plastic ride up piece on the interior of the frame that can slide about,I have tried moving this along but window still not closing properly, any advice please. Keith Pell

    • profile image

      Larisa 22 months ago

      Hi Martin, thank you for your article.

      I have a window with 2 side hinges. The right side is fine but there is a little gap in the left bottom corner. When I compared the sides, I saw that on the right there is a small plastic part which keeps that bottom corner tightly closed. On the left side, however, it is missing. It is not a surprise that it is missing given that this part is not glued or anything, it is just kind of inserted there and you can take it away easily. So, now I need a replacement for it, the only problem is that I don't know how this part is called. Maybe you can tell me?

      I've just moved into this apartment and not sure yet if the landlord would be able to help. At least I can take that part from the right side and make a copy somewhere, not sure where exactly though, any ideas? Or is just easier to change the hinge? Do you think it would come with that part? If so that would be the simplest thing to do.

    • Martin-ddp profile image
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      Martin-ddp 3 years ago from Ireland

      Once they hit together when the window closes they should be fine. Plus what happens sometimes fitters put the wrong ones on. A side hung sash has different type interlockers compared to a top hung sash.

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      Martin 3 years ago

      Thanks for your reply, my windows do have the wedges fitted, just checked, should they align with each other or should they be overlapping? Mine don't seem to be aligned, they are both fitted, but slightly apart? Is that right or should they align. Cheers

    • Martin-ddp profile image
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      Martin-ddp 3 years ago from Ireland

      If there is no gap out by the hinges. Than your hinges are fine. But if you have a gap by hinges than you just need a new pair of hinges and this will more than likely sort out gap in center. But if hinges are fine you may need a pvc interlocker fitted. This is like two pvc wedges one is fitted to frame and the other to the sash and when you close your window they lock together to get a tight seal. They are used on bigger sashs. They are cheap to buy and very easy to fit. But you will find in some cases that one window company interlockers, will not fit another window company window. So if you can, go back to where you got your windows and ask for some window interlockers. If they are any good they should give you some for nothing as they cost next to nothing.

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      Mark 3 years ago

      Hi Martin , I've got an air gap and a draught coming threw my living room window, it is a half n half window which opens from the bottom out wards. At the top of the window, in the middle, there is a small gap between the frame and actual window casing inside, is this a fault or can it be tightened up???

    • Martin-ddp profile image
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      Martin-ddp 3 years ago from Ireland

      There is a lot of different ways to get air moving in a room if you google it you will find many. But the best ways are to bring some fresh air in from the outside. That's why all building regs require vents should be fitted into walls or windows.

    • profile image

      Chandru 3 years ago

      Hi martin,

      I used small fan, since i don't have air vent on opposite side except door. The room gets little hotter compared to the previous method. But initially the fan air causes some cooling.

    • Martin-ddp profile image
      Author

      Martin-ddp 3 years ago from Ireland

      All you need do is get the air moving in the room. This is done by adding an air vent on the other side of the room which will allow cooler air in. The cooler air will than move across the lower part of the room towards the heat which will than push the warmer air across the top. If you are not able to fit a vent. Some people use a small fan to move the air around. But the best option is to get cooler air in from outside. If you already have vents fitted to your walls than check and make sure they are not blocked.

    • profile image

      chandru 3 years ago

      Dear Martin,

      My heaters are located deep inside the window slab. I hope this is causing the problem of increasing humidity.

      Could you tell me, what can i do to bring this heat air to bring out from the window slap? Any duct?

    • Martin-ddp profile image
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      Martin-ddp 3 years ago from Ireland

      If your window is 1400 tall and a side opening it should have interlockers. The 700mm he is on about is the distance from one hinge to another it don't' matter if it is on the width or height. Plus when you buy windows and doors you have a five year consumer guarantee by law. So if your hinges are failing after only a few months. You should get everyone of them inspected as there is something wrong.

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      lomond 3 years ago

      Just to update you.

      Polyframe just been. lovely cold and wet so window not doing it. . typical!. however he Will supply the interlock wedges to see if that solves it but as a company they usually only supply them on windows over 700 wide (mine are only 510, 1400 tall) as the hinges are reinforced so not required. Frames come with 10year guarantee but hard wear only 12months. So once these are fitted hopefully my problem Will disappear.

    • Martin-ddp profile image
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      Martin-ddp 3 years ago from Ireland

      All PVC systems worldwide use interlockers. Just ask your supplier what Pvc system they are using than ring the maker and ask about interlockers. Plus all moving parts on a window have a two year warranty that means your hinges are covered.

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      lomond 3 years ago

      Thank you, New windows don't have the interlockers i presumed due to advances in window design. Spoke with manufacturer who say they don't fit or supply them as they use strong enough hinges as standard which eliminates the need (beg to differ). Builder who ordered and installed them was to come out to have a look but hasn't so may need to find a repairing firm that Will fit them for me. I really enjoyed your post and am grateful to you for your advice.

    • Martin-ddp profile image
      Author

      Martin-ddp 3 years ago from Ireland

      Sounds like there is no interlockers on the openings. These are two angle Pvc wedges. If you open the window and look at the hinge side there should be one on the frame and the other on the window sash. When you close your window these two pieces interlock and keep it tight against the seal. Without them your hinges can wear down very fast. The reason you are seeing the gap at certain times is because PVC can expand and contract by up to 7mm in hot and cold weather But your PVC interlockers should keep everything in place. Your windows should of come with these interlockers fitted and if they are fitted they must be fitted wrong. Go back to the person who sold you the windows and get them to fit them. Plus check out your hinges now because they may have excess wear and tear.

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      lomond 3 years ago

      I had New windows installed 4 months ago and have recently noticed the road traffic again. on inspection could slot a shopping trolley coin in the gap at the hinge side but only in the middle. i opened and shut the window for it to disappear (or that's what i thought). this mornin at 8am i could again here the traffic as if the window had been left on latch but again this gap had appeared (between the window and frame) so i knew i hadn't opened it etc since last time it opened so went out leaving it as it was only to come back at 11 and it has mysteriously closed. . . any ideas? surely not the weather (cold overnight to warm and sunny am)

    • Martin-ddp profile image
      Author

      Martin-ddp 3 years ago from Ireland

      The window keeps need to be moved up a small piece. The keeps are the parts on the frame the window lock onto. The problem is when the window is closed and you close the handle the cams are hitting the top of the keeps. Which won't let you close handle fully. When you have window is open a small piece and you close the handle the window sash is able to move down and allow the handle to close. If you open you window sash than operate the handle and look at the movement of the cams you will see what I mean.

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      Sam 3 years ago

      Hello, my window will fully lock on the second setting (so slightly open) but the handle will not lock into position when fully closing the window. I've swapped the handles as someone suggested that might be the issue, however that has made no difference, the handle works fine on other windows. Any suggestions?

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      Tim 3 years ago

      Great info on sorting pvc windows

    • Martin-ddp profile image
      Author

      Martin-ddp 3 years ago from Ireland

      What you need is someone to look at it for you. Because there are so many different ways that could be causing this. But it sounds like to me that you need to upgrade to a new to upgrade to a new window. And if its -9degress outside. I think it would be worth your while pay the bit extra and get Triple Glazing with low-e Glass.

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      Chandru 3 years ago

      Yesterday i closed all blinds and slept. Outside temperature was -9deg., still i get condensation a lot in my windows..... But the humidity was less around 51%.

      So when i open the blinds and sleep i see reduce in temperature and less condensation on glass edges. If i close the blind, no reduce in temperature but lot of condensation..... So from this any one can give me some solution ?

    • profile image

      Chandru 3 years ago

      Ya water is not coming., now the temperature is -6 deg and snowing... so this condensation is occurring due to insulation of double glazing failure?

    • Martin-ddp profile image
      Author

      Martin-ddp 3 years ago from Ireland

      That sound like condensation not water coming in through window

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      chandru 3 years ago

      Dear martin,

      As i said the there is no water between my glass panes.

      I see water in interior of the glass at lower edges.

      If the insulating glass seal fails this vl occur or some other reason for it?

    • Martin-ddp profile image
      Author

      Martin-ddp 3 years ago from Ireland

      Yes if the double glazing Breaks down condensation is between the the two panes, and you won't be able to clean it.

      Note : If water is coming in through window you will see a build up of water on window board. It will NOT just appear as condensation.

    • profile image

      Chandru 3 years ago

      One question i like to ask you, if the insulating glass seal fails, condensation occurs between double panes or interior of glass edges?

    • profile image

      Chandru 3 years ago

      Yesterday, in my place we had -4deg C and it is too dry. I had open all the windows for 15mins. then my room humidity came down to 36%. And after that i have not used curtain or blinds., i slept in morning again it went up to 59% and light drops of condensation at the lower edge of the windows.

      I m trying to find some more methods... and let me update here....

    • Martin-ddp profile image
      Author

      Martin-ddp 3 years ago from Ireland

      If you find out what is causing it. Let us know it might help someone else out

    • profile image

      chandru 3 years ago

      Ok, even my friends here are also saying the same., one of my friend want to visit my house to find the cause of it...

    • Martin-ddp profile image
      Author

      Martin-ddp 3 years ago from Ireland

      The damp air is coming from somewhere, it is only a matter of finding what is causing it. You could hire an engineer he will tell you what is causing the problem. But they can cost a lot of money. Here are some causes that people don't think off. Too many plants in the house. Drying clothes in rooms.

      It can be very hard to pinpoint what is causing condensation. That is why sometimes you need an engineer. They would of come across almost everything, and most can tell just by walking around the house inside and out

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      Chandru 3 years ago

      The walls are pretty good. But my neighbourhood also using the same, but he doesn't have condensation on his window. In bathroom also i have exhaust fan, during shower it vl b keep running and even after shower also it vl run for about 5mins.

      Don't know what more i have to do...?

    • Martin-ddp profile image
      Author

      Martin-ddp 3 years ago from Ireland

      Bad insulation - Check if you have any condensation on the walls. If you have insulation on walls and floor. Than it is more than likely just a bad window. The older pvc windows only came with standard double glazing. Which was better than single glazed and reduced condensation a small bit. But you will find the newer windows will get rid of the condensation. Unless you have an excess of water in your air. Also if you have a shower nearby remember all that steam is water and it must go somewhere.

    • profile image

      Chandru 3 years ago

      I am exchanging air often twice a day about 10mins.

      What is meant by bad heating ? becos i heat my room all the day in low (16deg C) and in night nearly about 20deg C i keep.

      Bad insulation, how should i check this.,

    • Martin-ddp profile image
      Author

      Martin-ddp 3 years ago from Ireland

      The seal is to stop draughts. If you have a problem with condensation on your windows that is a whole different story. The first thing you should know. Is windows DON'T cause condensation.

      Condensation is water in the air. This water is coming from inside your house somewhere. There are three things that will cause condensation. 1- Bad heating 2- Bad air ventilation 3-Bad - Insulation. If you have one of these three things it can cause condensation.

      But you can increase your insulation on the window by upgrading your Double Glazing to a Low-E Glass. But it sounds like your window is old and you may be better of getting a new window.

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      Chandru 3 years ago

      Yesterday as you said, i have bought siliconrubber seal (High flexible type) pasted on the existing window seal. But still i see lot of condensation on my window. Also i see the water on the exterior seal top....? Could have any solution for it?

    • Martin-ddp profile image
      Author

      Martin-ddp 3 years ago from Ireland

      No matter what seal you get, it may not last that long because your hinges will only push out more. Once your hinges start to wear they will keep going. So when you put on the extra seal it will just put a bit more pressure on the hinges. Which will make them wear faster. How long depends on what type of hinges they are. So just buy a cheap seal as you don't know how long it will last. Remember all you are doing is filling a gap. So a 100euro seal will do the same thing as a 5euro seal. The only different will be the glue that is holding it on. But if you do change your hinges sometime this extra seal must come off. Otherwise it will break your new hinges

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      chandru 3 years ago

      So i understand from your message, i can stick an additional onto my existing seal not Frame, am i right? If so, could you recommend me some good material seal which will come for another 6months or so?

    • Martin-ddp profile image
      Author

      Martin-ddp 3 years ago from Ireland

      You can add more. Most hardware shops will stock a seal which just sticks onto your old seal. This will give you an extra 5mm of a seal. But how long it will last depends on how much your hinges are worn. It might last a week or it might last six months or more. The seal should only cost about 5 to 10 euros. Don't go buying expensive seals as it won't last.

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      chandru 3 years ago

      I need one more clarification, if i have still the air leakage in this corners, can i add additional rubber sealing on the frame.

      If so which kind of rubber seal would be better., Any recommendation?

    • profile image

      Chandru 3 years ago

      Thank you for your immediate reply. Let me check it today and give u feed back.

    • Martin-ddp profile image
      Author

      Martin-ddp 3 years ago from Ireland

      When adjusting the cam on a lock a half turn should be enough. If you give them a full turn they are only back in same place you started. But watch the cam as you turn it. It should move towards the inside. This will tighten the seal against the frame. If you turn it a half turn the other way it will move away from the inside. This will loosen your seal against the frame.

      On the hinge side open the window out, than put some grease on the hinges make sure you get the grease right up into the corners. If this don't work on the hinges you more than likely need new hinges.

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      chandru 3 years ago

      Hello Martin,

      I have PVC windows, i have air leak near hinges and also opposite side of the hinges (exactly diagonal to hinges). When i tighten the locks near the handle, it is keep rotating. How should i get rid of the problem. How should i make airtight in my windows? Please help

    • Martin-ddp profile image
      Author

      Martin-ddp 3 years ago from Ireland

      You can't tighten them. Sounds like the hinges are worn down. You will need a new pair of hinges fitted. If your window is less than two years old the warranty should cover them. As you will find that with most window companies, moving parts only have a two year warranty.

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      Tru 3 years ago

      Hi, ive got upvc windows and would like to know how to tighten the window but mainly where the hinges. The windows are tight on the handles side but not tight enough on the hinges side. I can put a credit card between the rubber seal and the window frame easily. Please help

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      Dan 3 years ago

      Great Info about pvc windows

    • Martin-ddp profile image
      Author

      Martin-ddp 3 years ago from Ireland

      The window sash has just slipped down on the hinge. This can happen in two places.

      But First thing you must do is get your window open. Just use a long screwdriver and prise the sash back upwards. Now you should be able to open the window. Than just put another screw on the hinge to stop it slipping back down. You will have to do this in two places. One were the hinge is fixed to the window frame and the other were the hinge is fixed to the window sash (sash is the part of window that open and closes). Once this is done your window should work fine.

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      Alex 3 years ago

      My window is a bathroom window and opens from the bottom out wards and has a large non opening window below, the top window has dropped slightly on the right side and is therefore stopping it from shutting and it won't move neither forward or back, how do I repair this as my bathroom is freezing all the time and I would love to shut it!

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      John 3 years ago

      Thanks for putting up this information It sorted my pvc window

    • Martin-ddp profile image
      Author

      Martin-ddp 3 years ago from Ireland

      When adjusting the locks against the seal about a 1/4 turn should do it. You should feel the deferent's in the handle when you close it. Just make sure that you don't loosen it. If you open the window and look at the way it turns it should move towards the outside this will make your seal tighter. If it moves towards the inside it will loosen

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      Darryl 3 years ago

      hi there, very informative article! Thanks for posting. When tightening locks against the seal do you know which direction tightens the seal and roughly how many turns, quarter turns, half turns to initally try? Thanks.

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      Bill L 3 years ago

      thank you, most helpful. Shall prepare for the coming winter! ......cheers

    • JakeFrost profile image

      Jake Frost 4 years ago from London, United Kingdom

      This is great to know. I will keep it all in mind, you never know when it will come in handy.