1. Can you advise on where impact safety glass should be used in my home?

It should be used in low level glazing, glazing in and around doors, overhead and in large areas of glazing to prevent injury following accidental glass breakage.

2. Can you tell me about the benefits of toughened glass versus laminated glass?

Toughened glass is upto five times as strong as ordinary glass which means that it has to be hit much harder in order to break, also when it does break it is into lots of small pieces which are much less dangerous. Laminated glass has the same strength as ordinary glass but it consists of two pieces of glass with a sandwich of plastic interlayer. If the glass does get broken this interlayer holds the whole piece in place so there is no hole left in the window for an intruder to get in through for example or large free shards.

3. What are Window Energy Ratings?

Window Energy Ratings were introduced by the Government in 2005 as a means for window companies to demonstrate compliance with Building Regulations Part L concerning energy efficiency of their windows. The Window Energy Rating level is shown on a label attached to the window which looks very much like the kind of label you will have seen in the past on domestic appliances such as fridges and washing machines.

4. How can my windows help to reduce the noise level in my home?

There are a number of ways that this can be achieved including using double glazed units which have uneven thicknesses of glass in the front and back panes, using regular laminated glass in one of the panes or for the best reduction, use of special laminated glass such as Pilkington Optilamâ„¢ Phon. Ask us for advice.

5. What is the difference between u-pvc and pvc-u, one supplier claims better aging, particularly colour, for pvc-u.

To answer the question very simply, there is no difference between u-pvc and pvc-u. Both terms refer to unplasticised (hard) PVC, which is used extensively in building products where rigidity is an important attribute.

Plasticised (soft) PVC on the other hand is used where flexibility is important, for example medical tubing applications, insulation sheathing on electrical wiring, etc. Pvc-u is more to do with commonality of terminology world-wide than it is to do with formulation. Any claims of better performance of pvc-u over u-pvc are therefore spurious.

6. How do you see the advantages and disadvantages of PVCu and aluminium for replacement windows?

PVCu offers the following advantages...

* Good insulator
* Low maintenance
* Many suppliers / usually the cheapest option today
* Now available in wood grain and colored finishes.
If it has a disadvantage it maybe that it has relatively low structural integrity. This is overcome with steel or aluminium reinforcement. Also it can be susceptible especially in south facing situations to "expansion" in sunlight. Again using "fully reinforced" frames can reduce this.

Aluminium offers the following advantages...

* Virtually no maintenance over its long lifetime
* Slim, strong sections that will not warp or twist
* About one third the expansion of PVC-u
Its main disadvantage is that it's a relatively poor insulator. (However thermal break aluminium frames are available which offer better insulation) It is also usually more expensive than PVCu .