Windows, Doors and Patio Doors Repairs and Maintenance

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Please note: Most of the answers we feature here are from 1999 - early 2002. We endeavour to keep all links etc up to date, however if you spot any errors please let our webmaster know at It should also be noted that some replies may change in light of changes to legislation especially with regards to Planning Permission and Building Regulations. To submit a new question or to query an existing question visit

Question submitted by Richard

Can a cat flap fitted into a double glazed door. I am moving to a new house and want to fit one there.

This question answered by the Windows Today editorial team - You don't say if what material the door is. We are guessing PVCU? Generally speaking fitting a cat flap into glass is not recommended (you or your cat are likely to destroy seal and the sealed unit may "mist up") Most people remove the sealed unit and fit a PVCU panel in its place.

Fitting a cat flap into a PVCU panel is quite easy and really not a whole lot more difficult than fitting in say a timber door. Most people do this themselves although we do know of some "double glazing doctors" (service engineers specialising in repairing replacement windows which are outside warranty etc) fitting catflaps on a regular basis. As of 20th February 2001 and excluding cost of cat flap most service engineer / double-glazing doctors would charge 40 - 60 to fit. (Some will have a minimum call out charge so don't be surprised if the cost is a little higher - although we have known of some charging less than above.) The challenge we find is - finding someone willing to do work - most Double Glazing companies are not interested - its usually only DG doctors / service engineers / handypersons who are interested in this work. Alternatively as we said earlier DIY.

Question submitted by John

How do I change the glass on a double glazed son broke both panes and the inside frame seems to be sealed.

This question answered by the Windows Today editorial team - Its our guess that you may have aluminium windows. Some aluminium windows and more especially doors are glazed using a "wrap round" method.

Basically rather than use a glazing bead on either the outside or inside a supplier assembles the aluminium frame a round the sealed unit. This is done at the manufacturing stage and the windows/doors arrive on site already glazed. The aluminium frame will be mechanically fixed in the four corners by means of screws. To remove the glass you will need to undo the screws. This can be quite "tricky" and our advise would be to employ a double glazing repair service if you don't feel confident with this. You may also need to replace gaskets at the same time as they will often have "perished".

It may be worth checking to really make sure that you don't have glazing beads. You mentioned that the inside frame was sealed - have you checked on the outside?

Question submitted by Kal

I've got a PVCu door and would like to replace the lock, in particular just the barrel with a new one. The question is how do you replace it?

This question answered by the Windows Today editorial team - To remove existing barrel open the door. At the same level as the barrel you will find a locating screw in the side of the door sash. This screw holds the barrel in place. Remove the screw. Now place the key in the barrel and turn it either slightly to the left or right (about two o'clock position). In this position you should now be able quite easily to 'wriggle' the barrel out of the lock. You need to insert the key in the barrel as most barrels are 'off set' - i.e. they will not come out in the 'straight up' position.

If you have lost the original key - you may wish to consult a locksmith. Alternatively (and this can be 'tricky') drill the barrel out using a high-speed drill. Be aware that some companies now use special 'anti drill' barrels - so this can be quite a job. Best to have lots of spare sets of keys!

You can purchase new door barrels from most door suppliers - typical costs are 10 - 20.



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