Fasteners used to manufacture and install windows and doors are instrumental in how well the installed product will look, function and perform long-term. Choose them well and you’ll save a lot of time and hassle, as well ensuring high customer satisfaction ratings.
Two main methods are available to fix window and door frames into the wall construction – fixings with plugs and those that are plug-less. Both are suitable for timber and PVC-U frames, with best practice being to position fixings at 600mm centres, with corner fixings being between 150mm and 250mm from external corners and a minimum of 150mm from the centre line of a transom / mullion.
Go plug-free – but choose carefully
Rapierstar advocates the plug-free route for a number of reasons. With its StarFix fasteners, all that’s required is a 6mm or 6.5mm pilot hole through the frame reinforcement and brickwork and the screw can be driven into place with ease. It saves times as there is no need to drill to accommodate a plug or anchor and plastic waste is reduced too.
Not all plug-free fixings are the same, however. When the screw is driven into the masonry, dust and debris is produced which must go somewhere, but it cannot if the thread height is the same down the length of the screw. This can lead to reduced grip as the thread may end up simply cutting into dust as the screw is driven deeper into the masonry, resulting in poor pull-out strength.
Choose ‘hi-lo’ for a secure, distortion-free fix
The solution comes with a ‘hi-lo’ thread form. Here the thread height varies to fulfil different roles – the higher level thread cuts into the masonry and the alternate low thread allows for dust to be compacted. This is the principle behind Rapierstar’s Starform™ self-tapping thread, used on all StarFix products, which provides ultimate grip and allows for multiple re-fixing without stripping the tapped hole.
The hi-lo thread form will also help to avoid unreinforced PVC-U frames from ‘jacking’ or twisting as the frame fixing is driven through. Some fastener threads may grip too much, and this can easily cause distortion of the profile if it lacks lateral rigidity in the absence of reinforcement.
Fastener considerations for window or door repairs
Don’t be tempted to use any old screw when attending to repairs! Windows and doors must be repaired using fasteners which are consistent with the lifespan of the window. For example, in coastal areas where the air is salt-laden, a window’s friction stays will need to be held in place with austenitic stainless steel fasteners to prevent rusting. If that is replaced with a carbon steel screw, a weak point will be introduced, and that screw may rust in just a couple of years.
With PVC-U frames, remember to use a larger fastener size than the one that is replacing. It may sound obvious, but we see examples where this advice is not followed, making it difficult to achieve a secure fix for handles, hinges and locking systems.
Fastener guidance to help you get it right
Rapierstar produces Recommended Fixing Manuals (RFMs) for all the major profile systems. These easy-to-use guides show exactly which fasteners to use to attach hardware, as well as when coupling assemblies and installing bay windows.
And even if you face a situation that isn’t covered by an RFM, there are more than 120 fastener types available from Rapierstar alone, one of which could be the ideal solution for whatever fixing challenge you are facing. For example, Rapierstar WSR self-drilling baypole fixings, available in lengths from 50mm to 100mm, are incredibly versatile and we know from feedback that installers use them for many different purposes, including when fitting cills.
For further advice on fasteners for window and door repair and installation please contact Rapierstar.