FAQS

With so much choice, choosing your next home improvement can be a little daunting.  Let us help you make an informed decision by answering some of your key questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Our friendly advisors are always happy to answer any questions you may have. You will find answers to some of the most common questions they receive below.

What’s the difference between PVC Windows, PVCu Windows and UPVC Windows?

There is no difference whatsoever and to be absolutely correct it is PVC-U and neither of the above!

In the UK UPVC changed it’s name to PVCU in the late 1980’s to fall in line with other European countries. It seems that they were all calling it call it PVC-U because European languages mostly place the noun (being PVC in this case) before the adjective (U).

The ‘PVC’ part of it stands for Poly Vinyl Chloride. The ‘U’ stands for Un-plasticised. Poly Vinyl Chloride, which we know as every day ‘PVC’ is modified and can then be used in the manufacture of products such as bags, shoes and also fake leather. It is the use of this material which has made us familiar with the abbreviation ‘PVC’.

Pure PVC-U is not quite suitable for replacement windows and doors. A small amount of additives are required, necessary to provide longevity, high weather and UV resistance, and also to achieve a white colour making it ideal to use for the production of windows and doors.

What’s the difference between casement and flush windows?

Firstly, a casement is the moving part of a window – the bit that opens and closes.  Standard (or ‘lipped’) windows feature casements that sit proud of the surrounding window frame.

The increasingly popular flush casement window features casements that sit completely level with the frame for a neater, more understated look.  The difference is clear to see if you compare the two windows side by side – why not pop into one of our showrooms to see the difference for yourself?

Should I choose Double Glazed or Triple Glazed Windows?

The obvious difference between double and triple glazing is the panes of glass within the unit – double glazed has two and triple, as you would expect, has three.  There are pros and cons to be considered with both options, and we’d recommend speaking to a Pennine advisor to determine which is the most suitable option for you.

Typically though, triple glazing is better at retaining the internal heat in your home and preventing cold spots.  With the correct combination of gaps and glass thickness, it can also to some degree help with noise reduction, although if you live on a busy road there are other potential solutions that you should also explore.

One thing to bear in mind is that the cost difference between double and triple glazing is significant – so it’s definitely worth talking it through with our team who can help you determine the right windows for you.

What colours do your replacement windows and doors come in?

Gone are the days when all windows had to be white!  Our replacement windows and doors come in a huge range of colours and finishes to suit your style.

If white or cream floats your boat, then great.  But if modern and stylish is your thing, then greys, greens and blacks such as Anthracite Grey. Hazy Grey, Matt Black and Olive Grey are really on trend.

We also have beautiful collection of wood grains, such as the rich, dark elegance of Rosewood or the brighter oak effect colours, along with smooth finishes and standout, statement colours including Chartwell Green, Dark Red and Steel Blue.

All of our windows are also available in colour combinations, so you can have the outside in one colour, and the inside another, if you wish.

I hear a lot about energy rated windows! What does ‘A’ and ‘A+’ rated windows mean?

Window Energy Ratings (WERs) use a consumer-friendly traffic light style to help you determine how energy efficient your window will be.  Think of it as similar to the energy ratings you find on white goods in your home such as fridges, freezers, washing machines etc – using a scale of A+ – G.

A+ rated windows are the most energy efficient windows available in the UK as defined by the BFRC Rating Scheme.  This is the UK’s national system for rating the energy efficiency of windows and is recognised within the Building Regulations as a method to show compliance for your replacement window installation.

Look out for windows that carry A or A+ rating so you can be sure they will keep your home comfortably warm and energy efficient.

All new or replacement windows require a minimum WER of C or above.  Ask your Pennine advisor for further details and they’ll be only too happy to help.

What does U-Value mean?

A U-Value, in simple terms, indicates how well your window will be at retaining the internal heat within your home and preventing it from escaping to the outside.  U-Values are measure in Watts per square metre, or W/m2 K. The lower the U-Value number, the better the heat retention of the window.

All new or replacement windows require a minimum U Value of 1.6 W/m2 K.  Ask your Pennine advisor for further details and they’ll be only too happy to help.

What does Secured by Design mean?

Secured by Design (SBD) is the official police security initiative that works to improve the security of buildings and their immediate surroundings to provide safe places to live.

SBD’s product-based accreditation scheme – the Police Preferred Specification – provides a recognised standard for all security products that can deter and reduce crime.  This includes domestic windows and doors, and the components within them such as locks, hinges etc.

Our sister manufacturing company, Conservatory Outlet (part of the Conservatory Outlet Group) is a registered member of Secured by Design and many of our products have been tested to meet the demands of the standard.  Please ask your Pennine advisor for details if security is a particular concern for you.

Do you make your own windows?

Yes, Pennine is part of the Conservatory Outlet Group of companies, and its sister company Conservatory Outlet is one of the leading manufacturers of UPVC and aluminium windows in the UK.  All of our windows are manufactured in the UK at Conservatory Outlet’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

Having such a close relationship with our manufacturer means we retain close control over our supply chain – ensuring the exceptional, quality of our innovative product range is maintained at all times.

Is Pennine a member of FENSA?

Yes, Pennine are members of FENSA (Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme). FENSA has been set up by the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) and other industry bodies with Government encouragement in response to the current Building Regulations for England and Wales.

When having windows and doors replaced homeowners must comply with current thermal performance standards and ensure that they get a certificate of compliance from FENSA or from Local Authority Building Control.

FENSA also enables companies that install replacement windows and doors to self certify compliance under these Building Regulations.

Are all composite doors basically the same?

No, they’re not.  Standard composite doors are generally 44mm in depth, and are foam filled.  They have GRP colour skins (commonly known as fibreglass) and are relatively lightweight.

Solid Core composite doors are generally 48mm in depth and are made of laminated layers of timber, making them more robust and durable than foam filled doors.  They also have UPVC skins which means you can achieve a perfect colour match with your door frame.

It’s worth bearing in mind there is an uplift in price from one to the next – speak to your Pennine advisor for the right type of composite door for your needs.

Can I have a different colour on the inside to the outside?

Yes, in most instances you will be able to choose a different colour on the inside of your door to the outside, so for example you could have white inside and red outside.  Or, green one side and blue the next!  Whatever floats your boat!  A Pennine advisor will be able to help you confirm your choice is available.

How many keys do you get?

You get 3 keys as standard with any of our doors – you can request additional keys upon placing your order with us, or have more keys made later, the choice is yours.

Can I have the keys so they’re same key for both doors? (Suited)

Yes, absolutely.  Just let your Pennine advisor know upon ordering and they can ensure your keys are suited so the same key works for both doors.

What does Secured by Design mean?

Secured by Design (SBD) is the official police security initiative that works to improve the security of buildings and their immediate surroundings to provide safe places to live.

SBD’s product-based accreditation scheme – the Police Preferred Specification – provides a recognised standard for all security products that can deter and reduce crime. This includes domestic windows and doors, and the components within them such as locks, hinges etc.

Our sister manufacturing company, Conservatory Outlet (part of the Conservatory Outlet Group) is a registered member of Secured by Design and many of our products have been tested to meet the demands of the standard. Please ask your Pennine advisor for details if security is a particular concern for you.

What does a 3-star rated door barrel mean?

3*s is the highest rated door cylinder on the market and is rigorously tested for maximum security against break-ins.  Our door cylinders feature our unique snap-secure technology with lockdown mode to prevent the barrel from being compromised.

Can French doors fold back completely?

Yes, you can order your French doors with an egress hinge which allows you to fully fold back your doors for a beautiful view of the garden.

Should I choose sliding patio or bi-folding doors?

If you have a large opening at the rear of your living space, bi-folding doors and sliding patio doors are both great options for opening up your room to the outdoors.  Bi-folding doors fold completely back for a full opening into your garden.  Sliding patio doors have slimmer frames, which means even when they’re closed you have a more uninterrupted view of the outdoors.  Speak to a Pennine Advisor who can help you choose the right option for you.

What’s the difference between a conservatory, an orangery and an extension?

The million dollar question!  The truth is, the lines have become blurred in recent years and quite simply, your living space can be whatever you want it to be.  Traditionally, you would consider a conservatory to be mainly glass – glass roof, glass walls, and afford a stunning view of your garden and the sky.  These days however, you can also have a tiled roof conservatory for added warmth and comfort, and dwarf walls for added insulation.  There are also a huge variety of options for solar control glazing to ensure your room doesn’t get too hot or cold through the seasons.

An orangery generally incorporates brick or aluminium pillars for a little extra privacy and warmth -lending itself to a more luxurious feel.  Orangeries also tend to feature a pelmet around the roof of the structure which again adds a little more thermal insulation to your room.  Anything goes when it comes to roof style!  Opt for a glass lantern, solid tiled roof or anything in between!

Home extensions tend to be designed to look and feel more like a natural extension of your home.  Many incorporate more of a solid feel with more brickwork – and often (but not always) will feature a solid tiled roof of some kind.  These days though, roofs can be truly hybrid, incorporating full length glass panels and/or Velux windows for added light and ventilation.  Generally, extensions are chosen for their year-round useability, keeping them comfortably warm whatever the weather outside.

But who needs labels anyway!  Speak to a Pennine advisor and we’ll be only too happy to create something unique to you.

Should I choose a tiled roof or a glass roof?

This totally depends on how you plan to use your room, which direction it faces, and your budget.  If its plenty of natural light and a lovely view of the garden, then fear not – solar control glazing has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years and there are plenty of glazing options that can keep your room at a comfortable temperature.

For a truly year-round extension feel, a solid tiled roof is a strong contender – especially when you consider adding full length glass panels or Velux windows – a real hybrid between solid and glass roof with a combination of benefits from both options.

Speak to a Pennine advisor about the best option for you that meets your requirements and your budget.

Will it be too hot in summer and too cool in winter?

All of our living space products are designed with year-round comfort in mind.  Gone are the days of the old polycarbonate roof which makes for a make-shift green house for the majority of the year!  Solar control glazing gives you some great options that can make a real difference, but if you’re really concerned about achieving a year-round extension, then a tiled roof will probably be the best option for you.

Do you manufacture your own roofs?

Yes, Pennine is part of the Conservatory Outlet Group of companies, and its sister company Conservatory Outlet is one of the leading manufacturers of roof products in the UK. All of our roofs are manufactured in the UK at Conservatory Outlet’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.

Having such a close relationship with our manufacturer means we retain close control over our supply chain – ensuring the exceptional, quality of our innovative product range is maintained at all times.

Can I choose different roof tiles to match my home?

Yes, absolutely.  We have a range of shingle and slate roof tyle options for you to choose from.  We can even match the roof tiles on your existing property if you require.  We also have a number of flat roof membranes available.  Speak to a Pennine advisor for further details.

What is solar control glazing?

Solar control glazing incorporates a clever coating on the glass that prevents excessive heat from being transmitted into your room, whilst also stopping your internal heat from escaping.  We have a number of different tinted options which will give you varying degrees of light transmission and heat retention depending on your needs.  Speak to a Pennine advisor for further detail.

Can I match to my existing bricks?

Our Pennine team will obtain the closest brick match to your existing property and check this with you before any works commence.  Please do bear in mind that there may be weathering and manufacturing differences between existing and new bricks.  If the closest match isn’t what you want, you do have the option to have your new brickwork tinted, but be aware that this will incur additional cost.

Do I need Building Regulations Approval?

Most extensions of properties require approval under Building Regulations.  There are a number of classes of extensions that don’t – but fear not.  Pennine will send a surveyor experienced in planning and building regulations to advise you of the options and requirements needed for your extension.  Pennine will also arrange Building Regulations for you by approaching the relevant local authority.

Do I need planning permission?

An extension or addition to your house is considered to be permitted development, not requiring an application for planning permission, subject to certain conditions are met, typically these are:

  • The ground area covered by the extension and any other buildings within the boundary of the property, excluding the original house, is not more than half the total area of the property.
  • Any part of the extension is not higher than the highest part of the roof of the existing house.
  • The eaves of the extension are not higher than the eaves of the existing house.
  • Any part of the extension does not extend beyond any wall facing a road if it forms the principal or side elevation of the original house.
  • The eaves are no more than 3 metres in height if any part of the extension is within 2 metres of the property boundary.
  • The materials used in exterior work, except in the case of a conservatory, are of similar appearance to the existing house.
  • An upper floor window on a side elevation within 15 metres of a boundary with another house is obscure glazed; and is non – opening unless the parts which can be opened are more than 1.7 metres above the floor of the room in which the window is installed.
  • A side extension does not exceed 4 metres in height or be wider than half the width of the original house.
  • In a single storey extension
    • the extension does not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by more than 4 metres for a detached house or 3 metres for any other type of house;
    • the height of the extension does not exceed 4 metres;
    • no part of the extension is within 3.5 metres of any property boundary with a road opposite the rear wall of the house.
  • In an extension with more than one storey
    • the extension does not extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by more than 3 metres;
    • no part of the extension is within 7 metres of the property boundary opposite the rear wall of the house;
    • the roof pitch of the enlargement is as far as practicable the same as that of the original house.
  • If you live in a house within a conservation area, World Heritage Site, area of outstanding natural beauty or National Park-
    • no part of the exterior of the house is clad with stone, artificial stone, pebbledash, render, timber, plastic or tiles;
    • the extension is not more than 1 storey or 4 metres in height;
    • no part of the extension extends beyond a principal or side elevation of the original house

How long will it take to build my new living space?

It is really difficult to estimate how long a particular build will take, dependent on planning requirements, and the complexity of the project.  Please ask a Pennine advisor or ask for a copy of our ‘What happens next’ guide for an indication of timeline.

What is a test dig?

The purpose of a test dig is to ascertain local ground conditions to ensure they are suitable for a traditional concrete base and foundation prior to starting your build.  Where the ground is found to be suitable we will advise on an alternative foundation proposal such as a specialist pile foundation or concrete raft.

What is a cavity tray?

A cavity tray is a series of high level damp proof courses that bridge a wall cavity to direct moisture to the external face of a wall where the extension roof joins the house wall.  Essentially, a cavity tray prevents moisture that penetrates the outer wall from appearing in your new extension.

Should I choose a tiled roof or a glass roof?

This totally depends on how you plan to use your room, which direction it faces, and your budget.  If its plenty of natural light and a lovely view of the garden, then fear not – solar control glazing has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years and there are plenty of glazing options that can keep your room at a comfortable temperature.

For a truly year-round extension feel, a solid tiled roof is a strong contender – especially when you consider adding full length glass panels or Velux windows – a real hybrid between solid and glass roof with a combination of benefits from both options.

Speak to a Pennine advisor about the best option for you that meets your requirements and your budget.

Should I replace my frames too?

If you’re going to go to the trouble of replacing your old conservatory roof for something more modern and thermally efficient, it makes sense to replace your windows too – otherwise you may risk compromising the warmth and comfort your new roof could achieve.

Why invest in a new roof, and settle for outdated, drafty and inefficient frames – create a new lease of life for your old conservatory!  Speak to a Pennine advisor and we’ll work out an excellent deal for incorporating more energy efficient frames in the same process.

What are replacement tiled roofs made of?

Replacement solid roof systems are typically prefabricated so that the installation process can be conducted quickly and efficiently, meaning minimum disruption is caused at your home. Each is bespoke to fit the style and measurements of your existing conservatory.

The roof system is comprised of a pre-engineered lightweight frame, insulating panels, insulated fire-grade plasterboard and exterior grade plywood and an impenetrable membrane.  The roof can be finished from tiles of your choice, or solid panels to give you a more natural looking extension that blends with the look of your home.

What is a Clad over roof?

A Clad over roof is sold by some cheaper companies as a conservatory roof improvement for thermal reasons. It can take many forms but never involves removing the old structure. This is not good practice because conservatory roofs are only designed for ‘light loads’ and not snow build-up which a well-insulated roof will allow.

Clad Over Issues

  • Weight: Clad over solutions can be too heavy for the existing frames as they use heavy timber, insulation materials and tiles. Any old conservatory needs to have a roof that is lightweight. The lightest solid roof systems weigh around 31KG/M².

Tip: Always ask your installer for the total unit weight of the new roof per Sq.M

  • Fire Safety: By their very nature, ‘clad-over’ systems do not meet current fire safety regulations as they are never effectively fire tested as a complete roof structure, which is necessary to meet this part of building regulations. The original structure varies from job to job which means that only individual components could may have been tested. Solid roofs must be classified as AC, AB or AA in accordance with BS476-3.

Tip: Ask to see the fire safety certificate of the entire roof system before you commit to the project.

  • Building Regulations: Clad over systems do not generally get Building Regulation Approval due to their low thermal value or structural integrity. Do not confuse this with planning permission which is often not necessary. You are required to notify Building Control if you are making a change to any structure (including replacing a glass or polycarbonate conservatory roof with a solid roof) their approval ensures your new roof is structurally sound.

Tip: Check that local Building Control has been informed before the conversion starts. Obtain a Building Regulations ‘Final’ Certificate and file it in a safe place.

Will my new roof still be too hot in summer and too cool in winter?

All of our roof products are designed with year-round comfort in mind.  Gone are the days of the old polycarbonate roof which makes for a make-shift green house for the majority of the year!  Solar control glazing gives you some great options that can make a real difference, but if you’re really concerned about achieving a year-round extension, then a tiled roof will probably be the best option for you.

How much will it cost to replace my existing roof?

You should expect to spend anything from £5,000 for a small conservatory roof, to £12,000 for a larger one.  Don’t forget, there are many ways to spread the cost of your new roof over monthly instalments to suit you.  Pennine has a handy finance calculator which can help you work out an easy payment plan that matches your budget.

How long will it take to replace my existing conservatory roof?

A tiled solid roof replacement can be installed within a few days with minimum disruption to your home.

Do I need planning permission to replace an existing roof?

Planning permission is not needed to change your roof on an existing structure, but Buildings Regulation Control is a mandatory requirement, a property sale cannot be made without this.

Do I need Building Regulations Approval?

Gaining Building Regulations approval from your local authority means you can be sure that the system installed has been rigorously checked by a government approved building control inspector to ensure the roof is installed correctly and is structurally safe and thermally efficient.  You will also have peace of mind that should you come to sell the property in future, there won’t be any issues with unauthorised works that may hold up the process.

Do you offer finance to help me pay for home improvement?

Yes. To make life easy for you, Pennine can arrange a variety of affordable and convenient easy payment finance options (subject to application & status). Applying for finance is simple and we promise you a quick decision. Everything can be sorted out with you in the comfort of your home or at your local Pennine Showroom, so you can enjoy whatever you’ve set your heart on right away.

What do we need to do when our finance is approved?

If you’re arranging your own finance, you’ll need to call us as soon as you get the go ahead. If you’re taking up one of our offers, the company will tell us both directly, so there’s no need to call as we will get in touch with you.

What happens if finance is refused?

Finance companies can turn down people for lots of reasons, for example if you’ve moved several times over the past few years. In these circumstances, we always do our best to help and sometimes it’s worth trying another provider, especially if they know you.

I’ve applied for finance with Pennine. How long will approval take?

Sometimes our finance company will say ‘yes’ almost immediately and on other occasions it may take them a few days. This short delay can be for any number of reasons and you should not be unduly concerned.

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A little wear and tear is part of everyday life so, every 12 months, for the first two years, we’ll keep a comforting eye on you and your Pennine product.

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If the locks on your Pennine door ever fail, just give us a call. We’ll come and let you in anytime, day or night, and fix the fault.

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Pennine is proud to be the North East’s very first to offer a 20 Year Guarantee. Not only that, you will also be covered for both moving and non-moving parts. Our confidence in our products and dedication to our customers means we’ll be there for you well into the future.

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