How To Replace UPVC window hinges

Most double glazed windows have what we call friction stays, or window hinges, and these are very popular amongst the majority of upvc windows you will find these days, and historically too. Here we are going to show you how to find the correct set of UPVC window hinges to replace those on your current window.


Measure the overall width of the track on the fixed frame.

Measure the overall length of the track on the fixed frame.

Check for top hung or side hung orientation.

Quick troubleshoot section.


A set of UPVC window hinges is always sold as a pair for one window.

The moveable arms are usually longer on side hung hinges compared to top hung hinges.

Each and every individual hinge has to be fitted to the correct side of the window. So the arrow on the hinge is the direction of the window opening. You will be supplied with a pair that contains one of each. Check the video below for more guidance.

Standard hinges have a stack height of 13mm but some are 17mm. You will recognise the difference by checking the arm that fits to the opening frame. If there is a 'dip' in the arm then it will be 17mm. You can measure this as the thickness of the hinge when closed. In some cases you will have to select the 13mm or 17mm size at the point of ordering so check the hinge to be sure. When we say stack height we are generally referring to the depth of the window hinges.

The first corner fixing holes on the track and the arm are generally standard but the others aren't. No need to worry as new holes can be re-spotted easily enough for the remaining holes. Check the diagrams of each hinge if you want to know more. In short use the first holes on both frames.


Measure the friction stay track width

Generally speaking most upvc window hinges are a standard size of 18mm these days, but some double glazing hinges on older upvc or aluminium windows are actually 15mm. So make sure you measure this size carefully.

Do remember it is the outer most size of the track and not the inner size that you need.

If you want to change to other types of friction stays then this is possible. Typical examples are restrictor hinges and egress window hinges. The most important determinant in order to do this is the hinge track width. Otherwise if you are just looking to replace your upvc window hinges then it is easy enough to use a standard size hinge.


How to measure the friction stays length

This step is really easy to do. All you need to remember is that it is the total length (including the end cap) of the friction stay track on the fixed frame. We generally don't worry about the arm length fixed to the opening frame.

Upvc window hinges are generally sold in the old imperial inch sizes, but it is easy enough to convert to millimetres (x 25.4). When measuring you can quite easily round up to the nearest inch increment and feel safe with that size.

Some older sizes may not be found like a 10 inch side hung window hinge. If you have the room inside the window rebate then you can use the 12 inch instead. All that happens is that you sacrifice a small amount of geometry that moves the window out slightly more into the middle but not by a great deal.


The two most popular hinge thicknesses, by some way, are the 13mm and 17mm sizes. You may need to measure this depending on the hinges you are purchasing as this will be prompted at the point of ordering. The easiest way to determine this is to look at the arm on the opening window frame. If there is a kink or dip in the arm then it is usually the 17mm size. The 13mm arm will be completely flat.


How to determine top hung or side hung friction stays

This one confuses everyone! Side hung window hinges are fixed to the top and bottom of the window. Top hung window hinges are fitted to the sides of the window (left and right). See the diagram opposite to confirm this. To help you further the position of the window handle usually confirms this also - handle on the side means a side hung window. The above is correct when viewed from the inside of the window not the outside.

If you are wondering why there needs to be a difference between top hung and side hung window hinges then consider the weight on the bottom hinge. All the weight of the window is on the bottom hinge and so the hinge is designed differently.  By this we mean a load bearing washer is incorporated to help the window glide under the higher degree of weight. This is compared to a top hung window where the weight is equally distributed on the sides.



H03 - Easy-clean fire escape hinges

H04 - Restricted window hinges

H05 - Egress fire-escape window hinges

Restricted Window Hinges For safety

Handing for H04 restricted window hinges

If you are replacing standard upvc window hinges with a restrictor version then follow this handing diagram as the side hung window hinges only have one restrictor at the bottom and so are handed. Top hung hinges have a restrictor on each side to ensure safety from falls. This is particularly the case against a larger window where a hinge can open and twist under force. All of our restricted window hinges have a release button to open the hinge fully. Restrictor window hinges are suitable for any window with upvc window hinges at the moment, just follow the steps above to find the size and orientation needed. We don't supply fire escape hinges with restrictors as this will need approval by your Building Control officer.


The window doesn't close correctly leaving a gap in the corner.

The hinges have been opened incorrectly and placed on the wrong side of the window. Always check you are opening the hinges in the direction of the arrow only before fitting. If you open them incorrectly they can be returned to their correct position and re-fitted. Watch the video above for more.

My window seems to scrape metal against metal when closing

This is a common case of a top hung window hinge being used on a side hung window. Side hung window hinges have an integral bearing for higher weight capacity to assist the sliding motion of the bottom window hinge.

My window has rivets but I want to use screws

You are best advised to maintain the same fixing method as there is a reason why they are being used. Most, if not all, aluminium windows are held onto the frames by rivets.

Replacing a pair of upvc window hinges is a relatively straightforward job for most people if you follow the basic guidelines. With so many of these hinges having been used over the years on double glazed windows, and the fact that there has been some standardisation, the job is not as difficult as you would first imagine. So here we show you how to ensure that you select the correct upvc window hinges by size and orientation where appropriate. Although most of the time you will find this hinge on upvc windows they have also been used on aluminium and timber windows. In the rare eventuality that the window hinges are not the same as the type indicated you can send a picture to our Technical Support team who will happy to advise you further.

The screw threads won't tighten any more

You will probably have experienced at some point that the screw threads in the upvc window can strip very easily so you need to be prepared for this eventuality. In this case use larger screw threads made specifically for upvc frames. These screws can re-cut the thread form back into the frame. This is a similar problem with window hinges and their screws on timber frames. Repair screw packs are available for upvc window hinges from the website if needed.