FAQS

Beginning your home improvement journey can be daunting. With new terminology and so much choice out there, it can be daunting – and not to mention alienating. To help, we’ve put together this FAQ section and answered some of your key questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to some off the most asked questions below. We’ve got everything covered, from the difference in energy ratings right through to the construction of our roof tiles.

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

The short answer is nothing!

Though strictly speaking, the correct terminology is PVC-U

‘PVC’ stands for Polyviynlchloride and the ‘U’ refers to it being Un-plasticised. Originally, we would call it UPVC, but this changed in the 1980s to PVCU to fall to ensure consistency with other suppliers and manufacturers across Europe.

Polyvinylchloride is used to manufacture a range of products, not just windows and doors. The substance is commonly used to make bags, shoes and also fake leather.

Pure PVC-U isn’t quite suitable as a material for windows and doors. A small quantity of additives are required to provide it with the necessary properties that make it the ideal to use in the production of windows and doors.

What’s the difference between casement and flush windows?

The casement referrers to the moving part of the window. Standard windows feature casements which sit proud of the surrounding frame.

In recent years, flush windows have become more and more popular. In these windows, the casements sit completely flush with the frame. This gives the window a neater, more classic look.

The difference between the two window styles is clear when you look at them side-by-side. Why not pop into our showroom to see for yourself?

Should I choose Double or Triple Glazed windows?

The obvious difference between double- and triple-glazed windows is that double glazed windows have two panes of glass and triple-glazed windows have three.

There are positives and negatives with both options – such as cost and thermal properties – and we’d recommend that you speak with an advisor to determine which is best for you and your home.

Triple glazing is better at retaining the internal heat in your home and reducing cold spots. With the correct combination of air pocks and glass thickness, triple glazing can also help with noise reduction. Though be aware that if acoustic properties are a key deciding point for you, there are other solutions that you can explore.

It is important to bear in mind that there is a cost difference between double and triple glazed windows. Our team will always speak with you to help you decide which windows are right for you.

What colours do your replacement windows and doors come in?

Thankfully, you aren’t stuck with white windows and doors anymore!

Thanks to modern technologies and people’s tastes changing, we’re able to offer a wide range of colours and finishes. There is no doubt that we’ll have something to suit your style!

We still offer traditional options such as white and cream, and these remain popular choices. But if you are looking for something with a more modern edge, then we can provide replacement windows and doors in statement colours including Chartwell Green, Dark Red and Steel Blue. And then there are the understated options of greys, greens, blacks and blues.

We also have a beautiful collection of wood grain options. This selection incorporates everything from the rich elegance or rosewood through to brighter choices such as oak.

Finally, you can choose to have different colours inside and out. The choice is almost unlimited!

There is a lot of talk about energy ratings when it comes to windows. What does ‘A’ and ‘A+’ rated windows mean?

Window Energy Ratings (WERs) use a consumer-friendly and easy-to-read traffic light system to showcase how energy efficient windows will be. Using a scale from A+-G, it’s very similar to the ratings you probably have seen on fridges, freezers and other home appliances.

A+ windows carry the highest rating, as defined by the BFRC Rating Scheme. This is the UK’s national system for rating how energy efficient windows are and, crucially, is recognised within the Building Regulations as a method to show compliance.

When choosing replacement windows, always look out for windows carry A+ and A ratings. That way, you know you’re picking a window that will keep your home warm and as energy efficient as possible.

All new windows must carry a WER rating of ‘C’ or above. Speak to one of our advisors if you’d like to learn more.

What does U-Value mean?

In simple terms, the U-Value indicates how well your window will be at retaining heat within your home.

U-Values are measured in Watts per square metre, or W/m2K. The lower the value, the better the window is at keeping heat in.

All new or replacement windows are required to have a U-Value of 1.6 W/m2K.

What does Secured by Design mean?

Secured by Design (SBD) is an official police security initiative that constantly works to improve the security of buildings and neighbourhoods.

The SBD accreditation (the Police Preferred Specification) provides a recognised standard for all security products that work to deter and reduce crime. This includes many of the products that we sell, such as windows and doors, and the locks, hinges and other components within them.

Our manufacturing partner, Conservatory Outlet, is a registered member of Secured by Design. Thanks to this relationship, many of our products are tested to meet the demands of this leading security standard.

If you would like to learn more, please speak with an advisor.

Is 5 Star a Member of FENSA?

Yes, 5 Star is a member of FENSA (Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme).

FENSA was set up by the Glass and Glazing Federation (GGF) and other industry bodies in response to the current Building Regulations in England and Wales.

When having windows and doors replaced, homeowners must comply with current standards relating to thermal performance and get a certificate of compliance through either FENSA or the Local Authority Building Control.

Are all composite doors the same?

No, they are not. Standard composite doors are usually 44mm deep, with a foam inner section that makes them strong and secured.

Extreme Solid Core doors are another type of composite doors and these are thicker still (48mm). These doors are made from interlocking layers of laminated layers. This makes them inherently strong and more durable. They are then finished in a hard-wearing UPVC skin.

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

Of course! We can accommodate different colours inside and out. Whether you want grey and black, grey and green, or even two wood grain finishes, we can manufacture it! The choice is yours.

A 5 Star advisor will be on hand to go over all the available options and designs for each door, so that you can create a door that’s uniquely yours.

How many keys do I get?

5 Star provides three keys as standard. We can order more sets – just let us know in advance and we can sort this out for you.

Can I have the keys the same for multiple doors? (Suited)

Yes! If you’d like to have the same keys for front and back doors (for example), mention this to us upon ordering and we’ll ensure the keys and locks and suited.

What does Secured by Design mean?

Secured by Design (SBD) is an official police security initiative that constantly works to improve the security of buildings and neighbourhoods.

The SBD accreditation (the Police Preferred Specification) provides a recognised standard for all security products that work to deter and reduce crime. This includes many of the products that we sell, such as windows and doors, and the locks, hinges and other components within them.

Our manufacturing partner, Conservatory Outlet, is a registered member of Secured by Design. Thanks to this relationship, many of our products are tested to meet the demands of this leading security standard.

If you would like to learn more, please speak with an advisor.

What does a 3-star rated door barrel mean?

A door barrel rated 3 Stars is the safest available. The cylinder itself is comprehensively tested to help prevent burglaries. It features snap-secure technology which, with its lockdown mode, prevents the barrel from being compromised and thereby keeping your home safe.

Can French doors fold back completely?

When ordered and installed with an egress hinge, our French doors will fold all the way back. If this is something you’d like, please mention this to the team when ordering.

Should I choose sliding patio or bi-folding doors?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question. It depends on what you want and we can help provide advice to help you decide.

Sliding patio doors require less materials for frames than bi-folds. So, if it is unobstructed views of outside that you’re after, sliding patio doors are the choice for you. However, bi-folding doors fold all the way back and can improve access to and from your property when open.

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

This is perhaps out most frequently asked question!

At one point, there used to be a clear difference between the three. However, with advancements in construction and design, those difference have blurred somewhat.

Traditionally, a conservatory would chiefly be a glass structure. That means predominantly glass walls (perhaps with some brickwork as a base) and a glass roof. Today, though, conservatories come in all shapes and sizes, and feature solid roofs as often as glass ones.

The main feature of an orangery is its pillars. They can be either brick or aluminium and provide a level of extra privacy over a traditional full-glass conservatory. An orangery also tends to have a pelmet around the roof, which helps insulate the inside space. As for roofs, anything goes!

On the other hand, an extension is designed and built to mirror the look and feel of your home. It will largely be built from brick and is generally (but not always) finished with a solid roof. Contemporary extensions can make use of full-length glass panels and Velux windows.

Whatever it is you’re after, we’re able to help. If you still need some guidance, speak to a member of the 5 Star team and we’ll be happy to design a living space that’s uniquely yours.

Should I choose a tiled or glass roof?

This depends on two things; how you want to use the room in question and your property.

If you want your living space to match your existing house in terms of look and feel, then a tiled roof is the way to do. The same can be said is privacy is a concern.

Yet if you’re wanting to open your home up to the outside world and maximise the amount of light in your living space, you can’t go wrong with a glass roof. That way you’ll get stunning views and enjoy the benefits of a room brimming with natural light.

However, you can go for a hybrid between the two! Why not consider a solid roof with full-length glass panels, Velux windows or even a showpiece glass lantern? As always, the choice is yours!

Will my conservatory or sunroom be too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter?

We know that the weather in the Highlands is a little more rugged than elsewhere in the UK and we’ve chosen our suppliers and products are with that in mind. All our living space products, roofs include

All our living spaces, including all types of roof, are chosen because they provide comfort all year-round.

Luckily, we are far removed from the days when polycarbonate roofs were standard issue. Solar-controlled glazing options have made a tremendous difference and help regulate the temperature of your living space. However, if you are especially concerned about the comfort of your room, we’d recommend a solid tiled roof.

d, are designed and manufactured to be comfortable all year round.

Thankfully, gone are the days of polycarbonate roofing. Solar-controlled glazing options have made a real difference and help to regulate the temperate of your living space. If you’re concerned, however, then we’d recommend going for a tiled roof.

Do you manufacture your own roofs?

All our roofs are made by our manufacturing partner, Conservatory Outlet.

Based in West Yorkshire, Conservatory Outlet is a leading manufacturer of living spaces and roof products in the United Kingdom. Thanks to our longstanding relationship with them, we retain close control over our supply chain and ensure that everything we offer meets the rigorous demands of our customers.

Can I choose different roof tiles to match my home?

Of course! Come and visit one of our showrooms where we’ll be happy to go through all the different options we can provide. Alongside tiles, we also can provide a range of flat roof membranes.

What is solar control glazing?

Solar control glazing is a specific type of glass that features a special coating that actively works to retain heat in your home whilst stopping heat from external sources (such as the sun) from transferring into your room. This type of finish helps regulate internal temperatures, stops rooms from becoming uncomfortably hot or too cold and helps make your home as energy efficient as possible.

We are delighted to offer several options of solar control glazing, each with a different level of light transmission and heat retention.

If you’d like to talk things further, speak with a 5 Star representative who’ll be able to advise on what specific glass would be best for your needs.

Can I match to my existing bricks?

We will always try to match brickwork where we can and when asked. Before any work starts, we’ll check with yourself and ensure that your happy to proceed.

Please bear in mind that your existing brickwork will have been in situ for several years (perhaps even decades or centuries!) and will have been exposed to the elements for that time. As such, there will be discrepancies between the old and new bricks due to the weathering process.

Do I need Building Regulations Approval?

Many forms of extension will require approval under current Building Regulations. But don’t worry – we’ll take care of everything.

As part of our service, we’ll send an experienced surveyor out to your home to go through, check and discuss all the relevant details surrounding your living space. We’ll also arrange for the necessary Building Regulations and paperwork by working with the local authority. It’s all part of the 5 Star way.

Do I need planning permission?

The majority of extensions and living spaces are considered permitted developments. These would not require an application for planning permission, as long as certain criteria are met.

Typically, those criteria are:

  • The area of the living space and any other buildings within the boundary of the property is no more than half of the total existing area.
  • The extension does not rise above the highest part of the existing house
  • The eaves do not exceed any existing eaves
  • The extension or living space does not go past any road-facing wall if it forms the principal or side elevation of the house.
  • All materials used are of similar appearance to the existing property.
  • An upper floor window on the side elevation features obscured glazing and is non-opening unless it is 1.7 metres above the floor of the room.
  • An extension on the side of the property does not exceed four metres in height or is more than half the width of the original house.

 

In a single storey extension:

  • The extension in question doesn’t extend beyond the rear wall of the original house by more than:
    • Four metres (detached property)
    • Three metres (any other type of property)
  • The height of the extension doesn’t exceed four metres
  • No part of the extension is within 3.5 metres of any boundary with a road opposite the rear wall of the house

In an extension with more than one storey

  • The extension does not extend past the rear wall of the house by more than three metres
  • All the extension lies within seven metres of the property boundary opposite the rear wall of the house
  • The roof pitch of the enlargement is the same as the original house, or as close as possible.

If you live in a house within either a conservation area, World Heritage Site, Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) or a National Park:

  • No part of the extension is clad with stone (including artificial stone), pebbledash, render, timber, plastic or tiles
  • The extension is no more than one storey or four metres high
  • The extension does not go beyond the principal or side elevation of the original house

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

It is difficult to given an exact timeframe as each home improvement project is unique and depends on different factors and planning requirements. Once everything is finalised, we can give rough estimates and we’ll always aim to complete the work to the highest imaginable standard as quickly as that allows.

What is a test dig?

A test dig allows us to determine what conditions are on site. The results of this will dictate what type of base and foundation is suitable for the work and ensure that we’re fully prepared to start building your brand-new living space.

What is a cavity tray?

A cavity tray is a type of damp-proof course that bridges the cavity in a cavity way. It prevents moisture from permeating the inner wall.

Should I choose a tiled or glass roof?

This depends on two things; how you want to use the room in question and your property.

If you want your living space to match your existing house in terms of look and feel, then a tiled roof is the way to do. The same can be said is privacy is a concern.

Yet if you’re wanting to open your home up to the outside world and maximise the amount of light in your living space, you can’t go wrong with a glass roof. That way you’ll get stunning views and enjoy the benefits of a room brimming with natural light.

However, you can go for a hybrid between the two! Why not consider a solid roof with full-length glass panels, Velux windows or even a showpiece glass lantern? As always, the choice is yours!

Should I replace my frames too?

As a rule of thumb, we would advise you to. If you are getting a new roof for your living space then it makes sense to replace your windows and frames too. Why get a modern and more thermally efficient roof if you’re still going to be relying on old frames and outdated glazing?

However, the decision is yours and we’ll always respect it

What is a replacement tiled roof made from?

A new tiled roof is prefabricated to ensure the installation process is as quick, hassle free and causes minimum disruption.

The system itself is made up of several parts, including a pre-engineered, lightweight frame; insulating panels; fire-grade plasterboard; and a specialist membrane. The finish of the roof is either tiled to your choosing or fitted with solid panels.

What is a Clad over roof?

A clad over roof is sold by other as a cheaper alternative to solid or tiled roofs. We recommend that these are avoided as they are not structurally safe enough to bear much weight.

Other problems with a Clad over roof include:

  • Weight: Clad over solutions can be surprisingly cumbersome and too heavy for an existing conservatory structure. The existing conservatory should have been built for a specific roof and adding a heavier, clad over option could cause problems. Thus, lighter options are recommended. The lightest solid roof that we can provide weighs around 31kg/m2

Tip: Always ask your installer to list the total weight of the new roof per square metre.

  • Fire Safety: As they are not tested as part of a complete structure, clad over systems do not meet current fire safety regulations. The original materials used to build a conservatory, extension or living space etc. will vary. Any test will have been conducted on individual components and not the structure as a singular entity. All solid roofs must be classified as either AC, AB or AA, in accordance with BS476-3.

Tip: Prior to committing to any home improvement project feature a new roof, ask to see the fire safety certificate of the entire roof system

  • Building Regulations: Structures with clad over roofs tend to have Building Regulation Approval reject due to their poor thermal performance and/or structural integrity. This is separate to planning permission, which is often not necessary (though this can vary on the property itself, extension and the local authority). When replacing a roof, you are obliged to notify Building Control and check it is structurally secure.

Tip: Check with Build Control that they have been informed about the impending works and keep your final Building Regulations certificate in a safe place!

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

All our living spaces, including all types of roof, are chosen because they provide comfort all year-round.

Luckily, we are far removed from the days when polycarbonate roofs were standard issue. Solar-controlled glazing options have made a tremendous difference and help regulate the temperature of your living space. However, if you are especially concerned about the comfort of your room, we’d recommend a solid tiled roof.

How much will it cost to replace my existing roof?

As always, it depends on the size and complexity of the project. However, experience tells us that the cost to re-roof a smaller conservatory is around £5,000 and this can rise to over £10,000 for a larger one.

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

As long as everything progresses smoothly, it should take a few days to replace an existing roof.

Do I need planning permission to replace an existing roof?

Planning permission is not required yet Building Regulation Control is.

Do I need Building Regulations Approval?

Building Regulations approval means ensures that your system has been installed correctly and checked by a government-accredited inspector.

Having this certificate also means that if you sell the property in the future, there won’t be any issues with unauthorised or undocumented work.

Do you offer finance to help pay for home improvements?

Yes, we do. To make your project more affordable, we offer all our customers a range of finance options (subject to application and status).

Apply for funding for your home improvement through 5 Star is a simple process.

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

If you are applying for finance through us, we’ll inform you of the approval directly. If you opted to sort your own finance out, just call us as soon as possible and we can begin to get things moving.

What happens if finance is refused?

Timescales can vary. Sometimes we get an answer almost immediately. At other times, it could take a few days to come through. If you’re waiting, don’t worry. The delay could be for any number of reasons and you shouldn’t be concerned about the fate of your application.

I’ve applied for finance with 5 Star. How long will the approval process take?

Sometimes, we get an answer almost immediately. Other times, it might take a few days. If you’re waiting, don’t worry – the delay could be for any number of reasons and you shouldn’t be concerned.

5 Star Windows & Doors PROMISES

5 Star never fails to deliver on its promises. Yes, they’re very bold promises, but we believe it’s only right that you get the best products and best service.

TRANSPARENT SERVICE

We know that you need to feel like you can completely trust 5 Star. By being honest, transparent, and working extremely hard, you will have full confidence in our company.

Ethos of 5 Star Windows & Doors

Everyone working at 5 Star is expected to adhere to our ethos of always providing excellence to every customer. Our employees will go the extra mile to accomplish your objectives, with a tailored service.

20 Year Guarantee

5 Star is amongst a very small group of home improvement specialists to supply a 20 year guarantee. This covers both moving and non-moving parts. It demonstrates the confidence we have in our manufacturing standards. It’s good for you to know we’re there for you.

Price Promise

You will find our products to be very competitively priced for what you get. But, if you do manage to get a cheaper quote from elsewhere that has similar service standards, just let us know within 14 days and the difference will be refunded.

VISIT YOUR LOCAL 5 STAR SHOWROOM

Everyone is welcome to come in and browse around our showrooms, where our friendly sales team will be pleased to help with any questions you may have over a cup of coffee.

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