You likely have some questions about our company and products, and we have the answers! If there’s anything we haven’t covered on this page that you’d like to know, just flick us a message!

Note: Although we offer other product ranges like H3 Fusion, All Wood, and Clad Wood, the questions and answers on this page are specific to our most affordable, and most popular range – uPVC.

Questions about uPVC

uPVC is a lightweight, sturdy polymer that’s used in all kinds of building products – like fencing, cladding, guttering, and downpipes. uPVC is an excellent insulator, and far more energy efficient than the very best aluminium. In fact, it’s actually uPVC that’s used to create the ‘break’ in thermally broken aluminium joinery.

uPVC is sometimes confused with PVC, which is also a widely used building material. PVC stands for polyvinyl chloride, and is the world's third-most widely produced plastic. PVC was first synthesized in 1872 by German chemist Eugen Baumann, but wasn’t used commercially until the 1920s.

Modern PVC often undergoes plasticization, where chemical compounds called plasticizers are incorporated into the material. If no plasticizers are added, then it’s simply known as uPVC (Unplasticized Polyvinyl Chloride), or ‘rigid PVC.’

uPVC is known for having strong resistance against chemicals, sunlight, and oxidation from water. In the US and Canada, uPVC is referred to as vinyl.
Yes. uPVC windows were first used in the early 1960s, and became increasingly popular in the mid-1970s and 1980s in light of the energy crises of the day. uPVC was rightly seen as a much more energy efficient joinery material than timber or aluminium.

Those early uPVC windows and doors weren’t as advanced as they are today, and didn’t hold up well against intense sunlight. Engineers quickly realised that in order for uPVC windows and doors to last the many decades homeowners expected, they would need to add titanium dioxide to the uPVC – a kind of sunscreen – to allow it to withstand the harshest sunlight in the world.

Today, uPVC is the default choice for windows and doors for 80% of homes in North America and Europe. uPVC is also an increasingly popular choice in the middle east, India, China, South America, Australia, and even New Zealand.
To learn more about the differences between aluminium and uPVC joinery, visit our blog post: Aluminium vs. uPVC
Yes. While many people use uPVC and PVC interchangeably when referring to uPVC windows, there is a distinct difference.

uPVC (or PVCu) stands for ‘Unplasticized Polyvinyl Chloride’ and it’s what our windows and doors are made from. uPVC is non-toxic, rigid/strong, recyclable, and is used around the world to make many different building products. uPVC does not emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and is perfectly safe, healthy, and environmentally friendly.

However, when uPVC undergoes the plasticisation process, it then becomes PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride), which is a much more flexible material that isn’t suitable for windows or doors. PVC contains phthalates and BPA, which are added during plasticisation, and are indeed harmful chemicals.
No. The glass used in uPVC joinery is no different from the glass used in timber or aluminium joinery. If needed, any local glazier can supply and install glass in our uPVC windows and doors.
uPVC in general is excellent at resisting corrosion. This is especially important in places near the ocean, where saltwater sea spray causes steel, iron, and aluminium to corrode over time.

Our uPVC hardware, like all metals, is susceptible to certain types of corrosion and needs to be cleaned every so often to keep it in good working order.
Our uPVC windows and doors are available in standard white, tan, or clay. If you’re after something different and are prepared to pay for the upgrade, we also offer interior and exterior laminated finishes in black, exterior-only laminated finishes in a few more colours like silver or hunter green, and interior-only laminated woodgrain finishes. Laminated finishes have extended lead times and are quite a bit more expensive than our standard colours.

Due to the affordable price point, most of our customers choose standard white uPVC windows and doors, even if they wanted a different colour originally. People wanting a more modern look can adjust the colour scheme of their home to embrace the sharp black and white contrast that our uPVC provides. Alternatively, since our windows and doors look their best with timber casing on the outside, some of our customers have opted to paint the timber casing around their windows instead – creating a layered, visually appealing look.
Although uPVC is tried and tested around the world, unfortunately it is still relatively new and unknown to many New Zealand builders and architects. We’re happy to speak directly to your builder or architect to answer their questions and address any concerns. However, the choice is ultimately yours and the professionals you hire should support and respect your decisions. Their resistance might be a warning sign that they aren’t the right architect or builder for you and your project.
Yes, uPVC can withstand UV levels in New Zealand. All of our uPVC joinery has a minimum of 8 parts-per-hundred of titanium dioxide mixed in, as recommended by the Window and Glass Association New Zealand. The joinery we supply is sold in over 30 other countries around the world, including places with similar high UV levels, such as Australia, the United Arab Emirates, and the US state of Arizona.
Yes. Our uPVC windows and doors are 98% recyclable at end of life. Also, our windows and doors are actually made from up to 25% recycled uPVC themselves.

uPVC can be sent to Marley® New Zealand, where it can be recycled into downpipes and guttering. Glass from our windows and doors can be recycled with other glass, and the metal hardware can be recycled as well.

The only components from our windows and doors which cannot be recycled are the seals and draught stopping/weatherstripping.
Maybe. Our windows are a bit deeper than typical aluminium or timber windows, so you will lose some of the depth to your reveals. Depending on what type of blinds you currently have and how they’re installed, they might still fit.
Absolutely. The unique way our uPVC joinery installs makes it an ideal choice for renovations in any type of home. Classic Kiwi weatherboards, heritage homes, and villas benefit in particular from our uPVC’s thin frame profile which is designed to mimic the look of wood. From the street, our uPVC windows look nearly identical to white painted timber windows.

Questions about performance

Low-E glass helps improve the energy efficiency of windows, and protects your home from damaging sun fade caused by UV light.

Low-E glass is glass which has low thermal emissivity properties. Or, more simply, glass that doesn’t emit very much heat energy. To make low-E glass, one or more microscopic layers of materials are bonded to the glass surface, creating a low-E coating. Usually, these coatings are made up of different layers of silver, zinc, titanium, and silicon nitride.

Different low-E coatings can do different things. Some low-E is better at blocking harmful UV light from the sun, some is better at blocking heat from coming inside, and some low-E is better at keeping all that heat inside.
Argon gas is a tasteless, odourless, non-toxic, naturally occurring gas that is used to fill the space between two or more panes of glass. Adding argon gas filling between the glass helps improve energy efficiency, because argon is denser than air and doesn’t hold moisture.

Argon is the most popular choice for filling the space between glazing, and it is the most cost-effective. Some manufacturers also use krypton or xenon gas, which tends to be much more expensive while performing only slightly better than argon.
Yes. However, before you commit to spending more for triple glazing, you should consider simply upgrading to a higher performing low-E glass. Our double glazed windows and doors with upgraded low-E glass actually have better thermal performance than our triple glazing with standard low-E. But for the ultimate performance, triple glazing with upgraded low-E can’t be beat.
Our sliding and hung windows feature openings which can be large enough for people to escape during a fire. Our casement and awning windows also have special hardware which can be disengaged to allow for easy escape during a fire.

Windows with an ‘E’ symbol (shown on the drawings included in your quote) indicate windows which are ‘egress’ windows. That is, their openings are large enough for the average adult to fit through in the event of a fire emergency.

In terms of structural performance, uPVC is non-combustible and won’t catch fire. However, uPVC will begin to lose its strength when the temperature exceeds 100°C. At 180°C, the window will fail and the uPVC will begin changing shape as it melts. At temperatures beyond 260°C, uPVC becomes fully melted. This low melting point, compared to aluminium, is what makes uPVC a more environmentally friendly choice for recycling.

Questions about Ameribuild

We fully support buying local, however just because our competitor’s windows are assembled in New Zealand, doesn’t mean your money will actually be staying in New Zealand. Here are a few things to consider:

  • The uPVC windows and doors made locally and supplied by our competitors use imported uPVC extrusions from European manufacturers like AluPlast, VEKA, Deceuninck, and Kömmerling, to name just a few. While the frames might be assembled here, they are made from imported uPVC extrusions.
  • Much of the glass used in New Zealand is imported from overseas. While the windows and doors supplied by our competitors might be glazed locally, the glass itself is possibly imported from overseas.
  • If you’re considering aluminium windows, New Zealand’s only aluminium smelter at Tiwai Point is owned by an overseas company.
  • Although the joinery we supply is manufactured in North America, we’re a small, family owned business based in Wellington.
  • When buying from us, you will be supporting many small New Zealand businesses, such as freight companies, warehousers, and installation subcontractors.
  • By importing from the US, we take advantage of economies of scale and are able to supply you with high performance windows and doors at an unbeatable price point.
Yes. While importing joinery from some countries might not be the best idea, you won’t have any issues with the windows and doors that we source from North America. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Testing standards in North America are more stringent than those here in New Zealand, as the joinery has to be suited for a variety of climate conditions experienced around the US and Canada. This includes hurricane force winds and high levels of UV radiation.
  • The glass used in our windows and doors is supplied by Cardinal Glass Industries and meets the requirements of NZS 4223. All safety glass includes markings recognised and accepted in New Zealand.
  • Our uPVC joinery has been evaluated for compliance with the New Zealand Building Code and accepted by councils around the country when submitted with building consent applications.
  • We are based in Wellington and able to provide after-purchase care and support around the country.
In the unlikely event that Ameribuild were to cease trading in New Zealand, your windows and doors will still be fully supported by the US manufacturer. They can supply any parts required and liaise with you and a local subcontractor to manage repairs.
We source our products from some of the largest and most reputable North American joinery manufacturers: Sierra Pacific Windows, Wincore Windows and Doors, and WinDor Systems.

Depending on the manufacturer, the products are made in either California, Wisconsin, West Virginia, or Georgia. All of the windows and doors we supply arrive fully glazed and ready to install.

General questions

uPVC tilt and turn windows are distinctly European, and the uPVC window systems sold locally follow European designs. However, tilt and turn windows aren’t common in North America, where our windows and doors are manufactured.

To learn more about the differences between North American and European style uPVC joinery, visit our blog post: Is all uPVC the same?
When you retrofit, you’re simply adding new glass to the same old frames. If your windows are 20-40 years old or older, those frames are probably not going to live as long as your new glass, whereas a whole new insert or full replacement window will offer decades of useability. Retrofitting costs less up front, but you’ll still need to replace your old frames sooner, and your windows won’t be as energy efficient as a new, modern window.

While retrofitting might be more affordable up front, you will get much more value for money with inserts or full frame replacements.
Maybe. We partner with subcontractors around the country for installation, however we don’t have subcontractors in all areas. If you live rural or in a smaller regional city, we might not have a builder in your area. The installers we work with are qualified glaziers or Licenced Building Practitioners (LBPs).

If you have a preferred builder or would like to install them yourself, you have the freedom to do so. Our warranty remains valid no matter who installs the windows or doors, so long as they’re installed in a good and proper manner in accordance with provided installation details.
It depends on the number of windows and doors to be installed, how your specific windows and doors are meant to be installed, and the overall complexity of the job, including heights, hill sections, access, etc. Typically, a full house installation will take about a week (weather dependant).

Some clients prefer to use their own builder, or to install their windows and doors themselves. In those cases, we are able to provide installation details as needed.
Each of our manufacturing partners has a slightly different warranty. See our warranty page for full details.
uPVC windows and doors are often described as being ‘virtually maintenance free.’ That’s because they don’t require any special skills or equipment to maintain. A simple washdown with water and some minor cleaning is usually all that uPVC joinery needs to stay working.

Each of our manufacturing partners has slightly different maintenance and care requirements. See our warranty page for full details.
Yes. All of our windows and sliding doors come standard with insect screens, and they’re available as an optional upgrade to in-swing, bifold, and stacking doors. Our insect screens are unique from the third-party screens offered as an upgrade by our competitors.

Our window insect screens are fully integrated, meaning the window can be opened and closed without needing to retract or remove the screen. However, if you only want to use the screens during the summer, or prefer not to have them at all, you can easily remove them and store them away.

Sliding doors all have sliding insect screen doors. In-swing doors can have a swinging insect screen door, and bifold and stacking doors can have retractable screens.
None of our products are BRANZ appraised, since it’s not required by the New Zealand Building Code or any other building regulation. BRANZ Appraisals are a good marketing tool, but have no bearing on a product’s suitability for New Zealand or whether a product conforms to the building code. BRANZ appraisals are also quite expensive, and we would rather not raise our prices in order to pay to have our products appraised for no real reason.

There are a few misinformed builders and architects who think that BRANZ is the government body responsible for regulating the building sector in New Zealand – they are wrong. Building regulations are administered by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), and enforced by local councils through the building consent process.
Yes. To date, our windows and doors have been consented and approved by several councils across New Zealand, including Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. If you need specific documentation or general guidance for building consent, please contact us.
Yes, we have installation details available for a select few common installations. Please click here to request installation details. If we don’t already have suitable details, we can provide DWG files for your architect to create installation details specific to your project.
Probably. Most windows in New Zealand are some combination of awning and fixed windows, usually with one or two opening sashes sitting next to a large fixed window. While we can replicate this look, it is significantly more affordable to replace this type of window with a single sliding or hung window. Sometimes thousands of dollars less!

If you have an old heritage home or villa with sash windows, or awning windows that look like sash windows, our uPVC hung windows are a near-perfect match aesthetically.
Yes, however we can usually come up with a solution for any size opening. For example, for a window over 2800mm wide, a single window might need to be split in two and may need a solid timber mull post added.

Our awning and sliding windows are best suited for square spaces or horizontal rectangles. Our casement and hung windows are best suited for tall and narrow rectangles. We will always quote you the most affordable options first and provide advice in the early stages as to what opening styles will work best for your home.

Our doors can be as wide as 6 metres. However, since doors must be shipped upright, the maximum height we can do for a single door is 2600mm. Transom windows on top of tall doors will need to be added on site.
We don’t have a big, fancy showroom, a fleet of expensive trucks, or agents across the country. Our small Wellington-based sales team are available to answer your questions and talk you through our products, and we partner with local subcontractors for site visits and installations.

We do this to keep our costs down, and pass the savings on to you! That’s why our uPVC windows and doors cost so much less than our competitor’s joinery with the same features.

Give us a ring on 0800 263 742 today!
Yes. As long as you’re located in New Zealand, we can deliver windows and doors to you.
Yes. When the existing timber is in good condition, our windows can easily be installed as inserts. Unless you need full replacements, or specifically want full replacements, we will typically provide you with a quote for inserts.
No. Reveals on typical New Zealand windows are part of what holds the window securely in the wall. Our full replacement windows install using fixing fins that are nailed or screwed directly into the building framing. This means the fixing fins provide all of the structural support required, and you get a much more weathertight seal against the building.

With our windows, reveals are entirely for looks. Most of our clients add their own timber reveals at the same time as skirting boards, and other finishing work, but you can also go for a more modern look and GIB stop right up to the window frame.
Our windows do not come with head flashings. Thanks to the unique way our windows install, it may be possible to use the existing head flashings. If new head flashing is required, this can easily be ordered locally, and even powder coated to match the colour of the uPVC frames!

Save on energy costs with our windows & doors.