Toe and heeling procedure to follow when fitting windows and doors

Most remedial work is necessary due to errors that occur during installation. Reduce site call outs and keep your customers happy by brushing up on the basics – including correct toe and heel procedures. Toe and heeling is necessary when fitting fully glazed, side-hung sashes such as exterior doors and casement windows.

What is toe and heeling?

Window and door sashes are heavy and, over time, the weight of the glazing can cause the sash to drop within the frame, eventually causing an inability for the door to lock. That’s why it’s necessary to toe and heel glazing when fitting windows and doors. Toe and heeling works by supporting the double glazed unit on the lock side with ‘packers’, or small rubber blocks. Placed at opposite diagonal corners on the inner frame of the window or door, packers help to brace the glazing within the frame, reducing pressure on the hinge side without the need for an unsightly brace across the panel.

Toe and heeling also helps ensure that newly fitted windows and doors do not catch when opening and closing.

Remedial work – refitting glazing using toe and heeling

The first signs of a dropped window or door sash are easy to spot. You might notice that a door is difficult to lock or a window sash is difficult to pull fully shut, due to misalignment within the frame. Usually a simple hinge readjustment is all that’s needed to fix the issue, however you may need to re-fit the glazing within the sash with the correct toe and heel packers in place.

How to toe and heel a window or door

Read our guide on how to install windows and doors, and refer back to this section when it’s time to toe and heel.

  1. When toe and heeling your door, ensure you secure the plastic packers in the frame using mastic to guarantee that the double glazed unit will be kept level when installed. The door will also be unable to drop, avoiding damage. Remember to factor in how heavy glass can be when lifting, we’d even recommend having a spotter just to be safe.
  2. After placing the double glazed unit in the frame, bead it partially and insert additional packers where required. This is where you can check that the door is not at risk of catching and will operate smoothly. Adjust if necessary by lifting or dropping the sash; lift by adding packers at the bottom of the hinge side and the opposite corner, drop by adding packers at the top of the hinge side and opposite corner.
  3. Add the rest of the beading around the frame, ensuring the beading is inserted on the interior side.
  4. Once fitted, if you find that the unit is able to move or rattles, remove the screws from the striker plate, turn it over and screw back in.
  5. Tighten or loosen the door hinges with an Allen key and replace the cap when finished. The same might be needed for the unit’s roller cams.

Toe and heel tips

When toe and heeling any door or window unit, the correct use of packers is essential. At Alex Trade we recommend the following points are adhered to.

  • Each locking point (hook, shoot or otherwise) must have packers set behind it on both sides of the double glazed unit
  • All packers must be fixed using silicone
  • If the distance between corner packers exceeds 800mm an additional packer should be used in the centre. For larger units, space between packers must be fixed at 800mm centres to support the extra weight.
  • Bridge packers (black) need to be used at the bottom of the frame also, so as never to block drainage.
  • Toeing and heeling a window and door requires the exact same process.

Troubleshooting

Problem: The door/window sash catches at the bottom of the frame.

Lift the sash
To lift the sash, fit the glass packers to the bottom corner of the double glazed unit (to the side & bottom) at the hinge side. At the opposite corner, to the top of the double glazed unit, fit glass packers (to the side and top). We recommend not doing it alone, as glazing weight can vary with each unit.

Diagram 2

Problem: The door/window sash catches at the top of the frame.

Drop the sash
To drop the sash, follow the same procedure as above except fit glass packed to the top corner at the hinge side and the bottom opposite corner. Still need help? Call our support line on 0161 482 2323 or get in touch using our contact form.