Welcome to the Double Glazing Guide
Fitting double glazing to your property will change the visual appearance of your home considerably. You should choose a window style that matches your property and enhances its looks. This is particularly important with uPVC and Hardwood designs when they are fitted to older properties. It’s a good idea to look at properties similar to yours in the area and compare the effect of various replacement window types. It is also a good idea to make sure you have sufficient number window openers.
Always ask your window company how long it will before your new double glazing will be installed, and how long they have been in business. It’s also a good idea to have checked this out as with any investment it’s important you have some form of security from a rock solid guarantee.
One major problem with the double glazing, replacement windows and home improvement business is that anyone with a white van and a ladder, some tools for the trade can easily call themselves a window company. Many do not even bother to get FENSA registered or obtain adequate public liability insurance.
These white van installers do not require any premises; they can work out of their shed, back yard or just out of their garage. It’s easy to get into the window business and it’s even easier to get out of the window business. For this reason in particular we only recommend you deal with established double glazing installers who have a supporting structure. Don’t fall as a candidate for a company that runs away with your deposit or leaves you with no guarantee.
Fitting insulated replacement windows will provide sound and heat insulation consist of (two panes of float glass separated by an aluminium spacer bar) caling the unit double glazing.
However, if your main motivation for fitting double glazing is to reduce sound then secondary glazing could just be adequate enough for your requirements. However when choosing double glazing for sound insulation the greater the air gap the better the sound insulation becomes. This rule changes when the air inside the gap is replaced by some form of inert gas. For an insulated replacement window we suggest you consider windows with a 20mm air gap therefore making a double glazed sealed unit 28mm. Beware - there are some windows on the market with air gaps as little as 12mm.
Some industry companies offer a guarantee to saving on fuel bills, by purchasing certain windows with high performance sealed units. These cost a bit more but offer a good long term return on investment.
If you chose uPVC for your replacement windows make sure to use 100% virgin uPVC, as opposed to reprocessed or recycled uPVC extruded from a variety of used polyvinyl products. Recycled uPVC will be cheaper but will not have the same colour fast guarantees as virgin uPVC. The recycle plastic tends to be the window frames you see that have gone yellow in colour.
Don’t accept the first price you are quoted always ask the sales man for a better deal. Also find out if there are any manger special offers as the larger double glaxing companies taget there managers on a day by day profit and loss margin. If a manager is near a target sometimes you can get a better deal from home thanb you can from the salesman. So ask to sopeak with the manager after you think you have the best deal from the salesman.
Get at least two or three quotes if you have the time to put up with the sales people involved. Research all of the alternatives in terms of products, styles, guarantees, types of glass available.
Where practical try to visit a showroom or view other work carried out by the company. Alternatively ask to speak to other customers on the telephone or see letters of reference. Do bear in mind however that the company is going to give a reference that will be complimentary. Try and ask specific questions such as –
Did they turn up on time?
Was any thing missing and how quickly was this rectified?
Did they leave the site clean and tidy?
Most companies will require a deposit with order. The norm is 10%. Avoid paying larger deposits than this unless your work is particularly a one of out of the normal installation and very specialised. Check out the Guarantee and what it covers. It’s always best to ask a window supplier to show you the gaurentee in writing.
Always ask about the type of locks and security features being fitted. Most modern insulated replacement windows feature security locks ( multi point shoot bolt ).
With PVCU windows in particular you will often hear a lot of stories in favour of using an internally beaded window against an externally beaded window. Clearly if the beads holding in the glass are on the inside of the window it will be more difficult for a burglar to remove the glass and enter your home. Do note however that some suppliers of externally beaded windows will fit special glazing gaskets and sometimes they can fit special glass clips that hold the glass in place which can only be removed from the inside of the property. Also internally glazed windows can be as much as 15% more expensive than externally glazed ones. Internally glazed frames tend to be of a bulkier build as well.
Rarely will the cheapest price be the best for you in the long run. When comparing like with like quotes also take into comparison how long the company has been established and the strength of their guarantees.
Ask your window supplier if you will be responsible for making good around the new frames when they are fitted. Most suppliers will include this as part of their work; but you should check as this can be extra hassle you didn’t expect.
Whilst uPVC and Aluminium window frames are virtually maintenance free please note that the hinges and mechanical parts such as locks will need regular lubrication. WD40 is normally good enough for this once a year. The frames will also benefit from an occasional clean we recommend normal soapy water but please check with the manufacturer or installer of your double glazing. Special upvc cleaners are available from stores and direct mail companies like kleeneze.
For softwood frames you will need to paint every 2 to 4 years or, if you are using hardwood window frames, oil or varnish as appropriate.
Lee Croucher is the Founder of doubleglazingguide.co.uk – Uk’s number 1 home improvement guide websites. Easy to navigate websites designed for buyers of replacement windows, double glazing, fitted kitchens, garage conversions, driveways, rooftrim, fascia, guttering. More on double glazing gloucestershire