Ahh, double glazing. Double glazing issues have taken over a lot of my time recently. There is such a huge variation in quality of product, and standards of service it’s difficult to know where to begin. So, I thought I would share some tips I have found along my double glazing travels.
Firstly, if you are in an older style property which has sash or period style windows, please please consider getting them refurbished. In the long run it is often much cheaper. Windows can still be double (and sometimes triple) glazed along with draught proofing and sealing, making them just as good as their plastic equivalent. You won’t have to deal with anywhere near as much disruption or expense, and you can get to feel all virtuous by helping save the planet too.
I have to admit I am a bit of a purist. I like things to look symmetrical. For me, the appearance from the outside is equally as important as the finish inside. Double glazed windows should compliment the home not fight with it in style terms. If you look hard enough you can find the better quality more expensive windows for a similar cost to the cheaper ones.
If at all possible, ask if the new windows can be fitted to the old sub frames. This can save you about £100 per window because of less labour and time to fit.
Set your budget and stick to it, don’t go over it just because the salesman has a finance offer. In the long run it will cost you more, as ‘discounts’ given are claimed back via the interest & fees or they are simply already included in the quote. I’ve had quotes from £1,800-5,000 for the same job and the same quality windows!
Do you want casement or sash style? Casements are windows you push out to open, and are hung either from the side or top of the frame. Sash are older style windows and either slide up and down to open, or they “tilt and turn”- enabling you to clean the outside glass from the inside. Tilt and turn are the most expensive option-adding at least £100 per window to the cost.
If you want a traditional sash look but need to save money there are casement windows (ones that push out to open) which have ‘sash horns’ on. Casement are generally cheaper than sash windows due to the manufacturing process and mechanisms used.
Profile Is Important
In other words the thickness of the UPVC surround. Some UPVC is very thick and can look really out of proportion, particularly in period property or if set in a small bay window.
The “sight line” is basically how equal and symmetrical the windows look as a whole. Some windows in the row will look chunkier than others if you don’t have equal amounts of opening windows in a row either vertically or horizontally. However, this can be improved by fitting non opening or ‘dummy openers‘ so as to create an equal sight line. By law, at least one window will need to open though for fire escape and also for air flow. The more opening windows you have, the higher the cost. The trick is to have enough opening windows whilst not spoiling the balance overall.
Fitting opening windows to the side of a bay and dummy windows to the front can get over the problem and can be cost saving measure too. Another way to achieve the same is by utilising vertical equal sight lines. This means fixed windows are always positioned above fixed windows, and opening above opening windows, although in my opinion they look better with horizontal sight lines.
If you want to know more about UPVC itself you may be interested in our Double Glazing-Does It save Money? article.