5 Things to know Before Buying Replacement Windows
A quick Replacement Windows Buyers Guide
Buying replacement windows is often one of the first things folks do when they get a “fixer-upper” property.
Changing the windows is also high on the list of home improvements that can make your home look much better, help lower heating bills and even help sell the property faster.
If you are thinking of changing them, here are 5 Things to know Before Buying Replacement Windows.
1) Decide what material you want.
The three options you have are Timber, UPVC or Aluminium.
Timber windows come in soft or hardwood. Softwood windows need a fair bit of maintenance, but can be quite cheap (comparatively). Hardwood replacement windows are costlier than softwood, but are very durable and score well in the visual appeal department.
UPVC replacement windows are exceedingly popular. This is probably due mainly to their combination of availability, value for money, lifespan and design choice.
Aluminium replacement windows, especially the latest examples, offer great visual appearance, very long lifespan and perform well in the energy efficiency area. Prices for Aluminium windows would be on a par with hardwood and costlier than UPVC or softwood.
2) Decide what style would suit your home.
There are 4 popular window styles, those being French windows, Vertical Sliding Sash, Casement or Tilt & Turn.
Casement windows are fitted almost everywhere. They are mainly, outward opening, side hinged windows. You can have them hinged at the top or bottom and these are known as Awning or Hopper windows respectively.
French windows are basically a pair of casements fitted side by side into a single frame. They typically open outwards, but you could have them fitted to open in.
Vertical sliding sashes are windows that move up and down on tracks to open & close. A standard Sash will feature 2 window sections, one above the other. The top section will slide down; the bottom section slides up.
Tilt & Turn Windows are a variation of casement. They open in 2 different ways. One way is like a regular casement, but opens inward. The other is by tilting the window backwards from the top to allow for a lot of ventilation. You can’t tilt & turn at the same time.
One variation is fast becoming more prevalent, and that is the Bifold window. Bifold windows operate in the same way as Bifold doors by sliding and stacking to one side or the other of the frame. The effect is great once open because it leaves the frame completely clear of obstruction, as the windows are completely folded away to the sides.
3) Decide what “extras” you need or don’t need
There are a couple of points to bear in mind here, aesthetics (looks / appearance) and energy efficiency.
The aesthetics or visual appearance of your windows is obviously very important and there are a number of elements that can increase the base costs.
Coloured UPVC or Aluminium may come at an added cost, as will timber grain finishes. White is always the cheapest option.
The energy efficiency is a key element of any replacement window, however, this can be further enhanced by certain features.
- Low emissivity glass (low-e) can improve heat retention / heat deflection.
- Gas filled sealed double glazed units – designed to lower heat & sound transfer.
- Warm edge spacers. These are the things that hold the twin panes apart in the double glazed unit.
- 28mm gap sealed units (double glazing) more energy efficient but costlier).
- Triple glazing – three panes instead of 2 gives better insulation.
You can add all the “bells & whistles” to your replacement windows that you like, but bear in mind that the extra cost may not be recouped by the savings made on your utility bills.
Opening windows – most often there is a charge made for “openers”. If you don’t need a section to open, then why pay extra for it?
4) Don’t make a hasty decision.
Over the years, rightly or wrongly, the “double Glazing sales rep” has become synonymous with high pressure sales techniques.
Things are not as bad as they were back in the day, but just in case you feel under pressure, remember that if the deal is genuine then if its’ there today, it will also be there tomorrow. A reputable installer will give you a quote valid for at least 7 days (maybe more). So never make a decision “on the night”
Try not to be over influenced by price. Cheap is not necessarily bad, nor expensive good & vice versa. If you can see you are getting value for money, that is a better way to decide.
It’s the same idea with quotations, try not to jump at the first one. It’s way better to get at least 4 or 5 quotes from different installers so you can compare what’s on offer and decide which offers the best deal for your circumstances.
Have a budget in mind & try to stick to it. If you allow an extra 10% for unforeseen issues, then that is sensible.
5) Work with Accredited Double Glazing Companies
Badly fitted double glazing will waste your money, no matter how good the windows themselves are. Any installer who values their business will have gone through some sort of accreditation.
There are industry trade bodies that asses their members for competence and financial stability and also ensure that they provide worthwhile guarantees for clients. The most easily recognisable of these are:
Look for your installer to be accredited by one or more of these trade bodies and you should avoid ending up with a “cowboy builder”.
The installers on our panel all carry accreditation and we can arrange multiple free written quote for you to compare, just click the button below and send us a few simple details.