Ten tips when considering replacement double glazing

Following are ten tips from industry professionals to help UK property owners get the best value for money deal when investing in replacement double glazed windows and doors for their home.

1. Nothing in life is â€Ŕfree”
Nothing is free, so whatever the inducement be it marketing scrappage schemes, â€Ŕfree” installation, no VAT (which of course legally has to be paid by the company you buy from to Her Majesty’s Government if the firm is VAT registered), they all might sound good but they all have to be paid for, so remember these will be built into the price of the windows or the â€Ŕextras”. It is therefore important to compare like for like specifications, as well as the entire offering.

2. Always try and negotiate
Whether it is on price, or on specification, it is always worth trying to negotiate to get the best product your budget can stretch to, it is always worth trying to explore the options to ensure you are comfortable with the investment decision you come to. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. You can always buy in phases to get what you want rather than try over-stretch your finances.

3. Buying Trade windows and doors can backfire
If you are prepared to take a risk, there can be a real saving from buying from trade counters and getting a builder to install your windows and/or doors. However, if anything does go wrong, it is likely to be with the installation, so if you prefer peace of mind then â€Ŕsupply only” is not the way to go, as you should get a far better and longer guarantee on both the product and installation, if you have your windows and/or doors supplied and fitted by a manufacturer.

4. Be sensible about potential energy savings
You don’t have to fork out on the highest specification windows to get a decent return on your investment, energy savings wise, which is why it is worth considering â€ŔC” energy rated windows. According to Pilkington Glass the money you will save on energy, by buying â€ŔA” rated windows rather than â€ŔC” rated, is around £600 over 20 years, depending on the size and type of property you have. It is likely your initial outlay to buy â€ŔA” rather than â€ŔC” rated windows will be greater than £600 anyway, so unless you are happy paying the extra to reduce carbon emmissons (as whilst â€ŔC” and â€ŔB” are highly thermally efficient, â€ŔA” rated windows is obviously the best in that regard), then â€ŔC” is currently your better financial option.

5. Conservatories or Orangeries
If you are prepared to do your own foundations, or know a good trustworthy local builder it may be cheaper to either a) do the base yourself, or b) get a builder who will offer you a guarantee to do the foundations, concrete floor/screed and any dwarf brick walls. If you decide to go down this route, ensure the base and walls are built exactly to the conservatory or orangery manufacturer’s drawings and specifications, as it will end up costing you a fortunate (and a lot of hassle) if they are not, so again weigh up if you are prepared to take the risk or pay a premium to deal with a well established double glazing supplier and installer who offer you the peace of mind you will get by ensuring you end up with a high quality long lasting product and a decent guarantee that actually means something.

Choosing the right replacement double glazing partner is not always about price
Choosing the right replacement double glazing partner is not always about price
6. Be very wary of “low cost” windows
Avoid cheap windows, look at the window company, ask how long have they been around and if you are 100% certain they will still be around in nine and a half years time to correct any manufacturing defects or problems with the fitting and/or product. It is always a false economy to buy cheap, instead go for a high quality product at the best price you can negotiate.

7. Getting it right first time round
Changing your windows is costly, potentially slightly disruptive and can be time consuming if anything goes wrong, so it is important to get the design and style right first time to avoid changing it in a few years or having problems selling your home if you opt for a frame colour or look that does not fit in with the surrounding properties and your road. If you are staying in the property for some time it make be worth investing in energy efficient windows or acoustic glass if you live near to a noisy road, railway, school or airport.

8. Remember to bargain
If you do not ask the right questions in the right way, you might not save as much as you could. Check that any “package deal” has not just ended or is just about to come up, so you buy at the optimum price possible.

9. Flexibility on timings can save you money
If you can wait for new windows, doors, conservatory or even an orangery, the best time to buy is usually around the beginning of December, as this is historically the quietest time sales wise for most UK double glazing companies.

10. Steer clear of high pressure sales tactics
National double glazing companies have been known to build in enormous discounts (and margins!) into their prices to help them pay their commission only representatives AND their sales manager, plus help them afford to advertise nationally. It is likely the representative you first see will be under “orders” to get you to sign before leaving your home. If you do manage to avoid signing on the dotted line, expect a call from their sales manager, who may well offer you part of the representative’s commission to â€Ŕencourage” you to order. If you turn this down, you may then get a call from the manager’s boss cutting out his commission as well as the reps commission in order to secure your business.

In my personal opinion it is better that you to look for an established local firm with a good name who a) do not use sub-contractors, b) do not build in discounts. Bear in mind that their first price will often be their genuine bottom line price, with anything else you can negotiate, coming out of their smaller margins or their sales representatives bonuses.

Whilst there is always “a deal” to be done, it does not always have to be on price, it can be on specification or delivery etc, especially if you have a preferred supplier in mind, as you will have selected them for a genuine reason and probably not just the price!


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