Whilst in the middle of my own house renovation project, I have learnt a lot about replacement window companies, both good and bad, how it works – well almost! I hope the key points listed will help guide you through the maze.
1. Decide on the style of the window, to suit your home. (if the property is listed, in a conservation area or area of outstanding natural beauty you will have to submit your intentions to the local authority for permission prior to any works. If you don’t then you maybe asked to remove them and install acceptable windows). Look on Google, Houzz, Homify and Pinterest for attractive house facades and houses similar to yours for ideas and inspiration. Remember that the window forms the character of your home. Installing the wrong window may devalue your property.
2. The windows not only give the house it’s character, but the ‘feel’ of the rooms on the inside. Millions of period homes had their original windows replaced because they were rotten and draughty with uvpc in modern designs, which were totally inappropriate. These windows are now gradually being replaced again with the original style, but with improved designs, insulation and security.
3. Decide on the material and colour of your window. Aluminium, steel, UVPC, hard wood or an aluminium exterior with a painted interior from VELFAC http://velfac.co.uk/domestic/. I had not heard of a VELFAC product before, and was much cheaper than full aluminium windows. However they could not supply the roof lantern and glass roof I needed. This could have been sourced separately from another company, but felt it easier to deal with just one company. All have their own pros and cons and vary in cost. Not only between materials, but also by suppliers and manufacturers. Available colours are on a RAL chart, which is a universal colour chart used by manufacturers. Not all colours will be available for UVPC it will depend on the individual company. Most RAL colours are available for aluminium windows. http://www.nationalcoloursupplies.com/section.php/57074/?gclid=CO7Q4YWn0MQCFcjHtAoduk0AwA
4. If replacing existing windows and the aperture sizes are not be altered the window installer will come and measure, then make the windows. If building an extension or altering the window sizes the company will not measure or make the windows until the aperture is built. The windows can take from 2 -10 weeks to make from order depending on the company. This poses problems of security, and boarding up windows to keep the elements out.
5. If you send scaled drawings to companies for quotes, some will just send a quote back based on what you have sent, without specifying or recommending handles, openers, hinges and fire regulation openings ( upstairs windows have to have an opening of minimum to allow room to climb out of in the event of a fire).
6. If choosing aluminium windows check the outside cills. I wrongly assumed they would be aluminium, but later discovered from one company that I had to choose between tile creasings or oak. Oak at £106.00 per metre plus vat, on top of the original quote for the windows. Why wasn’t this mentioned before? Why would I want maintenance free windows with cills that needed to be maintained? Tile creasings, although maintenance free have the material and labour cost to be added to the window costs.
7. There is more flexibility if the window company manufacture and install their own windows. Some companies just manufacture and have a list of installer local to your area. If you go through an installer, who measures and orders the windows from a manufacturer they appear to be more limited on being able to provide bespoke changes you may want – i.e. size and position of astragal bars. Sometimes this option is not offered, so ask.
8. Installers generally have limited ranges in their showrooms. It is vitally important that you see the windows, how they’re made up and what system they use. You wouldn’t spend all that money on a car without seeing it would you?
9. A good installer, and or manufacturer should take the time to discuss your individual requirements, suggest ideas, details and then provide a written quote. A written agreement for both parties to sign should also be provided.
10. Bi- fold and sliding doors should made from aluminium and not UVPC as it’s far stronger and durable. If choosing bi- fold doors, check that just one door can be opened if required (a let the dog out door if you like). Some configurations only allow all the doors to open, and not just one.
11. Ensure that the installation company are FENSA approved, and will provide a certificate to you when the installation has been completed.
12. Obscure glass for cloak rooms and bathrooms should also match the design of your window and home style. There are many designs available, my favourite is sand blasted obscure. Pilkington Glass have a great brochure which illustrates how the glass looks in situ. https://www.pilkington.com/en-gb/uk/products/product-categories/decoration/pilkington-texture-glass
13. Choose a front door in keeping with the design of your windows and home. You can choose to have the same of contrasting or toning colour to your windows. A contrasting or toning colour will make the front door stand out.