Double glazing is a really good way to invest in your property and it can save you money on your energy bills each year as well. However, the initial outlay can be very large so it is really important that you make sure you are getting the best possible value for your money before you commit to a specific supplier. These are a few things to bear in mind when you are getting double glazing quotes and choosing your supplier.
Check local regulations before getting a double glazing quote
Some buildings are not allowed to install double glazing; if your home is a listed building you may be affected by this regulation, meaning that you have to comply with certain aesthetic rules or cannot install double glazing at all. Some areas may also be designated conservation zones which also come with rules about the kind of alterations you can do to your home. A quick call to your local council or a visit to their website is the most reliable way to find out about regulations for your area, and is well worth a few minutes of your time as alterations that do not meet the local regulations will have to be returned to their original state at your own expense. Learn more about building regulations and double glazing installation.
Make sure you know what you want in advance of asking for a double glazing quote
If you have a definite idea of what you want in advance you will find it easier to negotiate with suppliers and contractors. As with any expensive purchase, you should do some research so that you have a good idea of the products available and the range of options you have. Most double glazing units have an energy rating between A and G that gives an indication of how efficient they are at reducing heat loss from your house. It may seem that a better energy rating, A is the highest, would always be the best option, but in actual fact the saving on your energy bill doesn’t always make up for the extra cost of A rated windows; a study indicated that when A and C rated windows were compared there was a 6.5% extra saving on your energy bill with the A-rated windows, but they cost 10% more to install. This will not always be the case, however, and the higher rated windows may have other benefits so do your research.
There is also a whole range of different materials that your window frames can come in, including uPVC, wood, and steel, all with their own negatives and positives.
- Wood is a renewable source for those concerned about their carbon footprint, but will need to be treated regularly to keep it in good condition.
- uPVC is tough and needs little maintenance other than wiping clean; some do not like the look of it, but there are some really good imitation wood finishes to be found if this is a concern.
- Steel is long lasting and tough, and is a great choice in areas of strong sunlight as uPVC frames can expand in these conditions.
Windows may also have gasses such as argon in the space between the panes which makes them more efficient, and many products will have coated glass called Low-E that does not affect the look of the window but does increase the efficiency of the unit.
Set yourself a budget, and have a firm idea of what you are willing to be flexible on. Make a list of points and questions that you want to ask before meeting a salesperson for the actual double glazing quote so that you do not forget anything important.
Approaching companies for double glazing quotes
The very best recommendation is a trusted friend or relative who has had double glazing fitted and was happy with the price, product, and service, so ask about. National companies and local companies both have benefits and negatives, so try and choose at least one of each.
Local companies tend to have a more personal approach and many people like to support local trade; they are also nearby if you have any issues. National companies may be able to offer a better price due to buying in bulk, but this is by no means always the case.
Check the credentials of the company; if they are not able to provide a certificate for your windows you will need to get the council out to provide this for you. Check the internet for company websites and consumer forums to find firms that have a good reputation and happy customers, as well as local papers and flyers for smaller local companies that may not have a large web presence. Get as many double glazing quotes as you can endure sitting through; three is the bare minimum for a good idea of the available prices and services.
Dealing with double glazing salesmen
Double glazing salespeople have a bad reputation that isn’t completely unfounded in truth, although there are plenty of good ones out there. It is pretty much impossible to get a proper quote for double glazing without a home visit; these are a few ways to make sure this is as stress-free as possible.
- Have a friend or relative with you if you are not entirely comfortable dealing with a potentially pushy stranger. Make sure they know what you are looking for and what your budget is.
- Always check the identity of the salesperson, if you are in any doubt call the head office to confirm, and don’t let them into your home until you are sure they are who they say.
- Stick to your guns; you’ve done the research in advance and you know what extras you want, as well as what you are willing to pay. Don’t be distracted by a good sales pitch and end up with extras you don’t want or need.
- Don’t be afraid to haggle; there will be some room for negotiation in the initial quote so have a go and see if you can get a higher energy rating or a discount on the price.
- Never, ever sign anything at the time of the quote, even if it is the last one and the best so far. Any genuine salesperson will be happy to give you time to think about it, so don’t be pressured by a quote that only stands while the salesperson is there.
The majority of double glazing salespeople will be fair and honest folk, but there are a few overly pushy ones about to watch out for. One tactic is to start with a ridiculously high price and then slash it in a ‘one off special offer’ as long as you sign up right away; if you meet this approach just politely but firmly say that you will consider it and ask what the price will be if you choose them in a few days’ time.
Keep your predefined list of ‘must haves’ in mind, don’t reveal your maximum budget if you can help it and keep the details of other double glazing quotes to yourself unless you want to use them to haggle; if the salesperson knows what other offers you have they can just slightly undercut them rather than giving you their best possible price.
Making your choice after receiving your double glazing quotes
This is the easy bit really, as long as you have at least three double glazing quotes that meet your requirements you’ll have a good idea of the options. Don’t always go with the cheapest; weigh up what is included in each quote, including the reputation of the company as you may decide it is worth paying a little more for a company that is recommended by a friend for their service and quality. Equally, don’t discard the cheapest double glazing quote if it matches the others in everything else then save you some money; the old adage that you should always pick the middle quote is nonsense!