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Installing double glazing and new window frames is a great idea if you want to boost the energy efficiency of your home, or cut down on noise pollution, but new UPVC windows can be a significant investment. This is why, before you choose an installer, it pays to do your homework. Here are a few suggestions for questions you should ask your window installer.
The pictures that you see in a catalogue probably look good, but it can be hard to visualise how those same windows will look in person. Being able to visit a showroom will help you assess the quality of the products on offer and ensure you make the best choice for your property.
Can you choose from just a handful of window configurations, or can you tweak them to suit the layout of your home, and your lifestyle? Are there an array of colours, styles and materials to choose from?
Word of mouth recommendations from friends and family are the best way to choose an installer, but if you don’t know anyone who has had windows fitted recently, you should look for the next best thing – testimonials from real customers. Ask your prospective installer if they will put you in touch with some past customers. In addition, check local review sites and Google Business pages (again for reviews).
Note: remember that some negative reviews are nothing to worry about (even the best companies will occasionally encounter a customer they cannot make happy, and unhappy customers tend to be more vocal than the happy ones). That said, if you see a large number of negative reviews all citing the same issues, that’s cause for concern.
If you live in a “conservation area” then you may not be allowed to fit UPVC windows. Talk to your local authority to find out if they have any restrictions on the kinds of building materials that you can use. It is important that you get planning permission for any major changes to your property. If you cannot have UPVC windows fitted, look at timber framed windows instead. High quality timber frames are still energy efficient and secure, and have a natural look that makes them suitable for conservation areas and period properties.
Good aftercare and a clear installation policy are essential. Get the installation company to give you a contract that lays out all of the tasks that are included in the price you have been quoted, and make sure you understand everything they say.
Any of these accreditations should ensure that a business uses good practices and will stick around should there be any complications with your installation.
The CE marking is the European safety mark, which is proof that the product you are buying meets the quality and safety standards set by the European Union.
This symbol must appear on any products that are made in Europe or intended for sale within Europe. Some sellers import cheaper products from outside Europe, and these products may not live up to those same safety standards. Confirm that the products you’re buying are CE-marked, so that you have the peace of mind that your windows are safe, durable and secure.
It is rare for people to need after-sales care once their UPVC windows are installed, but it’s good to know that if something goes wrong, or you need some advice, you will be able to get it. Make sure that the company you are thinking of buying your windows from has a responsive after-sales care line and a clear policy regarding answering questions and offering after-sales care in the unlikely event that they make a mistake or something unexpected happens during the installation process.
As of June 2014 government legislation dictates that all installers and surveyors must hold a Minimum Technical Competency card (MTC qualification). Find out more about the MTC qualification here.
Make sure that the company you buy your windows from has public liability and worker’s insurance, and that the people who will be coming out to fit your windows are fully trained. The longer the company has been in business, the better. New companies are not necessarily ‘bad’ companies, and there’s nothing wrong with a trainee coming along on the installation job if the rest of the team are experienced, but you would be right to be wary of a brand new company and a fitter that has just started after a “career change”.
If you are offered a deal that seems too good to be true, get a couple of quotes from other companies and see if they match up. Remember that getting poorly fitted windows replaced can cost you more money than it would have cost to have the job done right in the first place. A good set of good quality UPVC windows could last 30 years (or even 60 years), and they will add value to your home should you choose to move out, so make sure that you are happy with the windows, and with the company that installs them.
Want to know more about UPVC windows or arrange a consultation with a designer? We operate throughout the East Midlands and are happy to answer your questions or arrange a free, no obligation quote today.