It’s been suggested that I get an approved supplier for Double Glazing Replacement Windows in Hampshire.
To be perfectly frank, I have never heard of a double glazing replacement windows approved supplier but assume like any other serious trade perhaps there is an ombudsman or union or such like that makes sure the window installers follow some rules.
What I really wanted to know then is what does it mean to me, (or what help is that to me?), and assuming I decide I want one, where do I then find this approved supplier?
It seems that supplier can mean the manufacturer, the company you buy the double glazing from and the people who are going to install it for you, assuming you are not putting it in yourself as a DIY job.
With what you read later you may not want to make it a DIY job so for most of us who are going to go to a recognised national or local company it will be a combination at least of the people we buy it from who also arrange installation.
Approved suppliers in Hampshire
The product itself i.e. the double glazing (window frames etc) must comply with the rules set by the British Fenestration Rating Council – this sets the energy rating – so look for this.
To be an approved supplier the seller and installer should be members of FENSA which is the Fenestration Self-Assessment scheme – this is a government approved body (owned by the Glass and Glazing Federation) and who have established the basic standards that every member must comply with. As the majority would not want to lose membership they are likely to comply which helps to protect you – the buyer.
Now the bit that may make you want to really use a FENSA member and not DIY.
All installations of double glazing replacement windows come under the rules of the Building Regulations and the installation MUST comply. If the installer is not approved by FENSA then YOU (the house owner) are RESPONSIBLE for getting the local authority to inspect and approve the installation – so I guess you can imagine the hassle if your installation fails.
In 2009, figures show that 22,000 double glazing related cases were reported to the OFT so my advice would be to grab as much protection as you can, and search, as there are organisations which are pleased to help and will point you towards approved suppliers.
Having gone through this lot and sitting comfortably with my new “approved supplier” on board do I know what I want and why I want it?
On the assumption that you now want to continue – what type of replacement windows are you after?
Tilt and turn windows
I think most of us who are not in the double glazing business would probably picture a classic tilt and turn window when imagining double glazing.
Tilt and Turn are a pretty modern innovation, and are very popular. They are particularly beneficial where it is not safe to open the windows outwardly such as perhaps a ground floor opening onto a pavement.
They often have a dual function handle which allows the “tilt” for secure ventilation, the “turn” for cleaning, and excellent safety features especially for fire egress. I have to say that when we had replacement double glazing installed at home we went for tilt and turn because it meant an easier escape from the windows – I have a real fear of being caught in a fire.
Sash windows or sliding sash windows have been with us for centuries and can be seen mostly in period properties and Victorian or Georgian style houses.
The modern double glazed sash windows do not suffer the problems that the originals had which was sticking and rattling and neither do you have the weights and cords which were originally a necessity to open and close the window.
This is what most of us will think of as a normal window in a house - these open away from the property and can be either left or right-hand opening.
As an open design they are good at letting in lots of light and are appropriate in design to take leaded top lights or coloured motifs which can make quite a design feature.
So what types of frames are going to be best for me?
Aluminium window frames
Aluminium window frames are not that easy see now and tend to be often limited to commercial buildings. They are pretty good for security purposes but as their popularity decreased, in the way of the world with supply and demand, they became an expensive option. They can suffer from condensation more easily than other types, and are more likely to be declined in conservation areas.
Wooden window frames
These are most often the choice of traditionalist and certainly a choice for period style properties, especially those in listed properties or conservation areas. Since some UPVC styles can offer Woodgrain finishes it is not the automatic choice any longer.
Wooden frames can be sumptuous and look very impressive but they can be expensive and many of us are put off because they will require maintenance, (all that regular sanding and painting / staining) and may be prone to adverse weather conditions. You should check on the types of joints used and the age and quality of the timbers used – cheaper materials may warp or split.
uPVC / PVCu / UPVC window frames
These are the newest boys on the block but interestingly enough are already what most of us think of. UPVC frames are very popular are frequently the least expensive option, incredibly durable and of course, require almost no maintenance. The plastics are one of the best insulates making them ideal for the purpose. UPVC never rots, flakes, rusts or fades.
Most commonly seen in white, the technology has increased the range so that it can also now be acquired in Woodgrain finishes such as Mahogany and Oak.
uPVC frames, PVCu frames or UPVC frames are very secure as they are difficult to break or damage.
So having looked at approved suppliers , the types of windows and the frames you should be well on your way to knowing what to look for and why – never be afraid to ask and don’t be afraid to walk away if you are not happy with the answers.
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