Double Glazing Buyers Guide
When choosing to install double glazed windows in your property there are many factors that must be considered. It’s not always a straightforward process to choose a double glazing company, and there are plenty of pitfalls to look out for along the way. In this buyers guide we’ll explain how to avoid dodgy sale tactics and get a fair price for your new windows. We’ll also cover some of the main double glazing FAQs.
How To Buy Double Glazing
Unfortunately, the double glazing industry has a reputation for underhand sales tactics and cowboy installers. It is possible, however, to get a fair quote for your new double glazed windows by following a few clever tips.
Double Glazing Sales and Quotes
Dropping The Price
A common trick amongst double glazing salesmen is to quote high initially and gradually drop the price over the course of a few visits or phone calls. It is possible for the price to drop by as much as 75% or £10,000 throughout the course of a sales pitch. You should always avoid signing a double glazing contract on the spot – always review the contract away from the salesperson and ensure that you are completely happy with everything.
Many of us don’t know how much double glazing should cost, and salespeople can take advantage of this if they become wise to the fact that you are unsure of typical prices. For average prices for common jobs and windows, check out our double glazing cost guide.
Double Glazing Grants
The Government has not yet announced any grants to help homeowners towards the cost of double glazing. There are many in the industry who are campaigning for a scrappage scheme to encourage customers to trade in older inefficient windows for new energy-efficient windows, similar to the scheme run by the automotive industry a few years ago. Any grants advertised for double glazed windows will be run by specific double glazing companies so bear this in mind before assuming that they are Government run shcemes.
How To Find A Double Glazing Company
Compare My Local can assist you in finding local, accredited double glazing companies using our price comparison service, however, there are some other ways to find a suitable installer.
- Ask friends and family for recommendations. If any of your neighbours have double glazed windows you could also ask them about their experiences, both good and bad.
- Always get more than one quote. Ideally, three quotes are best to get a good idea of average prices in your area.
- Ask to see previous examples of each company’s work in your local area.
- Compare suppliers as much as possible and check that their quotes are based on like-for-like windows with any additional extras and labour costs included.
- Once you have decided upon a supplier, don’t pay a big deposit or sign the contract on the spot.
The Double Glazing Contract
If you sign a contract with a double glazing company you have certain rights. If you signed the contract in your home then you have seven days to cancel it after signing under the “Cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumer’s Home or Place of Work Regulations 2008”. The double glazing company or ‘trader’ must explain your rights in writing and the seven days do not start until this has been completed. If the contract is cancelled, then any finance agreements arranged will also be terminated automatically. If, however, your windows are installed before the seven days have elapsed then you will have waived your rights to cancel. Also, remember that if you sign the contract at the company’s premises then you have no automatic cancellation rights. Before signing any contract make sure that you have been given the right to cancel and check to see what money you will forfeit in the event of a cancellation.
Buying Double Glazing – Your Rights
When buying windows from a double glazing company, there are certain laws in place to protect you as a consumer. “The Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982” means that any installation of double glazed windows shall:
- Be undertaken using ‘reasonable care and skill’.
- Be carried out using windows made with materials ‘of satisfactory quality’ which are ‘fit for their purpose’.
- Be ‘as described’ when you ordered them.
If your double glazing installer fails to meet any of the above conditions they will be in breach of their contract and you as the consumer will have the right to have the windows replaced or repaired, depending on what is necessary. You may need to write a letter of complaint to get the work rectified. The company will need to ensure that the repair work is completed ‘within a reasonable time but without causing significant inconvenience’.
Buying Double Glazing With A Credit Card
If you pay for double glazing, either the total cost or just the deposit using a credit card, then under the ”Consumer Credit Act 1974”, the credit company is just as liable for any breaches of contract as the double glazing installer. This Act also protects you if the installer arranges a finance agreement for you to pay for the double glazing, but not if you arrange finance yourself (e.g. by taking out a loan with your bank). One condition of the Act is that the contract must be more than £100 but less than £30,000.
Under this Act you will also be covered for misrepresentation – i.e. if the products are not ‘as described’ when you were sold them. An additional benefit is that you are also covered if the double glazing company goes out of business before the work is finished, allowing you to claim for any outstanding costs to get the work completed by another company.
Resolving Problems With Double Glazing Installers
If a problem with your windows does occur, there are certain steps that you should take in order to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. As soon as you realise there is a problem you should contact your installer by phone and follow up with a letter. Make sure that the company is aware of the problem and has confirmed with you what action needs to be taken and by when. Get this in writing. If the installer doesn’t rectify the situation by the agreed date then give them an ultimatum. If the problem is still not resolved it may be necessary to get another company to fix the problem and claim back costs from the original installer. You may need to take the issue to court to get everything finalised if they refuse to pay the costs. Make sure to keep all records and reports as evidence as you may need these to make a claim. There are third party organisations available to help you resolve problems.
The Glass and Glazing Federation
The GGF offers a conciliation and arbitration service and claims that 95% of cases are resolved via conciliation. The remaining cases are referred to an independent arbitration scheme. It is therefore important to make sure that whichever double glazing installer you choose to employ it is a member of the GGF.
As well as the GGF there are also other independent schemes, including The Glazing Ombudsman (TGO) and the Double Glazing and Conservatory Quality Assurance Ombudsman Scheme (DGCOS), so if your installer isn’t a member of the GGF check if they are registered with one of these additional schemes instead.
Double Glazing FAQs
What are the benefits of double glazing?
There are many benefits from installing double glazed windows. The main advantages include:
- Improved energy efficiency (up to 680kg of carbon dioxide emissions)
- Reduced fuel bills (up to £165 a year)
- Increased security
- Reduction in outdoor noise pollution
- Better retention of heat
- Reduced condensation
What is uPVC and what are the benefits?
uPVC is the cheapest and most energy efficient type of double glazing materials. It stands for un-plasticised polyvinyl chloride. uPVC is up to three times cheaper than wooden frames and is available in a variety of colours and finishes, with white being the most popular. Another benefit of uPVC is that it is recyclable and requires very little maintenance other than an occasional wipe with a soft cloth. While uPVC frames are the most durable type of window frame, those made from wood or aluminium are generally considered to be more aesthetically pleasing.
What other materials are available for double glazing frames?
Timber is a much more environmentally friendly option compared to uPVC, as it is a naturally renewable material. Wooden frames also have a more subtle appearance and look particularly nice on traditional or period-style properties. Although timber does look nicer, it is more expensive and needs more maintenance than uPVC. If they are looked after, however, timber frames can last for a long time.
I’m unhappy with the quality of my new windows but I’m told it is down to the subcontractors. What can I do?
If the double glazing company you employed to do the installation used subcontractors then they are responsible for the subcontractor’s work. The double glazing company must therefore arrange to have any problems corrected if the subcontractors failed to use reasonable care or appropriate materials. Any claims you raise will be against the original company, not the subcontractors.
My uPVC double glazed windows are fairly new and have gone from white to yellow. What options do I have?
It is likely that the windows were not of satisfactory quality and not fit for purpose, which means that the double glazing company was in breach of contract. The windows will need to be replaced by the company. Contact the company to notify them of the problem as soon as possible.
I’ve been told I can’t have double glazed windows in my properties – what are my alternatives?
Some properties, such as listed buildings, are not suitable for double glazing. An alternative solution is therefore secondary glazing, which involves fitting a second layer of glass inside the property’s existing windows. While secondary glazing isn’t as energy efficient as double glazing, it is possible to save around £85 a year on energy bills and up to 460kg of carbon dioxide emissions.