With energy costs on the rise, prioritising home improvements to keep a handle on your fuel bills is a wise choice. One improvement worth considering is replacing old windows. Not only will this help reduce your fuel bills, but you’ll also be making your home more comfortable, soundproof, and benefiting the environment.
Don’t be tempted to rush into this project. Do your research and talk to as many different suppliers as you can. Having the right questions to ask the window company is critical to your success. Here are six of the most important questions to ask when shopping for windows to help you make the best choice for your home.
All windows are on a lead time typically between 4-12 weeks, depending on the product you choose and where the windows are manufactured. Familiarise yourself with the lead times as early in the process as you can. Supply chain issues and increased demand has seen lead times of as much as six months for some windows. Waits for installation, in particular, have caused delays to some building projects.
If you are extending or building a home, understanding how long things take to be delivered will help avoid any delays that can be stressful and costly. And if you are replacing your windows, you will be able to coordinate any other trades you might need, such as painters, accordingly.
Ask to see a sample of the windows you are considering. Most companies will have mockup displays in their showrooms. If they don’t, they may be able to order a small sample for you. Nothing beats seeing the product in reality. You might find something you liked in a catalogue actually looks very different in reality.
Make sure you take the time to visit the showroom and take some time to test out the products. Ask the salesperson about hardware options available. There is usually a range of standard and non-standard styles and finishes to choose from. Investigate how the different locking mechanisms work. It’s essential that you are happy with how the system feels in your hand and are comfortable using it.
Understand the payment terms. It’s normal for the window company to ask for a deposit when ordering your windows. The deposit usually covers the material cost. When you pay, the balance will vary depending on the products you choose. Ask if there are any other charges associated with the window cost you need to be aware of so you can budget accordingly.
Always ask about the range of finishes and colours available. Windows will come in a range of standard colours, but for some products, there will also be a range of non-standard shades to choose from.
Ask if the company can offer bespoke styles. Bespoke windows will be more expensive than going for an off-the-shelf product but will allow you to customise the windows to suit your needs and preferred style perfectly. Another critical question is about the height and opening panels options, as some windows have maximum heights and widths.
Types of glass
Your choice of glass is another important consideration. Speak to your window supplier about the glazing options available. For south-facing aspects, for example, where glare and sun damage might be a concern, there are several glass options available to minimise overheating and reduce glare. There are also solutions such as laminated glass to block UV light. This will help prevent sun damage and fading of floor finishes, upholstery, and artworks. You can also opt for glass with noise control.
Trickle vents are small vents in the window frame that allow air to pass through to ventilate your room without the need to open the window. They do not come as standard but are a good idea as your home must be well ventilated at all times. It’s worth enquiring about the additional cost to include them in your windows.
Another non-standard feature is safety locking and window restrictors for safety. The salesperson will have a wealth of knowledge that you can tap into, so don’t ever be afraid to ask a question. Be upfront about your needs and they will be able to tailor the specification to suit your requirements.
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