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Ten jargon busting double glazing questions

As homeowners we are becoming much savvier when it comes to having improvements carried out, such as double glazing, new kitchens and extensions. We know that it is important to; get recommendations from friends and family, receive at least 3 quotes, ensure the tradesmen have the relevant experience and qualifications and ensure the work will be covered by a guarantee.

After much consideration you have decided which double glazing companies you would like to quote, appointments have been arranged and the salesman is now sitting in your front room trying to baffle you with technical jargon.  Double glazing is not the most exciting way to spend your hard earned money but if you understand exactly what you are paying for, you can ensure that your new windows and doors will stand the test of time.

Here is our handy guide on how to get the best quality windows and doors by understanding what you are paying for.  These are the main factors, along with quality of fitting, that make up the vast difference in prices between double glazing companies.

Reinforced Frames-Check that the frame you are buying is fully reinforced with steel to make it stronger and more secure. This will also provide a stronger fixing point for the window and door locks.

Discolouration– The frame should be guaranteed to not discolour or warp for at least 10 years. Windows made from a high amount of recycled materials are more likely to discolour as they will not be UV resistant.

The Locks-The security of a window is extremely important, check that your windows achieve the police approved secured by design status. Some windows will only offer an espagnolette locking system, ensure that your windows also have a shootbolt system. Quality windows such as Rehau will offer at least 8 locks on a standard window.

The glass– The most energy efficient glass will have a low-e coating on the outside, be filled with argon or krypton gas within the sealed unit and have a coating such as Planitherm on the inside. The low-e coating allows the heat from the sun to radiate into the room, the gas reduces heat transfer and the Planitherm coating will keep the heat in by reflecting it back into the room.

The Joints– The corners of the windows and the sash will have been welded together when fabricated. The mullion and transommes, the bars which make up the rest of the window, should also be welded to make the window stronger. Some manufacturers will fix these mechanically with screws which results in the window strength being reserved to the corners.

The beads– Modern double glazing should always be internally beaded, the bead is the strip along the glass that keeps the glass secure. Double glazing from 10 years ago tended to be externally glazed making the window easy to break into.

Hinges and Handles– Ensure your double glazing hinges and handles come with a minimum of a 5 year guarantee.

Spacer bars– The spacer bar separates the innerpane from the outpane and prevents moisture coming through. Check that your windows come with composite plastic warm edged spacers, these are the most efficient when it comes to stopping heat escaping through the double glazed unit. Less efficient windows will have an aluminium spacer bar which conducts heat transfer.

The Installation -The one other important factor, other than the quality of the windows, is how well your new double glazing is fitted. The safest way to ensure you have chosen the best company is to ask for recommendations from customers who have had their windows fitted for at least 6 months. Any potential problems should have to come to light by this time such as rusting screws, peeling mastic or doors needing to be adjusted.

The double glazing industry has a bad reputation for ripping its customers off, the main problem is companies that are selling windows as cheap as they can and fitting them quickly and poorly. As long as you compare quotes like for like and not on price alone, you can be confident that your new windows and doors will improve your home and offer value for money.