Whether you’re starting a new build project, planning a complete refurbishment of your home with brand new glazing, or you are simply replacing a few windows, you’ll have to make a lot of decisions. From the choice of colour, to style and specification it can be a little overwhelming. Not to mention that windows represent a significant financial outlay, so how do you know you’re making the right decisions? Being equipped with the right questions to ask the window company is critical to your success. Here are six of the most important questions to ask your window supplier when shopping for windows.
All windows are on a lead time typically between 4-12 weeks, depending on the product you choose and where the windows are manufactured. So it’s important that you familiarise yourself with the lead times as early in the process as you can. If you are extending or building a home, understanding how long things take to be delivered will help to avoid any delays which can be stressful and costly. And if you are replacing your windows you will be able to co-ordinate 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 to look at. Nothing beats seeing the product in reality, and you might find something you had liked in a catalogue that looks very different in reality. Make sure you take the time to visit the showroom and test out the products. Ask the salesperson about hardware options available, there are normally a range of styles and finishes to choose from. Investigate how the locking mechanisms work, it’s important that you are happy with how the system feels in your hand and are comfortable using it.
It’s important you understand the payment terms. It’s normal for the window company to ask for a deposit at the time of ordering. This is to cover the material cost. When you pay the balance will vary depending on the products that you choose. Ask if there are any other charges associated with the window replacement cost you need to be aware of so you can budget accordingly.
Ask about the finishes and colours available. Windows will come with a range of standard colours, but for some products, you will be able to choose from a wide range of colours. Ask if the company can offer bespoke styles. This will be a more expensive option than going for their off the shelf product but will mean you can customise the windows to suit your needs and preferred style perfectly. Another critical question is to ask about the options on sizes for height and opening panels as some windows have maximum heights and widths.
Types of glass
There are a large number of options when it comes to the choice of glass. 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 to prevent sun damage and fading to floor finishes, upholstery and artworks. You can also opt for glass with noise control.
Trickle vents are small vents in the frame of the window that allows 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 be upfront about your needs and they will be able to tailor the specification to suit your individual requirements.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Managing Director Optimise Design, B.Arch. RIAI RIBA
& Design Expert for Senator Windows