The First Steps to Buying New Windows

Lucy Martin
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Undecided on whether to change your windows or where to buy new ones? You are not alone, many homeowners feel overwhelmed when faced with the need for new or replacement windows.

New windows offer a host of benefits – low maintenance, fewer drafts, easier cleaning, smooth operation and modest energy savings. But they are a big investment, so be sure to evaluate all options before you take the plunge.

The first steps to buying new windows is to determine your needs, budget, window functions and design.

Visit a showroom where you can compare windows of different brands or different models within the same brand.
Considering the features and questions below will help:

Appearance. Imagine the windows in your home. Does the style of the windows blend well on the interior and exterior? You may be drawn to a particular style but need to be sure that the appearance of the windows suit your property.
Are the wood or uPVC joints well made? Do the astragal bars (grids that divide the glass) fit tightly and cleanly? Is the hardware attractive?
Unless you’re trying to match existing window colours – think about choosing a low-maintenance exterior (such as uPVC or aluminium) so touching up the paint is a rarity.
Bear in mind that there are pros and cons for all material finishes; aluminium and uPVC have a service life of approximately 20 years before they may need to be replaced. Whereas timber only requires a coat of paint every 8 to 10 years and has a service life of approximately 60 years. Paint finishes last longer than stain finishes.

Functions & Operation. Try out the display windows. Do they open and close smoothly? Are the cranks, runners and locking devices solid and do they look as though they’ll withstand heavy use? Does the window latch firmly without too much effort?
Consider your lifestyle – do the windows ensure child safety and high security features to suit you?

Cleaning. If cleaning is a priority, can you easily reach both interior and exterior glass? If not – are the windows rotational?

Should I replace them all at once? Not necessarily if budget is restricted a good strategy is to replace all the windows on one side (or level if you have a two-story house) to retain a consistent appearance. Often the windows on one side of a house deteriorate much faster than the others.

How can I be sure that the product will last or that the company selling me the window will still be around if something goes wrong? Look for the company’s commitment to producing a quality product through their compliance with British Standards. Confirm that they offer insurance backed guarantees and deposit protection; to give you peace of mind for years to come.
You may also feel more confident using recommendations from people you know.

Service. Are parts available if something should break or wear out? If the glass breaks or fogs, how difficult and costly is replacement?

Warranties. Compare the warranties for parts and finishes.

Energy Efficiency. It’s a good idea to understand the energy performance ratings of windows so you’ll know what energy performance ratings you need for your windows based on your climate and your home’s design.
If you’re constructing a new home or doing some major remodelling, you can take advantage of the opportunity to incorporate your window design and selection as an integral part of your whole-house design – an approach for building an energy-efficient home.

Installation. Even the best windows won’t deliver the look or comfort you expect if they’re installed poorly. Many major window manufacturers train and certify installers for their specific products. Using the same contractor for purchase and installation can minimise the chances of problems arising later.

Carey & Fox are experts in this sector; with all design and manufacturing in the UK. Browse the website to find out more or call us today for a free quotation Tel.0333 323 9600.