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Home » The Ultimate Guide to Double Glazing
While everyone who gets double glazed windows installed expects a substantial investment, absolutely nobody wants to pay more for their windows than they have to. Even once you’ve scoured your local market to find the perfect quote you can still find ways to make further savings on the cost of your windows.
That’s where we come in.
At Double Glazing Funding we provide you with all the resources you need to see if you’re eligible for home improvement grants. We work in partnership with the Help 2 Buy Windows scheme to ensure that you don’t have to sacrifice quality for price. We also offer a Best 4 Less guarantee to ensure that you find the best quality windows at the most affordable prices.
Don’t feel the need to settle for low-cost, low-quality windows. Just check out our easy to use Grant Application Tool, and see what savings and grant assistance are yours for the taking.
It’s our mission to help people all over the country to find the perfect windows for their needs without having to spend a single penny more than they should.
The Swiss-French pioneer of modern architecture said that the history of architecture is also the history of the window. While we may take the humble window for granted, its inception transformed architecture as we know it today, allowing people to actually see their interiors without the need for artificial light like candles or torches. Windows have existed in forms of architecture all over the world for centuries. The Romans were among the first to use glass in their windows around 100AD, although earlier windows in countries like China and Japan used paper in a wooden frame. Here in the UK, while stained glass had pride of place in churches across the country, most homes used animal horn in windows instead of glass right up until the 17th century. Suffice to say, the technology behind windows has come along leaps and bounds since then.
Yet, for all the problems that today’s glazing solutions have solved, the abundance of choice today has created a new problem of its own…
Today, homeowners have more choice than ever when it comes to selecting the right windows for their homes. In fact, they have so much choice that it can be something of an embarrassment of riches. With so much on offer, it can be hard to make an informed decision. Whether you’re looking for new double glazed windows to replace your existing inefficient single-glazed windows or whether you’re replacing older double glazed windows for a more energy-efficient alternative, the sheer volume of choice out there can be baffling.
How do you know which frames will suit the style of your interior and exterior? How can you tell which kind of glass panes will afford you the best energy efficiency? How do you know you’re getting a good price on your double glazed windows? Do you qualify for assistance paying for your double glazed windows? Will your windows stand the test of time or will they need to be replaced all over again in a couple of years?
It’s enough to make anyone’s head spin!
That’s why we’ve compiled this comprehensive guide to tell you everything you’ve ever needed to know about double glazed windows.
Let’s start with the obvious…
While there’s some pretty huge variance in prices when it comes to double glazed windows, it’s safe to say that they represent a substantial investment. As such, frugal homeowners may wonder whether it’s even worth committing to getting double glazed windows installed. However, while the installation of any kinds of new windows may require some upfront costs, there’s a lot you can do to mitigate those costs (we’ll discuss that in greater detail later). What’s more, the costs are offset by the wide range of benefits that you’ll enjoy once your new windows are installed.
Some of the many benefits of double glazed windows include;
One of the most attractive benefits of double glazed windows is that they can afford you significant savings on your energy bills. They are designed not only to trap heat from your home inside your home in the colder months, they’re also designed to block heat rays from the sun to keep your home warm in winter but cool in summer.
This can save a great deal not just on heating costs but on air conditioning on those stifling summer days. Without double glazing, you’ll find that you’re paying a lot of money for heat that’s literally going out the window.
How much could you save? That depends on the type of windows you have installed (we’ll get to that- don’t worry) and the size of your property. A semi detached home can expect to save £75-£110 a year on its heating bill with double glazed windows. A detached home could save as much as £120-£155 per year while an apartment will typically save between £35 and £55 a year. In fact, homes with double glazing can save up to 30% on their energy bills each and every year.
Plus, no more shivering cold winter mornings. No more stiflingly hot and sweaty summer afternoons.
Unfortunately, single glazed windows can be a pretty big security risk. They are easy to break and can provide a point of ingress for burglars. Even single layers of laminated or toughened glass can be breached. Double glazed windows, however provide you not only with twice the energy efficiency but twice the strength and security.
If you’re regularly bothered by noise from neighbours or passers by, if you struggle to sleep on a Friday night because of noise from tipsy revellers or if you’re the first to hear about it when the next door neighbour starts trimming their hedge, you’ll be delighted to hear that double glazed windows have another benefit. They offer superior soundproofing when compared to their single glazed counterparts. Because double glazed windows are thicker, they’re much more effective when it comes to blocking nearby noise from neighbours, pets and passers by.
The right kind of double glazed windows can increase soundproofing by up to 35 decibels!
Don’t you just hate it when your beloved armchair gets a pale patch on the arm from years of exposure to the sun? Or when your beloved rug or carpet sports a faded line straight down the middle? Exposure to the sun can fade some dyes, inks and paints and this can reduce the aesthetic value of your home’s furnishings. Fortunately, the same technology that keeps the heat from the sun out of your home also blocks the UV rays that can cause this fading.
Double glazing is highly desirable in any home and will be extremely useful to you should you decide to sell up and move to a new property. Not only can double glazing add to the appeal of your home, it can also add as much as 10% to your property’s value.
As you can see, there are a number of significant benefits to double glazing which, over time, more than mitigate the upfront costs.
The benefits of double glazed windows are undoubtedly impressive. But can one extra layer of glass accomplish so much? It can seem hard to believe until you take the time to learn how double glazed windows work.
Double glazing reduces heat loss by limiting how much heat can escape from your property through two of the three processes by which heat is transferred; conduction and convection.
Conduction involves the transfer of heat through a material. When heat from your home’s interior hits the glass, it is then transferred through the panel of glass to the outside world. Heat can be conductive through a single pane of glass fairly quickly, passing through the pane into the outside world.
Double glazing helps to prevent this process. Not only are there twice as many panes (thereby making the process of conduction harder, the conducted heat is transferred into the air (or other inert gas) between the panels. This is where the process of convection comes in.
Convection takes place when heat is transferred through a moving liquid or a gas. In the case of double glazed windows there is a space between the panes containing air (or in some cases another gas like argon) which inhibits the process of conduction. Air is a poor conductor of heat, so the vacuum in double glazed windows helps to prevent the conducted heat from convecting.
Because it addresses the issues of conduction and convention simultaneously, double glazing can be extremely effective in limiting the transfer of heat through your windows.
This is a tricky one to answer because there are so many variables at play. The amount you can expect to pay depends on the size and style of the windows you want to replace. It can also depend on what kind of glass you want to use (not all double glazed windows are created equal as we’ll see later). And of course it can depend on the size of your property and how many windows it has.
However, while your mileage may vary, we can provide you with a ballpark figure. The average cost of double glazing is somewhere between £400 and £600 per window. So by rule of thumb, it will cost you around £2,000 to install 4 double glazed windows in an apartment, and between £4,800 and £7,200 in an average sized UK home.
However, as we’ll discuss towards the end of this article, there may be a lot you can do to ameliorate those costs by applying for relevant grant assistance. What’s more, as a consumer it’s important to remember that you are in the driving seat. By arming yourself with a knowledge of the different types of windows out there, you can get a clear idea of what kind are best for your home and your family.
When you have a clear idea of what you want, you’ll be able to get the best deals on the market and you’ll be less likely to be swayed by pushy sales professionals trying to sell you a host of unnecessary extra features.
When it comes to the different types of windows, consumers need to consider two things. They need to consider the style of the window that needs to be replaced and they need to consider the kind of glass which will be used.
Broadly speaking, double glazing installations all installations work in fundamentally the same way. Your old windows are removed and a new self-contained, made-to-measure unit is fitted to replace them. This is then sealed in place to ensure that no heat escapes through the interstice between your wall and your window. After all, it doesn’t matter how energy efficient your windows are if the seal around them is ruptured which is why it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your sealant and top it up every few years.
While most installations are the same, the materials used in the frame, and the kinds of glass contained within, do vary in accordance with the consumer’s needs and budget. Most double glazed windows that you see, particularly older windows, are made from Unplasticized Polyvinyl Chloride or UPVC. These are popular for a number of reasons. They’re affordable as they’re cheap to produce. They’re also highly durable and they’re readily recyclable. However, if your home’s aesthetic ers on the side of tradition and the contemporary look and feel of UPVC could be alien in your property, you have other options. Recent advances in double glazing technology have allowed frames to also be constructed with wood and / or aluminium if these would be a better fit for your home and work every bit as well as UPVC. In some cases, the window frame itself is treated with an insulated layer to restrict heat loss through the frame. These are called “thermally broken” windows. A layer of reinforced polyamide is sandwiched between the interior and exterior frame profiles to provide an extra layer of protection.
The great thing about double glazed windows is that they can be incorporated into window frames of any size in a range of styles. When it comes to the glass itself, consumers have a choice of a few different options depending on their budget and energy savings / security / soundproofing needs.
Some of these include;
Float glass is the most common technique used to create double glazed windows. Developed by british engineer Sir Alastair Pilkington (yup, the Pilkington Glass Pilkingtons) in the 1950s, the method involves floating melted glass on top of a layer of molten metal. This produces a uniform and perfectly flat finish. This is the way most glass windows are made today, but because it sounds fancy some less scrupulous sales people may try to make it sound like a selling point.
Also known as Low e Glass,or Thermally broken glass this involves the application of a thin metal ‘low e’ coating to one side of the pane, adding an extra layer of insulation. This restricts the amount of heat which is transferred between either side of the glass, thereby increasing the energy efficiency of the installation.
Laminated glass is best suited to the extra security conscious. In some cases they are known as hurricane windows as they are excellent at providing protection in the event of extreme weather, although they can also keep even the most determined intruders at bay. Although all double glazed windows are inherently more secure than their single glazed counterparts, laminated glass provides an extra layer of security (quite literally, in fact).
Laminated glass panels are made from two sheets of glass that are bonded together by a laminate layer, usually made of polyvinyl butyral (PVB) or ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), sandwiched between them. This results in the pane holding itself together if it breaks, rather than exploding into small, jagged pieces.
Laminated glass is also one of the best kinds of glass for soundproofing.
Toughened glass does pretty much what it says on the tin. It is glass that has been strengthened using heat tempering processes . Not only does this help glass to maintain its integrity when struck, it also helps to ensure that even if it should break the pane will crumble into small chunks, rather than exploding inwards in dangerously sharp jagged shards. This type of glass is commonly used in car windscreens as well as the country’s few telephone boxes. Double double glazing that uses toughened glass provides extra safety and security for your peace of mind.
As you can see there are numerous common manufacturing methods when it comes to double glazing, and all of them have their own inherent advantages. Hopefully this clears up any misconceptions you’ve held about double glazing and the science behind the bold claims you’ve seen made about its efficacy. The more you know about the different ways in which double glazed windows are made, the easier it is to choose the right solution for your home.
Let’s be honest, the technology behind the glass and what goes into making the frame are both important considerations. But they mean nothing if your new window looks like an eyesore when it’s installed in your home.
Many homeowners want to know that when they replace their windows with new double glazed alternatives, that they won’t do so at the expense of their home’s aesthetic. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the different styles of windows which can be double glazed for a seamless fit;
Single hung windows look great all kinds of properties. On a single hung window, the top sash is fixed in place, although the bottom sash can be opened to provide ventilation for your home.
Double hung windows, on the other hand, allow you to move both the top and the bottom sashes to provide greater ventilation for your home. These are great for busy kitchens for example or bathrooms which need to let out hot air and steam.
Awning windows have a hinge at the top of the frame and open outwards from the bottom. They are great for letting lots of natural light in and work well in confined spaces.
Slider windows use two sashes on a track which open and close horizontally. These are well suited to shorter, wider panoramic frames.
Bay and bow windows are projecting windows that sit in the alcoves of your rooms and can add a wonderful focal while letting in lots of natural light. They have three faces including a wide front and two shorter sides.
Casement windows are attached via a hinge to one side of the frame, and open outwards for a traditional look and feel.
When these open they can be tilted and turned on a central pivot making them easy to clean on both sides.
These are the most expensive kinds of double glazed windows but they can be truly spectacular. They run right across the length of a wall letting in lots of natural light and offering stunning views.
There was a time when all UPVC windows were white, but now they come in a wide range of colours and textures to provide a woodgrain or coloured effect. Thus, even if timber frames are out of your price-range, you can still enjoy UPVC exteriors which look for all the world like oak, cherry, rosewood or mahogany at a glance.
You can also get UPVC frames in a range of solid colours including black, grey, green, blue and red. By rule of thumb, however, you can expect to pay 10-15% more for coloured windows than you would pay for the same window in white.
Sometimes, no matter how much research you do into the right kind of windows for you, you just need a quick reference guide to determine how well your chosen windows will keep your home insulated and drive your energy bills down. The British Fenestration Rating Council aim to do exactly that by implementing a traffic light system which provides consumers with quick and easy reference.
Their criteria for energy efficiency for a window is typically based on three factors;
To comply with BFRC regulations new window installations must achieve a C rating, but ratings go as high as A++ and as low as E. It’s worth noting, however, that there is no statutory requirement for manufacturers to display the energy ratings of their windows. But if they are not keen to share this information with you this should set alarm bells ringing.
When researching double glazing companies near you, it’s a good idea to check the BFRC ratings of windows that they offer you. Keep in mind, however, that it’s completely up to you which kinds of double glazed windows you install. If you think that A++ rated windows would be surplus to requirements in your studio apartment, don’t let yourself be pressured into choosing them. The Glass and Glazing Federation actually have a useful calculator which can help you to get a good idea of how much you can expect to save with your new windows. It’s up to you to balance that with how much you’re prepared to spend on your new installation given your current energy usage and how long you expect to stay in the property.
While the BFRC ratings system is by no means infallible and doesn’t necessarily take other important considerations like security and soundproofing into account, it remains a useful quick reference guide that shows consumers how much energy efficiency they’re getting for their money.
As with anything else, the key to getting the best quote for double glazed windows is shopping around. There was a time, before the internet had the ubiquitous presence that it has in today’s households, consumers were beholden to the prices available from local companies. They’d make calls and then glazing companies would send a representative over to subject homeowners to a high pressure sales pitch in their living rooms.
Thankfully, today’s consumers are far better positioned to get a great deal. The internet makes it much easier to find local double glazing companies and many will allow you to use a calculator on their website to get a zero-obligation quote without even having to converse with a sales representative. However, it’s worth noting that someone will likely come to inspect the property to ensure that the quote you’ve gotten online is accurate and correct for your property.
Even if they don’t have the facilities to get a quote on their website, pretty much companies will offer a free quote to anyone who requests them. Just don’t make the mistake of assuming that the first quote you’re offered is the best. A sales rep may say they’re making you a “once in a lifetime offer”. They may make a show of calling their boss to try and get you an additional discount if you book there and then. However, never forget that you’re in the driver’s seat.
Get as many quotes as you can from as many companies in your area as possible. You may find that there’s a surprising amount of difference between quotes even for the exact same windows. Check out Google reviews for local companies as well as resources like Trustpilot to ensure that the company you have in mind has a reputation for quality as well as good value for money.
Don’t forget that local companies know that they have a lot of competition and will likely take steps to ensure that you choose them instead of their nearest competitors. If, for example, you like the online reputation of one company, but another can offer you the exact same windows at a lower price, they may be amenable to the idea of price matching.
Just make sure that they are definitely like-for-like quotes before asking a company for a price match.
One of the many great things about double glazed windows is that they’re a long term investment. Once installed they can continue to provide you with energy savings, as well as a quieter, more temperate and more secure home for decades. In fact, you can expect double glazed windows to last for an average of 20 years or even as long as 35 years. It all depends on the quality of the materials used as well as the proficiency of the installation. Why don’t double glazed windows last forever? Over time the gas between the panes of glass can seep out, thereby diminishing their ability to impede conduction through the glass. Once around 25% of the gas has escaped you may start to see a noticeable difference in the window’s energy efficiency.
Don’t worry, you don’t necessarily have to replace your windows after this time. You may find that a secondary glazing measure like an extra layer of transparent film or a semi-permanent fixture can extend your windows’ lifespan even after the gas within them has depleted.
What’s more, most manufacturers will guarantee their windows for at least 10 years against any issues caused by manufacturing defects.
June 12, 2019