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Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Choosing new Windows? The Surprising Truth About Window Fitters

Patio Doors Leading to Balcony

We have been dreaming for a long time about having patio doors leading out into our garden. I love how patio doors connect the inside space with the garden, it would make it so much easier when the kids play outside. We also need new double glazed windows throughout the house too and every door to door salesman in the area seems to know it! You would think that with so many companies coming around offering me "free quotes" that I would have ordered some by now but frankly cold callers trying to get their foot in our door and pressure selling ironically do the opposite and put us off buying.
Now the cold Winter has set in, we're noticing more condensation on our old windows and have had to start using a dehumidifier to stop the house getting damp. We have decided that this means we have to seriously start looking at getting new windows (and patio doors!).
But, doing it our way, we're ignoring the door to door cowboys and and doing our own research to find out what experiences our friends and family have had with fitting new windows.
The Surprising Truth About Window Fitters
Double-glazing installers aren’t all bad.
There were a couple of horror stories but – to my surprise – I found that most people actually had good things to say about their experience buying windows.
Here’s what I learned through my research, about how to tell a good window installer from a cowboy.

Patio Doors
How to tell a good window installer from a cowboy builder
  • They manufacture and install their own products.

A company that manufacture and install their own windows, doors and conservatories is more likely to pay more attention to the overall quality of their products than those that don’t. It’s an unspoken rule: the fewer companies you have involved in the manufacturing process, the easier it is to control the overall quality of the finished product.
Majestic Designs are one company who make a point of manufacturing all of their windows, doors and conservatories in-house, in their Somerset factory, from British-made materials. As well as controlling quality, a company that manufactures its own products is likely to know more about them and to be able to install them to a better standard than other companies. 

  • They have trusted accreditations and reviews

One of the best ways to tell if a window installer isn’t a cowboy is simply to check if they have any accreditations. Accreditations are a great way of gauging the quality of an installer’s service before you even have to talk to them. Third party recognition from a trusted, independent company is the one of the best ways of ensuring the quality of an installer’s services.
Important accreditations to look out for including FENSA (Fenestration Self-Assessment Scheme), Guarantee Protection, GGF (Glass and Glazing Federation) and the Government Endorsed Standards Trust Mark. Or look for Which? Trusted Traders (like Gloucestershire glazing company Albany Windows), who prove their high standard of service and offer a star-rated review system on their website.

  • They have a long history of trading

As with most brands and companies, the ones whose quality and services you can trust are often the ones that have been established the longest. A company with a long history can say a lot about the way they do business.
The fact that they’ve been trading for a number of years tells you that a company is able to attract new customers and sustain business. They are good at what they do, and they have a good standard of service – they wouldn’t be able to attract new business if they didn’t.
One of the longest-established glazing companies I’ve found is Reddish Joinery, near Manchester. Established in 1967, the company has been trading for nearly 50 years now (yet they’re also on Twitter!).

  • They employ all their own contractors

Surprisingly, some home improvement companies don’t actually employ the staff who come to fit your window, door or conservatory: they sub-contract the job out to another company or to self-employed builders.
It’s perfectly legal to do this, but hard to ensure the quality of the builders who your home improvement company hires to do the work.
One way of telling a good window installer is to ask whether they employ all of their staff directly. 4 Seasons Construction, based in North London, directly employ all of their builders and fitters, using the same experienced teams every time.

So, do not lose hope. Do your research and find the right window fitting company for you. Maybe once the windows have been replaced we can start saving for a conservatory too...

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