21 Aug 2017
Posted in: First Time Buyer
“A house without books is like a room without windows,” said iconic education reformist Horace Mann. And whether you’re a book worm, design enthusiast or Grand Designs novice, you’ll still agree that windows are vital to making a house into a home.
But unlike books, windows don’t come cheap.
Replacing windows can be very costly, so it’s not a decision you should make lightly. But there are many reasons for doing so. You might be on the hunt for a second hand home, and those old sash windows are giving you nightmares. You might want to improve the energy efficiency of your house, or maybe it’s just time to renovate your own lovely abode. Whatever your situation, here are some tips for helping you find the best deal.
Replacing windows can be pricey and may not be something you’ll be in a financial position to complete all at once. Instead of settling for lower quality options, or a style you’re not happy with, why not replace your windows in stages?
Prioritise the existing windows that you feel are in dire need of replacement: crumbling frames, the ones that let in draughts or which have cracked frames. If you can stretch to it, try to replace an entire façade of the house all at once so that your windows match. In a year or two, you may be able to afford to replace the remainder.
The main materials available for window-frame shoppers are timber as well as cheaper or higher quality uPVCs. Choosing between them comes down to cost and quality (unsurprisingly!).
If you’re on a low budget, low grade uPVC could be just the right fit. It is quick to install, with a wide range of options and suppliers to choose from; the nicest part is that it’s easy to maintain. But as is the case with these things, you get what you pay for. Longevity isn’t one of its selling points, so replacement may be on the cards in a few years. uPVC is also an environmental aggressor; once it’s worn down, there’s no going back.
Timber is only slightly more expensive than good quality uPVC – but this is long lasting, resilient, and environmentally friendly, with great aesthetic quality. Aluminium-clad is the cream of the crop when it comes to quality, but there are fewer suppliers in Ireland, and the installation process is longer.
And, as you can guess, this will be the most expensive option.
Remember that the most expensive option isn’t necessarily the best. It’s a good idea to get at least three quotes from suppliers, and ask each of them for their top recommendations.
If possible, visit each of their showrooms and quiz them on their knowledge of each product, and any extras that might come with it. This might seem like a lot of hassle, but it allows you to see how prices sit in relation to each other and helps you make the best decision for your home. As an added bonus, your ‘hard to get’ attitude might even snag you a better deal.
Time to get gossipy! The folks next door could have gone through the rigmarole of window buying, for a house similar to yours. A Godsend when you need to get the low down on measurements, installation, CE Procedure, and the right visual styles to suit.
So don’t be shy – ask your neighbours for their recommendations on double glazing. You might find that people are unhappy with their choice and it could save you some hassle.
Be bold and ask for prices, too. This will prepare you for the going rate and might help you discover more affordable options. If you can’t find a similar house or friendly neighbours, another option is to ask the supplier for a CAD drawing, with windows inserted on the elevation. There you are, now.
Should anything happen that might mean you have to cancel your window order, it’s good to know where you stand legally. In many cases, your double glazed window may have to be made to measure, meaning that the suppliers may not be able to offer them to another customer if you have to cancel. Discuss all possibilities with your supplier before you sign anything.
As the old saying goes: when a door closes, a window opens – so take your window-buying adventure seriously.
If you’re thinking of buying a second-hand home, pop in for a 30-minute chat with one of our Mortgage Masters. We’re only too happy to help you on your way.
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