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Replacement windows during refurb -- who fit?

(23 Posts)
ShortLass Sat 21-Jan-17 10:38:55

My Dad's just had a go at me as I mentioned that I wanted to get some window companies out to quote for new windows. He said that I shouldn't do this, I should get the builder to do everything.

I am planning to refurb my house, including an extension and a bit of knocking down internal walls, so a significant job. My Dad used to be a property manager for a UK company and reckons he knows it all. But I think I know it all because I've seen lots of property programmes on Channel 4 blush.

I swear that on the telly, when the windows turn up, it's a gazing company who fits them. But Dad says no, the builder does it. If the builder doesn't run all the trades, then it's a bit of a nightmare, he says.

I can't ask the builder yet because I haven't appointed one because I'm still waiting for the **!#ing architect to finish the drawings (in a couple of weeks, she promises).

But it's my house and I want to be in control. I'd like to take time to choose the windows myself. There's a company I have in mind to do my bifold doors who also do windows - I want to ask them - and a local firm with a good repuation who supplied and fitted a friend's windows. Am I going about this all wrong?

I had also been considering getting in a proper decorator to do the decorating, and maybe a tiler to do the bathroom tiles. Because I want a good finish, not something done by someone who's a jack of all trades. It's possible the builder would bring in his own decorator, which could be fine (again, can't ask builder yet), but there's a guy locally who I've used before who's good, if slow, and doesn't earn eniugh to charge VAT which helps with the budget.

I just got the house back from tenants last night. I stood there, in the dark, and wondered: what the hell am I thinking doing this big project and moving back in? Then I didn't sleep so good. So his well-meaning comment came at the wrong time this morning.

Apologies for the long rant for a simple question -- who do I get to do the windows in a grand refurb? Normal 1990s house, but historic sash windows or anything difficult.

ShortLass Sat 21-Jan-17 10:41:05

NOT historic windows or anything

(Blimey, must have read that through 5 times for typos -- still missed one )

mysteryfairy Sat 21-Jan-17 10:50:13

It's hard to time the trades if you don't know what you're doing which is why having s builder PM it can be easier and cheaper.

It would be insane to get a national rip off firm for the windows. But this is not what you are thinking.

Getting someone to do everything doesn't stop you choosing stuff.

I'd get quotes from your preferred window firm and the builders you go with too. And make a decision based on relative cost, flexibility and range.

On the decorating surely that's the last thing with possible exceptions for kitchen and bathrooms where I think it's easier to paint prefitting so if you want to use your local guy just bring him in when everything else is done? Having said that the chances are it will extend the timeframes for the whole project so depends whether you're prioritising cost over that.

May09Bump Sat 21-Jan-17 10:51:18

Glazing firm normally does it - builders sometimes fit it themselves, but if they are project managing they normally sub contract to glazers. Just bear in mind it may need replastering / painting afterwards - so you have to schedule this in with builders or bring people in yourself.

I've not got to the tiles stage yet - but would go with someone you have seen the quality of work.

BigGreenOlives Sat 21-Jan-17 10:56:50

We had a local joiner make a replacement window and they installed it. They didn't make good afterwards & the team found it hard to work together as they didn't have a mutual language. I recommend choosing your company carefully.

SummerSazz Sat 21-Jan-17 11:06:29

Our builders subcontracted the windows which meant they were in control so when the build was delayed they dealt with the window company and scheduled it all in and made good afterwards. We chose the window company and windows to match our existing windows. I also spoke to the window company and got a discount as id done when we had other windows replaced - the builders would have just accepted their quote. If you can get them working together, great but otherwise you might have a timing issue if you miss the window company's slot.

McGintyii Sat 21-Jan-17 11:07:59

I work for a medium size window manufacturer (currently on mat leave!) we sell to both trade and home owners alike. Fitting windows is a specialist trade and whilst a lot of builders can fit windows fairly well, there is a difference between a builder fit and a fit done by a proper qualified window fitter which would be included if you went to a window company. It will be down to the builder to supply accurate sizes and if he/she gets it wrong you'll be able to tell a mile off. If you went direct to the manufacturer then they will be responsible for the accuracy of the measuring and the guarantee will cover the installation as well as the windows themselves (you won't get that with a builder). Also the builder is likely not to be FENSA registered which means you would need to get the local authority to sign the windows off which may cost more. Look out for window companies that are manufacturers too as you should get a good price by going direct.

Builders are notorious for putting the cheapest nastiest windows in to keep their costs low and margin high as most home owners don't realise what other products are available these days and just let the builder railroad them into smooth white pvc.

Bi fold doors are a very specialist product to fit and I would not recommend a builder fitting them unless they really know what they are doing. I think you're definitely doing the right thing going to a proper window company, go to some showrooms and take time to look at just what's out there and what will suit your house and your needs.

HTH smile

Testificateman Sat 21-Jan-17 11:09:04

As builders know a bit about everything, and glazers just put windows in, for best result, glazers do windows.

littlestar34 Sat 21-Jan-17 14:49:42

Sorry to Hijack post but we are having our bathroom done. We have a bay window in there and it is a bit mouldy because the bathroom suffers from condensation. We hope after extraction fan is fitted this won't be a problem. DH is now saying we should get the front windows replaced (2 big bays and the smaller bay in bathroom).I think they will all be fine with a good clean. Bathroom a definite priority over windows. Windows can be done after bathroom refit without making too much mess with decoration can't it?

McGintyii Sat 21-Jan-17 15:06:46

Unfortunately no, especially if you tile up to the old windows when you have your bathroom done, swapping the windows later on will be a nightmare.

Also as a lot of the work is done internally when installing new windows you risk damaging your lovely new bathroom! I'd always recommend windows first then you can plaster/tile up to them when you do your bathroom.

Testificateman Sat 21-Jan-17 17:44:46

Littlestar.
If your window frame is good and the glass hasn't blown (condensation between the two panels) your window is ok.
A good clean with a cream cleaner will be enough.
Extractor fans don't remove much condensation, opening the window afterwards for 15 minutes would be better.
As for replacing the window after tiling, as long as leave a couple of millimeters gap between the tiles and the window and seal it with silicone, replacing the window won't be a problem. Most of the work is actually done from the outside, you only glaze the window from the inside. We remove and replace the frames whilst on a ladder.

ShortLass Sat 21-Jan-17 18:18:51

Many thanks for all your lovely replies. Especially McGinyii

I'm going to get the window companies in to quote and give advice. I have told my dad so and he has accepted that I am being stubborn.

I'm sure they can work with the builder on this project.

McGintyii Sat 21-Jan-17 20:58:37

You're more than welcome ShortLass smile if you want any help with the design or specification don't hesitate to message me I'd be happy to help.

littlestar34 please don't listen to the advice that Testificateman has given you.

Your old window (especially if timber) will be of a completely different profile and possibly depth to modern PVCu windows are therefore it's impossible to say that a 'couple of millimeters' is all you need to leave. many old timber windows are 100mm deep whereas most modern PVCu casement windows are 70mm - 100mm for example. Even old PVC windows are completely different. You can't say over the internet 'leave a couple of millimeters' without seeing it!

New plaster, adhesive and wall tiles could end up very thick and stand far higher than where you imagine your new window will be.

Box Sash are even trickier as they have 135mm+ depth which means making good completely differently on the inside.

If you're going to replace the window(s) eventually yes you could do the bathroom first but at least get some technical data on the type of window you'll eventually use so you can make sure the new window will go in OK.

Most fitters work from both the inside and outside and it's a health and safety disaster for anyone to remove frames from a ladder. Sash Windows are generally fitted from the inside, and any property with render up to the windows would require the windows to be done from the inside so as not to destroy the render with the rip out.

We've won several national awards for Installation and Manufacture.

HyacinthsBucket Sat 21-Jan-17 21:06:45

Always use a local glazing firm and ask them for addresses where they've done work so you can see their standards. Also try asking your friends/neighbours. We used a local firm that were fab, and found them through one of DH's customers who recommended them. Incidentally, we also got a quote from a national well known company who door knocked and were insistent about a Government scheme where you got a grant for replacing wood windows.....all crap, and we had 6 months of harassment from them ending up with Trading Standards having to deal with them. So be cautious - there are some real sharks out there sadly.

May09Bump Sat 21-Jan-17 21:08:49

Windows definately first, then plaster and tiling.

McGintyii Sat 21-Jan-17 21:31:52

Yes totally avoid the nationals!

littlestar34 Sat 21-Jan-17 21:47:12

Thank you for the help. smile And sorry for high jacking your post Shortlass.

DH is adamant that all the windows at the front need replacing so I need to do a little research into windows to keep the peace. I do wish he'd made this clear before I started looking into bathroom fitters. Still no one has been booked in so no harm done. McGintyii out of interest we get a lot of condensation on the inside (not outside) of our windows is that a sign of an inefficient double glazed window, badly fitted window or something else entirely. I am not talking bathroom window here I expect that to get a little steamy!! Ta

Testificateman Sat 21-Jan-17 22:06:55

Excuse me McGintyii!
1. How many windows have you fitted?
2. Littlestar has said since that they are double glazed, no mention of wood.
3. As I said, most of the work is done outside.
4. I have replaced windows without even damaging the wallpaper, never mind the tiles.

McGintyii Sat 21-Jan-17 22:18:44

littlestar34. Condensation on the inside of your windows is because the moisture generated in your home can't escape, likely because the house is well insulated! it's a difficult one as we all insulate our houses to the n'th degree including our windows however the moisture needs to go somewhere and the house needs to breathe. If you're anything like me you possibly don't open your windows that often? It could be that the windows aren't very well fitted and are allowing cold air in around the frame.. I'd recommend trickle vent for your next window, they are built in vents normally in the top of the frame. I'd hazard a guess that your current windows don't have them and that's where your condensation is coming from.

Any good fitter will also put insulation in any cavities when he/she fits the new windows with rockwool or expanding foam x

McGintyii Sat 21-Jan-17 23:07:09

Excuse me McGintyii!
1. How many windows have you fitted?
2. Littlestar has said since that they are double glazed, no mention of wood.
3. As I said, most of the work is done outside.
4. I have replaced windows without even damaging the wallpaper, never mind the tiles.

1. I have overseen several hundred windows being installed including dozens of period properties, listed buildings and large scale projects.
2. Wooden windows can be double glazed too. I see lots of windows that are first generation DG timber that are knackered and as small as 13mm double glazed. Even if they are PVCu double glazed the profile will be completely different.
3. Is it? Are you FENSA registered then? How do you get round the H&S person, I'd be keen to know.
4. Wow go you.

Testificateman Sun 22-Jan-17 01:32:40

Yes. I am registered with FENSA and why would I want to, as you say,"get round the H&S person"?
Ok, you say you have "overseen" hundreds of window installations but, how many have you actually fitted?
Do you use foam or screws?
How, when the wall on the outside is wider on the outside than the inside, do you do most of the work on the inside?
How do you prevent the windows from blowing?
What should you use to clean uPVC to prevent mold?

Wow, go you.

McGintyii Sun 22-Jan-17 08:07:20

This is getting a little boring pal.

I have not physically fitted very many. I find the work heavy being a girl winkBut why would i need to?
We fit mainly PVCu sash windows and use a combination of discretely positioned screws and foam obviously with packers to level it off. You have to be quite sparing with the foam as it can bow the PVCu frame if you're not careful so we use a small packer wedged between the sash and the frame to stop it.

I don't know where you are in the country and what sort of houses you do but only once have I come across a house where the outer skin forms a wider window opening than the inner. It's normally the other way round to accommodate the box sashes and is referred to as 'in check' as the space is called the check reveal. When you rip out the old boxes you're left with a large cavity. It's either this or 'brick to brick' - just so you know the surveys I've done are in Yorkshire (a lot in York) and we sell a lot into London too.
The windows blow when air gets in the DGU. So a good seal in the first place is most important.
To prevent mould you open the window!

Do you want a job? grinwink

Testificateman Sun 22-Jan-17 10:16:55

To be honest. I was going to suggest that we obviously have two different ways of doing the same job.
The plaster or tiles on the brickwork on the inside of the property I normally do makes it harder to remove from the inside.
We are on here to try and help people, not have a spat over how to do something.
Let's just agree to disagree.

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