What influences the cost of new double glazing?

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Nick Dardalis

Whether you are comparing prices for aluminium, PVCu or timber windows there are many factors involved in how double glazing prices are calculated.  So in this article we are going to consider the cost differences when buying new double glazing.

what should you expect to pay for double glazing in a typical house?
What should you expect to pay for double glazing in a typical house?

The three materials that will typically be on offer are aluminium, PVCu and timber.  Prices for double glazing in PVCu, aluminium or timber can vary substantially from company to company.  If you also consider the big discounts offered by the national firms and check whether these are genuine discounts or just clever pricing the price variations can be even more dramatic.

Given the range of pricing options and special offers, such as “buy one get one free offers”or “back of the house free if you have new windows in the front of the house” it is no wonder the consumer can feel confused when considering the cost of new double glazing products.

How much does double glazing cost?

So lets consider a hypothetical three bedroom house where all the windows and the front door are being replaced. Included in the project are french doors to the rear and a single door to the side of the property.  Some rough prices for the complete job are:

  • PVCu windows and doors between £11,000 to £13,000
  • With aluminium windows and doors between £15,000 and £17,000 (typically a 40-60% uplift on PVCu)
  • Timber between £20,000 to £24,000 (typically a 100% uplift on PVCu)

The quality of the product, local labour rates and property specific challenges will affect the prices suggested above.  Pricing verses quality will also be affected depending whether the supplier only installs windows, or manufactures them.  However if you have had a quotation for aluminium windows and prices have been substantially more than the indicative uplifts please contact us and we may be able to help you.

What is the real cost of double glazing?

single windows
Single window replacements may incur minimum order charges.

Every window company prices their products differently.

If you are only looking to replace one or a few windows in your property it is likely the costs will be similar from company to company.  The margins in smaller jobs are not as good as larger installations.

If you are only looking to replace one window or one door some window companies will also charge a minimum price or a flat fee for just one window.  Typical charges can be about £500 for something like a bathroom or toilet window even though the cost of that product will be substantially less.  Whilst charging a minimum order value may seem unfair, it is important to remember costs that window companies have to incur even on a single window installation.  These can include:

  • the window company has to guarantee that product for 10 years.
  • the costs of a surveyor in establishing the manufacturing sizes and installation requirements.
  • the cost of one or a team of two fitters to replace the window
  • administration costs such as purchasing, invoicing, FENSA registration etc.
  • the costs involved in coming out to repair or do work under guarantee.

All of these costs have to be borne by the window company and rightly have to be charged to you the customer in some way. It is fair to say a single window installation is often not a profitable one for a window company.

On the other hand, if you are replacing all your windows and doors there are opportunities for the window company to offer you better deals.  For example some doors could be sold at a much lower price or at cost to make the price of the whole project more competitive.  Ultimately it is down to the individual company to make a commercial judgement on any prospective new window installations and price keenly to secure your business.

Are discounts on double glazing real?

It is important to know that the independent and local double glazing firms will mostly have a dramatically different pricing structure from the national firms.  It is unlikely that you will see the big discounts or incentives to buy there and then with the local window companies.  Rarely will you see 50% or  free window discounts with the local companies and whilst some discount will normally be available other companies simply stand by their products, their pricing and importantly their brand.

When buying new windows and doors, the reputation of the firm and the quality of the products and the installation will be as important a factor as the price of the windows themselves.

It is also highly likely that finance arrangements, interest payments attached and other charges will over the period of the finance agreement negate any big discount you may have received, therefore it is important to do your sums and make sure that if you are buying double glazing on finance that the sums stack up and you are not over paying.  It may be worth looking at other way of financing your new windows instead of committing to a finance agreement from a window firm.

You will get a better service from a local company than a national firm and this is reflected in the prices.  The local reputation of double glazing firms matters a lot as so much work comes from local recommendation and local repeat business.  One very important fact is that the owners and staff of local double glazing firms also live locally! Establishing a good name in the area is critical.

The way the products are sold you will also find different between a national and a local company.  You will rarely find “reasons” to commit there and then with a local firm. The vast majority will simply advise you in the best way they can, prepare their quotation and leave you to make up your mind.  Of course, all quotations will be followed up to gauge interest and get feedback but it is unlikely you will be put under pressure to buy there and then.

Why are there cost differences between aluminium, PVCu and timber windows?

Look carefully at any discounts, buy one get one free offers or any other incentive to secure your business and you will often see that these offers relate mainly to the PVCu window.  Why is this?  Simply explained, the margins in a mass produced PVCu window often manufactured by huge companies turning out sometimes 1000 windows a week enable bigger markups to provide a big discount.

It is unlikely you will ever the same offers given for aluminium or timber windows.  These windows are never mass produced, remain specialist in the way they are made and are rarely subject to big incentives to buy.  The manufacturers of these windows are much more specialised, the ordering process can be different and delivery dates are longer on aluminium and timber window and door products.

The big discounts are simply not available to premium products such as aluminium and timber window and will be much smaller.

Beware the window company that offers a hefty premium for anything that is not PVCu.

Many window companies only offer PVCu windows. Others offer a limited aluminium or timber product range but will rarely show these products in a showroom preferring to sell PVCu.  These two types of window companies will often put a premium on their aluminium and timber windows, but why is this?

With profit margins are greater on PVCu windows it is often the case that some window companies will want you to have the most profitable and easy product.  The window company and the salesman that sells plastic doors and windows may not have the knowledge or experience on all materials available and will sell what is easier for them.

PVCu window prices are instantly available and these windows can be priced in the home. With aluminium and timber prices these often have to be obtained from the manufacturers and can’t be instantly priced.  This means for some double glazing salesmen they have lost the opportunity to quote you there and then and get you to commit quickly.

However if you find a window company that is expert and knowledgeable on all materials, this window company will generally have fairer pricing.

Let us help you find a competitive local installer

If you are looking for experienced window companies that can offer a complete product range and fair pricing, please contact us and we can put you in touch with quality window companies local to you.