If you’re looking to replace your timber windows, knowing where to turn to get advice and find suitable products can seem like a minefield, says JELD-WEN Marketing Communications Manager, Charlotte Coleman.
The most important thing is to make sure you choose fully factory-finished windows, coated, glazed and fitted with security hardware in controlled conditions – they will perform better, carry longer guarantees and will stand the test of time (frames made to Wood Window Alliance standards can be expected to last around 60 years). While unfinished windows may seem like a more economical option, you will need to factor-in the additional cost of paint or stain, as well as a decorator if you don’t have the skillset or time to finish the windows yourself. Factory finished products also provide maximum protection from the elements and extended maintenance intervals of a typical 8-10 years between recoats.
You might be surprised to learn that it is possible to purchase a wide selection of fully factory-finished timber windows from your local builder’s merchant or even order them bespoke.
There has long been a misconception that builder’s merchants don’t sell directly to homeowners. In fact, they are open to everyone and can offer a multitude of benefits that consumers wouldn’t have access to elsewhere.
If you’ve never set foot in a builder’s merchant before, then it’s a good idea to do some research online before you enter the branch, to enable you to develop an understanding of your exact requirements and what is on offer. Many merchants have invested in making their websites as user friendly as possible, making ordering easy. If you are still unsure about anything then you can always give the merchant branch a call, that way you can resolve any queries before you get there to place your order.
Some builder’s merchants will have product displays and showrooms to allow you to visualise certain ranges; however, as there is such a vast array of products available, most don’t tend to hold stock. They can order the full range of a manufacturer’s products from their catalogues, meaning an extensive choice is available to you.
If you have a period property with unconventional sized windows, or are working on a build with unique features, then don’t be afraid to order something that isn’t in the catalogue. Most manufacturers have flexibility and offer completely made-to-measure products, meaning you can get the exact specification you’re looking for. This is a big benefit of visiting a merchant, as retailers often offer limited ranges and aren’t as flexible with unique requirements.
For those working on a small project, it’s possible to pay upfront, as you would in any retailer. However, if you are working on a larger project such as a self-build, then there will usually be a facility to open up an account.
On top of this, staff will be clued-up on building materials, so they can offer handy tips and advice. If they can’t answer your queries, then the builder’s merchant can draw upon the manufacturer’s technical experience or can put you in contact with them to find out more detailed information.
This expertise isn’t restricted to windows, as staff can also offer wider guidance around Building Regulations and recommend local tradespeople to help with any skilled jobs that you may not be qualified to undertake yourself.
When it comes to making a purchase in a branch, thanks to the availability of new electronic pricing tools, it is also easier than ever for staff to calculate prices there and then, so you have an instant quote. In order for this to be done, you will need to know the specification of the product that you require, e.g. the handles and paint finish, as well as accurate measurements.
Finally, if you know the window manufacturer you want to buy from, you can use their own website to help you find exactly what you want from your builder’s merchant.