Tom's Barn

Windows....which company did you choose and why?

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Hi All

 

I am in the process of looking for a window supplier for our new house. There are a vast array of suppliers out there and as always many great sales people reinforcing the benefits of their approach and product. I am keen to hear from those who have selected a window supplier. Who did you choose? Why? Now that you have your windows are they any good and do they live up the salesman's patter? 

 

I am looking for triple glazed windows that are tilt and turn; we like the European approach to windows. We like sliding doors not bifolds and the window frames (dictated by the conservation officer) have to be RAL 7016 (grey) aluminium; it is so nice to have choice...

 

Thank you for taking the time to share your experience

 

Tom

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We have Internorm (3G aluclad in 7016). Imho the product quality is excellent, which is why we chose them, but you'll get mixed reviews on the UK installers. We're very happy with ours and although some people have had a bad experience with Ecohaus Internorm we've found them very responsive and accommodating (ours was not a straightforward install due to the inclusion of SageGlass).

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The question breaks down into 3 parts - choice of manufacturer, supplier, and of installer. While these are related, you do have some flexibility within them. 

We found it easiest to look at the manufacturers and products first, from a performance and aesthetic point of view, and choices of supplier largely follows from that. We're doing what we can to have our (passive house experienced) main contractor do the install, for the exact concerns NSS mentions.

 

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Thank you for your responses. I do have a quote from Ecohaus Internorm and the quality seems very good. However, I am concerned that I only have one quote and was trying to establish a comparable supplier for the costs, customer service and product. 

 

I take your point about separating out the manufacturer and supplier and installer but for something like Internorm and separating the first two is impossible. The danger with separating the chain of course is you then have 3 parties to deal with and with window issues I would prefer to have a single point of contact should issues arise. Where you have multiple parties in the building trade makes it very easy for them to blame the other party.

 

thanks for the comments so far 

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In my experience I wouldn't rely on having one easy point of contact for issues if you use Ecohause Internorm. I had to deal with every man and his dog and chase up the european tech expert from Internorm, who was particularly uninterested in helping out. Most issues I had were to do with installation, but also had a nightmare trying to sort out control of the external blinds, which should have been really easy but ecohause did not know anything about the product they were selling. I had countless revisits from so called experts to fix problems as well as 3 visits from plastic surgeon and magic man. None of the people that came to fix issues from Ecohause had been briefed on what needed doing and a number of them turned up with wrong parts or caused further problems.

 

If I was doing it again I would firstly find a recommended installer and then approach a supplier. Ask around on the forum for good installers in your area who are able to problem solve  not cause problems. It seems any idiot can fit a window, but it takes another level of skill and knowledge to sort out on site issues that may arise.

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I found it really quite simple.

 

I got quotes from 6 suppliers, the ones I can remember were Russel Timbertech, Rationel, Internorm, and Katzbeck.

 

Rationel were the cheapest, and the second best in terms of Uw value.  Only Internorm beat Rationel's Uw value, but they were twice the price.

 

They were fitted by the builders that built and erected my frame so I bought them on a "supply and fit" basis (so VAT free)

 

I have the Rationel Aura plus aluminium clad windows and very pleased with them.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Tom's Barn said:

for something like Internorm and separating the first two is impossible

Actually Internorm you have more flexibility than most of the quality 3G manfs, as you can choose from at least Ecohaus, Aspect Windows, and AT-Eco  (that's just the 3 UK supplier/installers I know of).

For most manf. you either order direct from the factory of via a single UK importer.

 

I take it you're after a quote from a different manufacturer though, rather than a second quote from a different supplier of the same products? 

Aside from the ones ProDave mentioned, we also looked at Gaulhofer (would have been preferred choice if our PHPP consultant could have made the numbers work), Green Building store, and Viking Window AS 

 

 

Edited by joth
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3 hours ago, Alex C said:

In my experience I wouldn't rely on having one easy point of contact for issues if you use Ecohause Internorm. I had to deal with every man and his dog and chase up the european tech expert from Internorm, who was particularly uninterested in helping out. Most issues I had were to do with installation, but also had a nightmare trying to sort out control of the external blinds, which should have been really easy but ecohause did not know anything about the product they were selling. I had countless revisits from so called experts to fix problems as well as 3 visits from plastic surgeon and magic man. None of the people that came to fix issues from Ecohause had been briefed on what needed doing and a number of them turned up with wrong parts or caused further problems.

 

If I was doing it again I would firstly find a recommended installer and then approach a supplier. Ask around on the forum for good installers in your area who are able to problem solve  not cause problems. It seems any idiot can fit a window, but it takes another level of skill and knowledge to sort out on site issues that may arise.

 

I would echo just about all of what Alex has written. 

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Looked at Internorm (2 different resellers), Nordan,  Velfac and Gaulhoffer (via Ecowin, UK reseller). Spec was alu-clad timber frame,  passive standard, 3G with as thin & flat a profile as possible. Spec was 5 largeish (1200mm) opening windows, a bunch of fixed glazing of various sizes, two 4.5m sliders and three external doors. We also wanted decent external motorised blinds on 4 of the opening windows & supplier to arrange install.

 

All the windows were decent enough - Internorm fell on pricing (the latter kept  pushing us to uPVC to get the price down), Velfac on the cost & sliders design (couldn't do a 'one door' unit at that width) and Nordan couldn't install even with 6-7 months notice.

 

Only Gaulhoffer reseller could do the blinds and were not far out on cost compared to the rest. Very pleased with the decision 4 years on from install.

 

Didn't like front doors from any of the above so went for a RK passive door from a reseller.

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We are having Gaulhofer (on order, not yet installed). 

Pro’s: ability to supply large pane sizes (larger than Internorm), availability of external blinds, good contact with myself & the architect, cheaper than Internorm, will take dimensions from plan. 

Cons: still a lot of money (!), occasionally need prodding to get responses. 

I have heard no complaints about the fitting on here, assuming that goes well I will be pleased. They are due to go in in late November, I will update you after that. 

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Sorry, haven't read the whole thread in detail but we have tilt and turn inward opening windows, and sliders.

 

Not lived there yet as it's a work in progress. We went with Internorm because they undercut the next best by a large figure (which we thought at the time were Norsken for what we we wanted) which made it a no brainer. The windows/sliders seem to be spot on, but it's too early to say definitely.

 

Thats the windows.

 

The installation was a shambles, and it looks so simple. With enough muscle around to lift the things, we're I to do it again I'm pretty sure I'd opt to fit them myself (is that permitted??)

 

We had the installations manger on site. I'm not sure he'd read any installation instructions.

 

Aftersales is reasonable.

 

They will come back and and refit a window vertically instead of at a jaunty angle.

They will come back and move a window to the correct position in the timber frame.

They will come back and re-do the mastic on all the windows that look like it's been applied by a three year old (that's the ones where they arrive unglazed and the glazing is fitted on site, sliders, picture windows, etc.)

 

 

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Internorm, the product is fantastic but the whole experience for us has been a nightmare from the initial order right through to the fitting and problems thereafter. All I can say is do your homework and get the right company. One point we wish we had listened to was people (Window sellers) telling us they had dealt with Internorm but never again as the process and dealing with Internorm was an absolute nightmare and I can confirm this.

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thank you for your information so far; brilliant. I am casting my net wider for quotes etc and will keep you posted on the outcome. Disappointing to hear of issues associated with the install of Internorm windows when the product seems (in the show room anyway) so good.

 

Actually, I have just taken a call from my builder and he has been working with a company called L and L Windows based in Tewkesbury. He tells me that the service and windows (Sunflex) that have been provided on his last couple of jobs have been excellent. I will investigate and report back.

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The thing to consider with windows is that, if you agree supply only then as soon as they're dropped on site, they're your responsibility.

 

With a supply & fit, any damage, poor fitting etc is back on them for resolution.

 

We had some very large units (2.2x4.5m sliders) that were being moved round site on straps via a tele-handler and slid in-between scaff poles with a few mm to spare on either side.

 

All went well and they used proper compriband & airtightness tapes (which we obv. paid for) vs a squirt of LE foam here and there.

 

We also did a lot of joint planning upfront to ensure that we'd have a flush transition between the sliders and the finished floor levels inside (and outside) plus making sure the frame could accommodate the hidden boxes for the blinds etc.

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18 minutes ago, Bitpipe said:

The thing to consider with windows is that, if you agree supply only then as soon as they're dropped on site, they're your responsibility.

 

With a supply & fit, any damage, poor fitting etc is back on them for resolution.

 

We had some very large units (2.2x4.5m sliders) that were being moved round site on straps via a tele-handler and slid in-between scaff poles with a few mm to spare on either side.

 

All went well and they used proper compriband & airtightness tapes (which we obv. paid for) vs a squirt of LE foam here and there.

 

We also did a lot of joint planning upfront to ensure that we'd have a flush transition between the sliders and the finished floor levels inside (and outside) plus making sure the frame could accommodate the hidden boxes for the blinds etc.

Based on the value of the windows and the delicate nature of the glass within normal site conditions, I wil be going for a supply and fit. 

The foam and the tape you mention are interesting; I have just looked those up and look just the ticket. Thank you

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2 hours ago, Tom's Barn said:

Based on the value of the windows and the delicate nature of the glass within normal site conditions, I wil be going for a supply and fit. 

The foam and the tape you mention are interesting; I have just looked those up and look just the ticket. Thank you

 My window company/installer was adamant that they only ever use expanding foam and not the tape but after a discussion they came round to my way of thinking so the installation included the cost of the expanding foam tape. They put expanding foam on the interior side above the sliding doors (expanding foam tape on the exterior side of the doors) and when the technical guy turned up from Internorm the first thing he said who has used expanding foam there even though this was not the reason he was there. The problem with Internorm and some of the higher end companies is that they specify the way the windows/doors should be fitted (but not so the customer will know if it is right or not) and if in the future you have a problem with the product and it is not fitted exactly to standard then you will have a whole load of trouble. Not only did we have trouble with the standard of the installation but we had the wrong type of door fitted for the location it was fitted in. When you query the whole procedure from a customers point of view you just get that the installers/fitters/desiners are supposed to know what they are doing and have been trained to do so but how are we meant to know what is an acceptable standard.

Windows for us has been a nightmare.

Do not under estimate how much the airtightness tape costs either.

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12 hours ago, Pete said:

Internorm, the product is fantastic but the whole experience for us has been a nightmare from the initial order right through to the fitting and problems thereafter

Could I ask who did you use for supply + fit?

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10 hours ago, joth said:

Could I ask who did you use for supply + fit?

The company I dealt with supposedly went into administration but are still trading and no longer have an account with Internorm. If you want further info pls feel free to PM

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All I can say, is as as a supplier it is important to us to ensure that the planning before installation is undertaken and the relevant equipment etc. is onsite and all the materials.

 

We only use a select team of installers across the UK. and very happy with them.

 

The last year for us (me personally), has been extremely difficult after the loss of a key part of team due to his untimely passing. Everything was/is on my shoulders and I was struggling with that. We haven’t been perfect, I haven’t always been on top of calling people back or responding to queries. Workload was and is huge.

 

I had/have a team to bring up to scratch on everything, training them getting them to understand the products/details/sections/elevations/floor plans/logistics/timings - everything. As well as deal with everyday quotations/orders/installs and personal life. 

 

I’ve struggled with this and was down in the dumps for a while, recognising the problem and admitting to it was the breakthrough and I’m in a better place mentally now.

 

It’s the first time I’ve experienced depression, normally an upbeat person and always positive, which was all stress related and I’m never stressed. I’m normally the “shit happens, find a solution” guy in all aspects of life. It wasn’t the case for 6 months or so and it got the better of me.

 

The team are all pulling together and getting things done. I’m not here to have a go at anyone supplier or installers but sometimes, something else is happening and when things do not go correctly. It’s how it’s resolved that’s important.

 

To us though, it’s important to use airtightness foil, compriband, pu foam. It’s important that the order is thoroughly discussed and checked before production commences. It’s also important to us, to install the product as per manufacturers instructions.

 

PU foam is fine above a slider but has the defection rates of lintel been taken into account? PU becomes a solid and if the lintel deflects and the tolerances haven’t been adapted to suit, operational issues occur. It’s good practice to use compriband only on the heads of sliders to mitigate compression on the head and operational issues as a result.

 

As when it does go wrong, we’re responsible and a blame game doesn’t start, as we didn’t install or the customer/builder didn’t check things when signing off.

 

How are they supposed to know what all the jargon means?

 

We aren’t infallible but we are honest.

Edited by craig
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Sorry to digress how much thermal performance is gained by using pu foam or is it more about air tightness or something?

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