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Window replacement (frames and glass or just glass)

  • 14-10-2022 8:04am
    Registered Users Posts: 191 ✭✭

    i have double glazed upvc windows installed in 2005 and as part of various upgrades(cavity wall pumped insulation and upgrade attic insulation) want to get something with better insulating properties

    house has a lot of windows….

    quote for just replacing the panels and keeping the frames is coming in at 13kish (u value of 1.0)

    I’m looking at double or more for full double glazed replacement windows (based on guidelines quotes so far)

    the existing frames seems to be in ok nick but the seals are certainly knackered( have been replaced once already and not a good job) so I don’t know if this should influence my decision

    anyone any experience of just replacing the panels?

    will they last nearly as long as full replacement ?

    will there be much difference between the insulation properties of each option?

    any feedback most welcome as I feel I’m shooting in the dark otherwise


    p.s the lead time for just replacing is relatively short and the company who quoted were strongly recommending this option versus new frames and windows, I guess they might be just filling their order book smartly and might be the same profit margin either way

    finally not sure I could afford full new windows at this point in any case so it might be a case of do nothing or go with window replacement


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,702 ✭✭✭poker--addict

    I am no expert. It could be worth getting another quote, even if it’s just to pick the other companies brain to see if their approach is similar to your current proposal.

    From an ignorant perspective it makes sense the glass itself is the major driver of the overall window performance, and that means a sound argument for avoiding butchering out frames, and all the repairs that will come with it.

    Presumably the installer of the glass could also put fresh seals on the frame openings- and will already be using new seals where glass itself is being replaced, so it’s just the opening seals that would need doing?


  • Registered Users Posts: 191 ✭✭Curiousness99

    I agree it seems to make sense (as non expert) that updating the glass should give most of the insulation benefits.

    I'll try to get at least one other price although there seems to be fewer companies offering glass only replacement, and it's a struggle to get companies to quote at all in some cases.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,400 ✭✭✭DC999

    If you like to research, should be some stuff on YouTube where people have tried that and compared. Then you'd get some sense of it. Plus if the company are recommending them, ask can you call someone that got them fitted to see the difference (in the real world).

    If the new frames are also upvc, you'd assume similar levels of heat transfer through the upvc. Meaning changing the seals would be a good thing. I've only interweb knowledge of windows but unless there are using something newer, it's still a plastic material for the new frames. Interweb must have some legit sources on improvements to u values of frames in the last 15+ years.

    We've old aluminium frames in some ancient rooms - the cold comes in through the metal (and gets a load of condensation on the metal). You don't have that issue - seals are likely your issue when heat is lost.

    Triple glaze helps reduce the noise from outside (we’re on a main road). Weirdly and counter to what you'd expect, I have seen a lot of debate online if triple glass is actually better for heat retention than double glaze (for cost difference to buy and fit them). Seems to matter less in Ireland / UK where temps don't drop hugely (compared to other parts of Europe). But quality of the fit is really important from what I’ve read. Will prevent leaks around the window. I expect most fitters fling the windows in. I've never seen an air sealant tape between frame and sill – recommended now. Or proper airgap sealant around the frame. I’ve seen crowbars and hammers!!

    I'm all for reducing our energy costs (and heating costs are a biggie). But doubling the cost for all new windows would be hard to swallow. Heavy curtains in places would help. Ikea do insulating blinds that are supposed to better hold in the heat. In time you could even get them on an automated timer so they would auto close at sunset.

    You could get a temp sensor and try it in one room for a week and see if heavier curtains / blinds make a difference. If it does, then you could likely keep the frames as it means a better air seal would keep the heat in the room. Get what I mean? Windows that get hammered with weather / wind (if there is a windy side to the house) might better suit a replacement. Or cold parts of the house (like north facing room) that are already cold and need a lot of heating. Enjoy the hunt!  

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,730 ✭✭✭yankinlk

    I got a small local installer to replace all single with double glazed... a few rooms at a time every year. When all finaly done I woukd say next to attic insulation this was the greatest improvement to my heat retention. Takes way less heat to be comfortable almost makes the stove redundant.

    My point is full replacement is expensive and also delayed due to current material shortages... but you get what you pay for in the long run.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,773 ✭✭✭✭the_amazing_raisin

    So I guess in terms of the cost of replacement, I think for uPVC windows they just need to remove the plastic trim surrounding the glass and then the glass can be removed. Overall its a fairly quick job

    Replacing the frame is definitely more involved, so as you can imagine the labour costs are higher

    Recently a lot of newer windows seem to focus on minimising or eliminating the frame. The logic seems to be that the glass is a better insulator and the frame creates a cold bridge

    Not sure how much truth there is in that, but I gotta admit those frameless windows look pretty slick. They'd want to be given the price

    I think replacing the seals and maybe caulking or sealing around the edge of the frame is a good start. When you've decent insulation then I think a lot of the heat losses start to come from cold bridges and draughts

    It'd also be a lot cheaper than replacing windows, so worst case if it doesn't do the job then you haven't lost much

    If you haven't already, I'd also recommend getting a blackout blind and curtains for all the upstairs windows at least. Close them both in the evening when you turn the heating on. Basically you want to create as many trapped pockets of air as you can as these will further insulate the window

    Also if you've kids the darkness upstairs will stop them getting up at 5am 😁

    "The internet never fails to misremember" - Sebastian Ruiz, aka Frost

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  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 18,617 Mod ✭✭✭✭slave1

    I replaced a number of double glazed windows in the last few years, all were total replacement because I wanted triple glazed and the double glazed were too small to cater for the increased glass width. Treble glazing is well worth it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭Nelbert

    Second that on triple glaze (if your current frames are being retained and can fit them).

    Every piece bar two large sliding doors are triple glazed since last year. Tough to gauge their individual performance as insulation was done at same time but the kitchen area which is more glass than wall at the back only drops about 2 degrees overnight on a cold night. During warm summer it stays pretty much steady.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,593 ✭✭✭THE ALM

    Just replaced all our windows and doors with Triple glazed units. Original upvc frames were poor enough, 2006 build, and too narrow to upgrade glazing alone.

    Although only heading into the winter we notice a big difference in terms of heat retention and noise. The old frames were drafty enough which was half the problem. Averaging out the U'Value has probably dropped to the low 0.8W/m2K so hoping for a cost winter.

  • Registered Users Posts: 191 ✭✭Curiousness99

    Thanks for all the comments and suggestions.

    I'll definitely getting more than one quote.

    I take on board the positive feedback of people who got triple grazed windows but I half wonder would you see most of the benefits if you got low uvalue double glazed in any case . I guess you'd need to have experienced both to be in a good position to opine.

    I do have a composite front door with three large triple glazed surround glass panels and it seems the business (notwithstanding they didn't use airtight tape when fitting a n d the u value is probably not super low)

    My real question is am I being pennywise and pound foolish going with just replacing the panels.

    The ideal would be to get top end windows ( in terms of u value) and wrap around insulation done at the same time to avoid thermal bridging etc. but it simply costs too much and I can't afford.

  • Registered Users Posts: 191 ✭✭Curiousness99

    So I got a quote today for €28.5k for new upvc windows (triple glazed with a supposed u value of 0.9)

    it’s about double the cost of just replacing the existing window panes, but also includes new back door, new French doors and another large feature window(very heavy and awkward to fit because of former roof sticking out and it’s second story) which the other company weren’t going to replace

    it Seems to be a case of may as well be hung as a sheep as a lamb but I’m kinda thinking they have to last twice as long as just getting the panes replaced (assuming the fitting is up to scratch)

    for 29 windows, a back door and one set of French windows it doesn’t seem ludicrously expensive given the prices I hear people talking about, I’m already concluding it’s competitive on the basis it’s a Northern Ireland outfit too 🤔

    Would love to hear what some people have been paying for new windows and frames to see if it’s ballpark

    havent Had great success getting Dublin based outfits to quote, one that came up never got back to me and really seemed disinterested when they were here

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