Double glazing installation

Discussion in 'Windows and Doors' started by Dru, 17 Jun 2008.

  1. Dru

    Dru

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    I had replacement UPVC windows fitted this week. I am very unhappy with the installation and plan to complain tomorrow but wanted to check I wasn't making a fuss over nothing.

    Every window (and a door) has been fitted with additional strips of plastic on the surrounding walls. I.e. there is an approx 3 inch wide strip of UPVC along the existing interior sills, and also on the walls at right angles to the window. I imagine this has been done to hide any unsightly plaster work resulting from the installation but it looks dreadful and seems to be to be a very lazy way of pretty-fying walls and gaps between the window and wooden sill. Every where I look there are acres of plastic. I would have expected then to touch up any damaged plasterwork (indeed that's what I asked for specifically).

    We also told them not to worry about damaging the tiles in the bathroom as we are ripping them out soon but they have fitted these strips of plastic over the tile on the window ledge so that when we re-do the bathroom and rip the tiles up, it'll most likely damage the plastic strip.

    They were to replace a rotton interios window sill in one room but instead have merely covered it in yet more plastic (the original sill is still in situ).

    In addition the (unnecessary) plastic framing the new door has not been mitred at the top corners.

    Am I in the wrong?
     
  2. Richard C

    Richard C

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    Doesn’t’ sound like it to me! Unfortunately, plastic trim is a “trick” that’s used extensively to disguise poorly surveyed window openings, surveyor got the sizes wrong or the fitter has got it wrong. The windows do have to be made 8-12mm smaller than the opening or you would have difficulty fitting them & sometimes the original openings aren’t square so the gaps can end up larger. Even so, some discretely applied 12mm quadrant trim at the sides & a flashing strip across the top (the sill should be packed up from the bottom) is all I would expect to see on the outside; anything larger & something hasn’t gone quiet right & 75mm wide trim strips is a joke!

    This link will give you some idea of what’s involved so you can decide what is & is not acceptable practice:
    http://www.doubleglazing.com/diy_survey.htm

    A good company will make good on the outside but you need to make sure they include for this. If the fitters are competent, they should also cause the minimum of damage to inside decoration/plaster but it’s not always easy. It’s not usual for them to include “making good” the plaster work inside but if you specifically asked for internal making good & they included this in their contract price, then it should have been done; how well is another matter, window fitters aren’t plasterers & will probably make a pigs ear of it so it's usually best to make your own arrangements for internal making good.

    I would always advise replacing the internal window boards (sills) as the originals can get damaged & will rarely match the new windows; I prefer laminated (a bit like kitchen worktop), they are more expensive but you don’t have to paint them & they look good. If you asked (& have paid for) a new sill, that’s what you should have got. Sticking trim over the tiles is also a bodge but as long as they have used silicone, it should pull off fairly easy & if your re-tiling, you won’t need the strip either.

    It sounds like you have good grounds for complaint but without actually seeing it, it’s difficult to be too critical. Unfortunately there are few DG companies that employ their own fitters any more & if you consider they can get as little as £50 per window, £70 per door regardless of size, they want to get in, out & on to the next job ASAP but I appreciate that’s not your problem. There are also some real "cowboys" in the trade & IMO, it's the fitters that should be FENSA registered as well as the installation company! Without being too specific, was it a small local company or large National? Have you handed over all the money yet? Assuming they are FENSA registered, it may help if the company is less than co-operative!
     
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  4. Dru

    Dru

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    Thanks Richard.

    It makes a nice change that I haven't paid them yet (bar a small deposit). I have been fixing up my house over the past 2 years and have lost count of the number of times I have noticed problems after paying tradesmen. You then feel powerless as they have their money and no incentive to fix things. This time I owe them £4,000 so I feel the power!

    I spoke to the (small) company owner today and he sent the fitter back round this afternoon. He claims there has been a misunderstanding somewhere and he simply follows the job sheet. The surveyor sheet states a upvc sill but there's no mention of that on my contract. The contract makes no mention of plastering and I am prepared to concede that point as I'm not sure I ever expected them to plaster the walls, just 'make good' in a non messy way with caulk.

    Tonight I have pulled off all the trims around the windows and indeed there are gaps between window and wall and sill and window as expected. I am fully prepared to pay someone to replace all the sills as I wasn't aware there would be a gap. I am also happy to pay a plasterer to tidy up the edges. I need several rooms plastered anyway so it won't be a hassle to get the extra bits done.

    With regards to the door framing, the surveyor sheet states UPVC frame but again there's no mention of it on my contract. The fitter was a nice guy so I felt too bad to bring up the lack of a mitre join.

    I am trying to decide what I want the company to do, if anything. They were going to pull off the trim but I have done that. The sealant needs cleaning off the frames though. Given that I am going to get a plasterer in to tidy up the walls and replace the sils, do I get the DG company to come and fill in the gaps in the walls as if they were 'making good' in caulk? Seems like maybe that'd be something the plasterer would do anyway.

    I think maybe I'm being a pushover but I find it too hard to be mean to people! I did threaten to withold payment until I am completely happy though.
     
  5. Richard C

    Richard C

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    It’s a learning process you have to go through & experience makes all the difference; informed selection is the key & pay as little as possible up front but I’m lucky that I’ve over 30 years experience of both managing large contracts & some very large projects so I don’t get caught out that easily & can usually spot cowboys a mile off.

    Don’t pay them any more money & see how the company responds but if your in any doubt, you need to get your complaints documented; write to the company (recorded delivery is best) listing the problems you have, what you want done about it & when you want it done (within reason). You must give them the opportunity to put things right &, if it gets dirty, this is the only way you would be justified in withholding further payment!

    Well he would say that wouldn’t he; but be gracious & give him the benefit of the doubt. Chances are that now he’s aware your not a total push over, he won’t continue to take the P*** & unless he truly is a muppet, he knows full well the difference between a good job & a bad one!

    If you asked for it at time of quoting, you should have checked it was in the contract; this is all that matters. It's minor, forget it & take care of it yurself; you can try using it as a negotiating tool if you’re confident you actually asked for it.

    It’s normal & as I would expect; the house would have been plastered after the windows were fitted so you wouldn’t see the join. Unless you’re truly loaded & paying for the “Full Monty” you just have to be aware you won’t get a perfect match inside; as I said they’re window fitters not plasterers or decorators!

    Not really your problem; if that's what was agreed, it should have been done but ditto the contract as with the cill.

    Already covered above; you have to give them either the chance to put it right or negotiate a discount from what you owe them to cover the costs of putting it right but it has to be reasonable.

    Be careful, you must stipulate what your unhappy with, what you want them to do about it & how long you will give them to put it right. Remember, its business; always be nice whenever possible but it doesn’t always work out & you sometimes have to be really firm (mean!). Some will always spin you a total load or “brolacks” if it suits them, particularly if the think they will get away with it!
     
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