There is often an assumption that because our Fineo vacuum insulated glass (VIG) can be retrofitted into a window’s existing frame, it will be a cheaper option than completely replacing the sashes and box frame. However, this is not the case. The intricacy of the work means that labour time required to fit vacuum glazing is more, which is reflected in a slightly higher cost. Plus, the glazing itself is of superior quality. We take a closer look at the details…
When it comes to window style, comfort, and energy efficiency, vacuum insulated glass ticks all three boxes. If you are looking for a premium glass option, Fineo vacuum insulated glass is the ultimate double-glazing solution for windows. Not only will you gain thermal efficiencies greater than triple-glazing whilst remaining a slim as single glazed unit, Fineo glass can be retrofitted into your existing windows (if required) too – making it ideal for listed buildings. The extensive benefits of vacuum glazing will obviously impact its cost. Vacuum insulated glazing is not the cheapest product on the market. However, if you seek a premium glazing solution and are committed to saving energy at home, this glass would be a worthy investment. Whilst the face value cost of Fineo is higher than slimline double glazing, the cost will be recouped over time in money saved on year-round energy usage. Plus, you would be adding value to the property with this glazing solution.
When comparing triple glazing versus vacuum insulated glazing, Vacuum glazing, in our opinion, scores a clear win. It uses less in terms of materials, it offers the best in thermal efficiencies and is suitable for all types of properties, including listed and conservation areas.
Labour and Installation
As we mentioned earlier, there is a common misconception that labour costs regarding installing vacuum insulated glazing will be lower in comparison to completely replacing the sashes and box frames with new because with VIG it is possible to retrofit into the existing window/sash frames. However, this is not always the case. So, why is installation of VIG so labour intensive, we hear you ask?
When you are dealing with older windows and older sashes, it is always important to take a little more care. When crafting completely new windows/sashes, there is less need for preservation, because everything is being replaced. However, when you take a window out, on site, with a view to reglazing it, its vital to cause the least amount of damage possible.
When the window has been carefully extracted, we begin work on the window itself. The installer will set up some trestles or a bench at the customers property to enable them to remove the existing glass very carefully (be extra careful not to damage the existing joinery and frame). Trying remove the glass so it remains in one piece, takes precision and time.
On top of that, when the existing glazing is removed it is important to make sure that while the window is out, the window area and opening is safe and secured because the window will not be going back in straight away as we would a new window.
The window opening needs to be made as secure as possible while we work on the extracted sashes themselves to:
- Burn off the existing paint from the whole sash, often with a heat gun (which is time consuming).
- Prime the sash with two coats and allow for the drying time in between.
- Add the first coat of new paint.
- Glaze the Fineo glass into the sash and add the beading around the edge.
- Ensure it is custom designed to match the existing sash.
- Apply the topcoat of paint.
- Burn off and rub down the existing window frame.
- Prime the window frame with two coats of primer, followed by a coat of paint and then a topcoat. Allowing for drying time in between.
- Reinstall the vacuum glazed sash back into the existing frame.
To summarise, retrofitting glass into the existing fames is a long, intricate process which is typically conducted on site by the fitter. In comparison, when we manufacture new windows, the work is carried out in the workshop by our joiners and we will have specialists involved at each stage of the process i.e. we have specialist joiner joining the elements, a specialist in glazing elements etc. They are practicing their specialism all day every day and therefore, can carryout their role with precision and speed.
However, when our installer is refurbishing the existing sashes on site, it is not feasible for him to take a team of specialists with him. Therefore, an installer will be doing the all the jobs on site that in the workshop 4 or 5 different people would be doing in their specialist element. While all our fitters are skilled at these roles, it will obviously take them more time and specialist care.
In conclusion, installing vacuum insulation glass to existing sashes is not always a cheaper option due to the quality and premium standing of the glass used, as well as the intricate process involved in retrofitting the glass into older properties with sash windows. That said, whilst the face value cost of vacuum insulated glass and its installation is higher, the long-term benefits and recouped costs make it a glazing option well worth considering.