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The lowdown on window replacement

Dear Heather,

I have seen a house that I would love to buy, however, all the windows need replacing. What's involved with this?

— Homebuyer

Dear Homebuyer,

Buyers often see this as major work but in fact it needn't be so. I met with Ron Hook, managing director of Vinyltech, to discuss.

The first thing that needs to be done, is deciding whether you are going to just replace the existing windows, or use the opportunity to move, add or expand. No planning permission is required to replace like for like, however you will need a “permitted development application”, commonly known as a building permit.

If you intend to move or enlarge, it's quite different. The property will need to be checked out by a contractor or structural surveyor to ensure walls aren't load-bearing and if they are, that proper support is installed. In addition, the changes will also need a “permitted development application” building permit, and possibly Department of Planning permission, depending on the magnitude of the project.

Once it has been established how many need replacing — or whether you need to do it all at once — an estimate can be given, usually within a day or two. Vinyltech keeps seven different sizes of windows in stock that match the older, sash-style wooden windows in Bermuda. All windows have a limited lifetime guarantee of 25 years. During this time, if any part of the window fails, the factory will replace and charges will be for the technician's time only.

Windows are made from a reinforced vinyl material and the average cost of a standard 30” x 50” window is $390; the frame being $250. It is generally not a good idea to install windows without frames as the frames exist to support the mechanics of the window.

Sometimes new windows can be installed into existing aluminium or wooden frames, but the technician would have to check whether they would be compatible and/or the correct size. All the window frames are made on site here in Bermuda, and the windows and frames can be painted a colour other than white if required.

There two main qualities of glass that can be used for domestic projects:

1. Standard double glazed

2. DP (Design Pressure) 55, a top-of-the-line glass which can withstand winds up to 200mph. It features “Low-E” UV filter coatings which direct sunlight away from windows and stop heat from going into the house. The “Low-E” feature can significantly reduce your electricity bill; DP 55 windows cost $50 more than a standard window. The window can shatter if hit by flying debris at high speed

All windows require suitable hurricane protection during storms — either regular shutters, roller shutters, accordion shutters or clear Lexan panels. There are several companies that provide windows in Bermuda, so whatever your needs are, check out your supplier to see what they offer.

Heather Chilvers is among Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty's leading sales representatives. She has been working in real estate for nearly 30 years. Contact her at hchilvers@brcl.bm or 332-1793. All questions will be treated in confidence. Look for Ask Heather Real Estate on Facebook

Staying cool: “Low-E” UV filter coatings direct sunlight away from windows and stop heat from going into the house

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Published September 18, 2018 at 9:00 am (Updated September 18, 2018 at 8:45 am)

The lowdown on window replacement

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