How much does secondary glazing cost and is it worth the investment?

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  • If you’re in the process of making energy-efficient upgrades to your windows, you might be wondering “how much does secondary glazing cost?” “. You will be pleased to learn that secondary glazing offers an economical alternative to double glazing.

    So what is secondary glazing and is it worth it? Let’s start with the basics. Secondary glazing involves installing an additional pane of glass or plastic inside an existing window, creating a thermal barrier in the middle. The installation process removes the need to replace the entire window. When it comes to replacement windows, that’s usually what makes double glazing more expensive in the first place.

    How much does secondary glazing cost?

    As a rough guide, expect to budget a minimum of £5,000 to fit secondary glazing in a three-bed house. Cheaper, DIY systems are available for less. But at the other end of the scale, high-quality metal frame setups could end up costing around £10,000.

    “There are such a variety of secondary glazing options available, so the cost really depends on many factors,” says Dave Mechem, RISA’s director of inspection and assessment. “From the material and style of secondary glazing to the size of the property, there are a range of variables that can impact cost.”

    Image credit: Future plc/Colin Poole

    On average, secondary glazing costs are between £300 and £500 per pane. Of course, this varies depending on how many windows you are upgrading and what type of system you decide to install. Additionally, some systems can be installed on a DIY basis, while others will require a specialist assembly crew which you will need to factor into your budget.

    When shopping, you will also need to decide what level of functionality your secondary system should have. For example, are you looking for a temporary solution to protect existing windows against drafts during the cold winter months, which can be unclipped and lifted in the summer? Or are you looking for a permanent layer of double glazing that complements the aesthetic of a period home with character?

    “Material costs also fluctuate a lot right now,” says Dave Mechem. ‘To get an accurate quote, you should consider contacting a FENSA Approved Installer.’

    Another key question to ask is: is the secondary glazing working? In short, yes; although its effectiveness depends on the type of system you install. Greenmatch estimates you could save up to £45 on utility bills per month in an average-sized home.

    Types of secondary glazing and their cost

    Secondary glazing in a period house

    Image Credit: Architectural Bronze Windows

    Is secondary glazing worth it? We break down the types of glazing for your windows and the associated prices…

    1. Removable magnetic secondary glazing

    This system uses magnetic strips to attach the secondary pane to the main window. The magnetic seal prevents air from escaping. Magnetic removable screens could cost you less than £100 per m2, or between £1,500 and £2,000 for an entire average sized home.

    2. Temporary secondary glazing (raisable)

    A single pane of glass or plastic that is installed above a fixed main window in your home. On the plus side, being able to lift the frame means you can clean it and the main window on the other side more easily. Expect to pay between £3,500 and £4,000 for an average sized whole house.

    3. Permanent secondary glazing

    These solutions can be hung laterally (above a vertical pane or sash window) or sliding (vertical or horizontal). Sliding solutions tend to be the most expensive, at over £5,000 for an average sized whole house. Higher quality framing materials, such as wood or aluminum (or other types of metal), have a higher starting price.

    “For a professionally installed system we would recommend budgeting between £5,000 and £10,000 to fit secondary glazing in a three bed house,” says Andrew Smith, owner and manager of City Sound Glazing. “This figure is based on our aluminum frame system including supply and installation.” However, investing in higher quality materials also means that your system will provide a longer lifespan.

    4. Draftproof windows vs soundproof windows

    As with any type of window, the glass you choose for the pane will have an impact on the cost. Draft-reducing secondary glazing can cost up to £900 per pane, while solutions also designed to reduce noise from outside can cost over £1,000 per pane.

    Secondary glazing installation costs

    Many temporary secondary glazing products can be fitted yourself, either by clipping or screwing into the panel. This means they come with no setup fees.

    If you pay for a professional to come and install secondary glazing, expect to pay a daily rate of between £120 and £160, according to Checkatrade. If you choose a supply and fitting company, such as City Sound Glazing, the cost of installation will be included in the price.

    Maintenance costs

    Secondary glazing on leaded windows

    Image Credit: Architectural Bronze Windows

    Secondary windows with wooden frames will cost more to maintain. You will need to repaint and/or refinish the surroundings every few years. If you can do the job yourself, you only have to factor in the cost of varnish and/or paint. If it’s not a job you fancy doing, expect to pay upwards of £400 to have all the windows in your house repainted. It depends on where you live and how many windows you have. Aluminum and UPVC are low maintenance and only require cleaning, which you can do yourself.

    If you invest in a high-quality window set and have them professionally installed, check the quality of the warranty before you buy. Any serious issues with the installation of your windows should be covered by this, so you won’t have to pay extra to have them repaired.

    The verdict – is secondary glazing worth it?

    “Secondary glazing is a cost-effective way to insulate and soundproof windows,” says Lisa Morton, principal at Architectural Bronze Casements. “In addition, there is much less disturbance and heat loss during installation. And there is no masonry, dust or repair after the windows are installed.

    Secondary windows are also an effective way to keep your home warm if you can’t fit double-glazed units because your home is listed or in a conservation area, for example.

    The installation of double or triple glazed windows represents a greater investment in the short term. However, if you’re not restricted by any planning guidelines, you can realize greater savings on your energy bills in the long run.

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