We’ve had the triple glazing question debates in April, and as far as I’m concerned, it achieved good internal debate within the industry. It has allowed us to properly analyse the difficulties and strains of triple glazing and if it’s really worth the push bringing it to the masses. Some have. Some are reporting rising sales. Presumably due to those companies really giving it a push. However, I still believe there are three barriers triple glazing is going to have to break through if it is to really establish itself.
Unless you’re Everest and claiming to give it away for free, you’re charging more for triple glazing. It’s a more expensive product to make of course so that’s natural. But, the UK is still getting over a pretty sharp recession and many households are still keeping a close eye on what they’re spending. That means right now standard double glazing to an A rated standard remains a more attractive purchase. And if I’m a homeowner that would would make sense.
I’d probably have a budget and a limit to what I want to spend. I know that I can get some pretty good A rated windows which will make a vast difference to the old tatty timber ones or cruddy first generation PVC ones. So would any heat reduction or sound argument persuade me to spend beyond my budget for triple glazing? Probably not.
Triple glazing is always going to be more expensive, so either the price has to come down, or the economy needs to continue to improve so that spending power increases.
Triple glazing has traditionally been sold as a cure for noise and a solution to great heat loss. The TGQ has since proved those arguments carry little to no weight unless triple glazed units expand to about 40mm or beyond. So if the industry doesn’t have genuine arguments to go on, where else can we go?
A more technical problem to get around is that the industry doesn’t have such a large array of profile out there designed to take a support wide unit. There are some, but not a lot. If the industry was to really develop triple glazing profiles and expand the range of possible configurations, the sound and heat arguments would carry more gravitas and therefore be more persuasive to the customer to part with a bit more of their money.
It’s Not Cold Enough
Whilst other parts of Europe may be selling much more triple glazing than the UK, it’s vital to remember that their winters are much more severe than ours. They get the sort of cold that freezes hot water when thrown mid air. We don’t. Their sort of weather has helped to evolve glazing to the 40mm+ glass dimensions we’re only just scratching the surface of.
Whilst we all complain about how rubbish the weather is, it isn’t bad enough to warrant triple glazing on mass, not in my opinion anyway.
The exception to this rule though is Scotland. Their winters tend to be quite a lot cooler than in the rest of the UK. I can see a genuine triple glazing requirement up there. But in places like Surrey? No. The general population is used to mild wet winters, not exactly a triple glazing requirement.
Selling Skills Key
Triple glazing poses a unique problem. Evolution would suggest that this is the next natural step in our industry’s product future. Yet the environment in the UK isn’t the ideal place for it to prosper. The economy, climate and patchy communication skills all work against it. But it is coming. It won’t be a successful match on the dominance of double glazing, but more of a fits and starts sort of birth.
TGQ highlighted the issues for manufacturers and I’m sure they’re working on ways to get round them. All the ingredients are there, they just need to be put in the right place. Once suppliers have cracked it and got the right formula, triple glazing can take a big step forward. For now though, the product is going to have to work based on the selling skills of sales people and companies.