Triple glazing has been about for a while now. There was even a conference about it in 2014. Hype was brisk and much of the industry was expectant that it wouldn’t be all that long before it would take root and start to eat into double glazing’s market share.
Yet, years later, it still feels like triple glazing has yet to make the market shift we all expected. So, is there a big boost waiting in the wings, or has it failed?
Is there truly demand?
We have a family run installations company in Wakefield. It’s about as central in the UK as you can get. Climatically speaking, we’re also about the middle of the road. Not as cold as the north of Scotland, not as warm as the South East. That being said, it can get pretty chilly. Where we are, we rarely get asked by home owners for quotes for triple glazing. In fact I quoted my first triple glazing job in about 18 months last week. It’s on our website, it’s in our showroom, but home owners round here are either not aware that it’s available or just don’t care about it.
If it’s the latter, is it because they think it’s too expensive? Is it because they don’t think we have the weather to justify it? Is it because they don’t know enough about it to go for it? Or is it all three? My personal opinion is that it’s probably the first two. As it happens, the home owner I quoted for triple glazing has since scaled back to double glazed windows with Optiphon acoustic glass.
Whenever I bring up the triple glazing debate, I do get comments from those north of the English border saying that triple glazing is alive and well in Scotland. So, if you’re based in Scotland and you’re reading this, please let us know how you think triple glazing is performing where you are. Is it growing in popularity? Are you selling more each year? Has it overtaken sales of double glazing? All feedback on this is welcome to help try and build up a picture as to how well triple glazing is actually doing.
Too many reasons not to
For me, triple glazing still has too many reasons for home owners to pass it up. For a start, the UK really isn’t that cold. Not Scandinavian or Russian levels of cold. We think temperatures in the Winter of 0 degrees is cold. For us, yes. For other parts of the world no. And it is in other parts of the world where triple glazing is more widely used, such as the aforementioned Scandinavia. Unless we descend into an Ice Age any time soon the current crop of highly advanced double glazing options will do the trick for most UK households.
Setting aside sales and promotions on triple glazing by some installers, triple glazing remains more expensive than double glazing. The IGUs cost more, they’re heavier, transport and installation provisions have to be made. Installers command a higher profit margin for them. But from a home owner’s perspective, is it truly worth it? As we now know, only triple glazing with units 44mm or wider actually provide any tangible sound or heat benefits. There are lots of 32mm and 36mm systems out there, which are frankly pretty pointless. Why pay more for that?
Making the situation worse is that double glazing specifications continue to get better each year. U-Values grind further south, noise reduction gets better, all within a 28mm system that most fabricators and installers are used to. Often remaining cheaper than triple glazing. Things like weight and transport don’t become issues. Installation is just as you would normally expect. The home owner gets vast improvements to their property without having to go the whole hog with triple glazing.
Perhaps if double glazing was still in a primitive form, un-evolved and generally poor, triple glazing might have made more of a dint in the market. As it is, whilst double glazing continues to get better and remains a simple product to sell for both fabricators and installers, triple glazing will always stay on the side lines.
You didn’t think I’d end a post like this without a poll did you? Before you head off, let us know if you think triple glazing has indeed failed or if it’s a boom waiting to happen:
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To be honest, it should have come as no surprise to anyone at the 2014 conference that triple glazing has not taken off. The cost benefit analysis never held water for the vast majority of the UK especially with the improvement to current systems and glass.