Triple glazing is not as commonly seen within UK homes as double glazing at present due to the extra costs involved, however, there are benefits of installing the upgraded type of glazed windows and doors into your property.
The increased layer of glazing is more common in Scandinavian countries where the weather is much colder, and therefore the benefits from increased protection are felt most of the year-round. Here in the UK, although triple glazed products are available on the market they are not often installed.
In this guide, we aim to cover if the newest innovation within the glazing industry and determine whether it’s worth the extra costs.
What Is Triple Glazing?
Triple glazing is a type of glazing that has three panes of glass instead of the standard two panes within double glazing. Within the space in between each pane of glass, gas is installed, usually, argon, which limits the level of heat that can escape through the windows, therefore providing greater insulation properties in comparison with other windows or doors.
What are The Benefits of Triple Glazing?
As briefly mentioned within the introduction, there are many benefits from installing triple glazing into your property as follows:
- Reduced heat loss & Improved energy efficiency – The third pane of glass and the internal gases work together to provide an airlock that keeps the internal heat in, increasing households energy efficiency. The energy efficiency of a property is important to keep heating bills as low as possible but it is also significant when the homeowner comes to sell or rent out a property following the government’s introduction of Energy Performance Certificates (EPC).
- Increased protection from noise – The additional pane of glass also provided added protection from external noise.
- Possible reduction of condensation – Depending on the cause of a condensation issue, the installation of triple glazed windows could improve the situation as the third pane of glass prevents the cold external temperatures from reaching the internal warmer temperatures, creating condensation.
- Increased property security – The further pane of glass adds increased strength to the windows and therefore they are harder to break.
What is The Disadvantage of Triple Glazing?
However, there are some disadvantages that should be considered before proceeding with installing triple glazed windows as follows:
- Weight of the windows or doors – Due to the additional pane of glass, a triple glazed unit will be heavier than a double-glazed unit and therefore they may not be suitable for all properties. In addition, depending on the location of the frame, the increase in weight can cause structural damage to the property if the additional weight has not been factored for and supported if required. Any potential supplier of triple glazing should fully assess the property to ensure that triple glazing is suitable before proceeding. If this hasn’t be undertaken by a potential supplier, it is highly recommended that advice is sought from a building surveyor.
- Additional costs involved – Although the price of triple glazed windows have been slowly reducing due to competition within the market, and the increased availability of triple glazed units that are made as standard within northern Europe, there are still significant cost differences between double and triple glazed window. For example, According to Checkatrade, the average price of a triple glazed window is likely to cost around £485, whereas the average cost of a double-glazed window is £350, around 28% cheaper. Also, when the price is scaled up to a larger sized property for example with 8-10 windows, the price differences are soon felt within calculations.
Please note that these are average prices of the unit only, and do not include the cost of installation.
- Triple glazing requires insulated frames – A homeowner cannot simply upgrade a double-glazed unit by adding a frame, the frame also needs to be insulated for the unit to perform as a triple glazed unit.
U-Value Ratings of Windows
The energy efficiency of all windows is represented with a U-value rating, where the lower rating is the most preferable for performance. Typically, a single glazed window has an average U-value rating of 5, whereas a double-glazed window would have an average U-value rating of 1.6. The triple glazed unit could have a U-value rating as low as 0.5.
Cost v Benefits of Triple Glazing
Unfortunately, as with any glazing upgrade, there are significant costs involved by both purchasing modern units and installation costs. The energy-saving benefits, although will likely be noticed by the homeowner or tenants, are often minimal in the sense of reducing the household energy bills and therefore the initial outlay will take a long period of time to re-pay.
However, as discussed, there are a range of other benefits from installing triple glazing such as increased security, increased noise reduction benefits, increased property value or improved aesthetic purposes, therefore the triple glazing option may still be an option for a homeowner or landlord.
As already mentioned, should the imminent sale or rent of the property in question be planned, installing double glazing may assist by increasing the EPC value and therefore making it a more attractive property to potential buyers or tenants?
Check out our complete guide on the price of new windows, if you want a rough idea of how much you can expect to pay (including installation). You can also read about the various window styles available, as well as double glazing, triple glazing and decorative windows.
How Else Can a Homeowner Save Energy?
If triple glazed windows are not a desirable option either due to the additional costs involved or the weight restrictions of the frames, there are other ways to save energy and therefore increase the overall energy performance of a property such as:
- Install other energy-saving measures such as cavity wall, underfloor or loft insulation, energy-efficient heating or zonal heating controls.
- Excluding draughts from the property.
- Implementing smaller changes such as putting up thick curtains.
There may be government grants available for certain energy-efficient installations, depending on the homeowner circumstances and therefore it is always worth checking the current schemes available online.
Triple Glazing Summary
There are many benefits to installing triple glazing however the cost difference to double glazing is substantial and therefore often there is not a simple answer as to whether installing the measure will be worthwhile.
The decision is likely to depend on other factors such as the current energy efficiency of the property and if other energy-efficient improvements have been explored.