We are in the process of deciding how to replace our existing 5 obsolete Velux windows plus adding a new one during the process of renovating our first floor and adding bathrooms and guest bedrooms.
We have had the usual (apparently) everpriced quote from a local window company as well as a local roofing company. In order to try to save some money, we are now looking at buying the windows in the UK and having a retired builder friend fit them.
We briefly toyed with the idea of buying cheaper non-Velux windows but have not been too impressed with the look and quality that we have seen. Has anyone fitted an alternative brand to Velux?
Secondly, we would like to know what the real differences are in the UW rating. We have looked at options from 1.2 - 1.4. The size of the windows is the standard 78 x 98cm. Is it really worth investing in what they call Comfort or Total Comfort in France vs. the standard glazing?
Basically, we are trying to reach a good quality / price balance!
We had 3 Velux fitted when our roof was redone. I bought them in UK at a much better price than that quoted by the roofer and they were shipped out on a pallet for £75. I made the mistake of not getting the "self cleaning" glass and have regretted it. It is very hard to clean them form inside as they are about 3M above the floor level and you will get drenched with dirty water if you try. They are only accessible form outside via a 4M ladder. I wish I had used the more expensive glass. I did get the low U-value version though.
Like most others here, stick to Velux. The local joiner who made and fitted our windows makes the same thing, along with dormers and so on for people who have to have particular styles and colour in wood because of good old UNESCO, if they are allowed at all. When we asked him he said to buy Velux. He came along and fitted them in between the rafters and battens in the roof. If you need a rafter cut as we had for one Velux, not always a good idea to try yourself.
We bought Velux windows from a large, french, DIY company which I'm sure is found in most large towns across France. (Its name includes 'brico' for bricolage and it 'depots' its materials on its premises!) I don't know what they would have cost in the UK because we have lived here too long to worry about comparisons but we bought four and had change from 500€. A builder friend with English roofing experience helped my husband fit them. If you are replacing existing windows I would imagine the job would be easier because the opening must already be there whereas we had to make ours. One point I would remind you( you probably have realised anyway) is that we needed permission from the Mairie to install them. There was no charge and no problem but we had to fill in a form which was stamped with approval. Obviously your existing ones will be fine but the extra one may need consent. My husband took a few photo's and drew in the positions of the velux openings, if I remember correctly.
I am thrilled with the finished result. I never imagined a velux window gave so much extra light!
The best alternative to velux are Roto, a German brand (available in uk at a comparative price, if not slightly cheaper)Certain sizes/designs also double as fire escapes, as they open 2/3 1/3 as opposed to 1/2 x 1/2. I have fitted these in my own house, and they are good quality and easy to fit, check out their website on the internet
Velux are the best. You need to buy the correct fitting kit for your type of roof. Ardoises or tiles and whether you want them to be proud of the roof or flush. Then you can have them top opening or middle opening, depending on head room. If you are not good at DIY find someone qualified otherwise they can leak and the fitting can be like a jigsaw puzzle if the timbers are not in the correct places, and they never are! Bonne chance.
Hi Danielle and Sam, we supply and fit Velux as part of our business. If you are purchasing 5 or 6 in one go it's definitely worth shopping around, particularly at the moment and you should be able to negotiate a good discount. Lapeyre, Point P, Chausson, Leroy Merlin and Castorama all supply Velux's. This is a spec sheet we sent to one of our clients last week, it is for a particular Velux window but does also include the differences in the different types available
Their customer service is very good and they will happily talk you through the benefits of each type and also can advise on UW rating and protection. You can also search the UK Velux site for the same specs - on the French site they are under Professional Documents and not obvious from the main page. Check the site map on the UK site.
Personally I wouldn't fit them yourselves unless you know what you are doing and are happy walking on your roof. They can be fitted from inside but not always and to ensure they are watertight the raccord needs to fitted correctly. Buying and fitting through an artisan will give you 10% TVA on the purchase instead of 20% and insurance if they leak. There are also benefits of 0% loan if you need it, and credit d'impot as well. We would charge around 250 -350 euro a window to fit HT, but would also negotiate a discount on supply and fit for 5 or 6 in one go. Not chasing business here as you are nowhere near us.............. Hope that helps you.
Buy them & fit them yourselves with the help of a friend if required. It's not difficult. In my neck of the woods they have to be built in so you will need the extra flashing kit. They can easily be fitted from inside so no scaffolding needed. Buy the best you can afford, Velux are good, others I have seen are not so good. You only get one chance to get it right. Good luck.