When it comes to building, renovating, or refreshing a residential or commercial property, glazing is almost certainly going to be a crucial element of the design. However, it can also present an overwhelming challenge at times, with so many different options available on the market. It can be difficult to understand how glazing can differ in quality from one supplier to the next, but trust us when we say - it can, and what you choose matters!
So how do you go about choosing the right supplier for you? What should you be looking out for when choosing your glazing solution, and how can you be confident that you’re working with the right specialist to achieve your dream outcome? Cantifix has been working in the industry for over 30 years, so we’ve put together some of the best advice we can give when it comes to choosing your glazing specialist. Read on for our top tips and tricks!
Choosing the right glazing supplier - why it’s important
As with any investment, it’s important to take the time to do your research and, in this case, find the right glazing supplier for your project. However, when it comes to glazing, there are a few specific reasons why this is such a particularly crucial decision.
Ultimately, it comes down to saving time and money in the long-term that may otherwise be wasted. With glazing, and renovating in general, you only want to do it once and have it done properly, without having to worry about replacing anything later down in the line. With this in mind, it’s vital to get the right glazing product, finished to the right quality, installed in the right way, on time - first time.
If a glazing supplier does not finish the job to a high standard, you may find yourself facing unforeseen challenges a few years on which can be both extremely costly and stressful. With an investment of this scale, you shouldn't have to worry about something potentially going wrong later down the line.
You need to choose a glazing specialist who you can fully trust to take the full weight of responsibility from you - not only supplying you with the highest quality product, but also offering you enough support, advice and aftercare so that you can rest assured you’re only investing in the best. Here are a few things that you should be particularly aware of:
As in any industry, the longer a glazing company has been in business, the better they’ll be to work with. They’ll have more knowledge, will have worked on many similar projects to yours, and they’ll have an understanding of how to navigate bespoke and potentially complicated requirements.
With more years of experience under their belt, they’ll also be placed to provide advice and consultation on your specific project, rather than merely acting as a supplier. Having a confident and knowledgeable team on-hand can make the whole process a lot more seamless - plus, they’ll be far more likely to accommodate challenging briefs and projects that other suppliers might turn down.
In this vein, a glazing supplier with decades of experience will be much better placed to find solutions to your challenges - if there happen to be any hurdles in your project - along the way. Some suppliers may simply recommend an alternative, more straightforward option, which could potentially compromise your project - but an experienced glazing specialist will be able to advise or even specifically design and engineer ways in which to achieve your dream outcome.
Here at Cantifix, for example, we like to think that we’re one of the most knowledgeable glazing specialists out there. As we were founded 34 years ago, you can guarantee that we have the products and expertise to bring any vision to life. Since the early 1990s, we have been working on projects all over the world, and we’re extremely well-versed when it comes to providing advice and finding solutions for glazing.
In addition to that, we are known in the industry for breaking boundaries. We were the first company to use glass as a structural material in 1990, while our design director literally wrote the book on structural glazing: “Structural Use of Glass in Buildings”. We’ve installed the largest single piece of glass in Europe, did the UK’s biggest sliding door, and also created the first ever two-storey, unsupported glass bridge. These are the kinds of things that set us apart from competitors, and should be the benchmark of experience that you use when you look for your next glazing supplier.
One of the key indicators of how efficient a glazing company will be, is whether they have an in-house team to complete the work or if they use subcontracted labour to install their products.
If the company uses third party subcontractors, for a role such as project manager or engineer, they are acting as the “middle man” in a sense, between you and the final outcome. This means that, effectively, there is another step in the accountability chain which may lead to added complexity if you have any specific requests or if you have to face any hurdles throughout the course of the project.
The ideal scenario is that the glazing company will employ all the workmen needed for the job and you’ll be able to deal with the entire team directly. Every project is unique and requires a variety of specialist skills, which is why having the full team under one roof is so hugely valuable.
Here at Cantifix, we supply all the project managers, designers and engineers needed for a project in-house. We design, survey, manufacture and project manage each job, using only Cantifix employees for this important work. At the start of each and every project, we hold a kick-off meeting which includes all the employed suppliers to ensure we get the brief right straight from the outset.
In fact, we think there are plenty of advantages to discussing projects in the conception stage. We take great pride in handling every stage of the process when it comes to our structural glazing, from first conception right through to completion. This way, we can work with our clients to ensure all of our designs meet expectations and maximise value for the client. Doing so also leaves far more flexibility for us to make changes during the design process - meaning we can ensure our final installation perfectly matches our client’s requirements. Plus, the majority of our staff have been with us for years, so they’re highly experienced.
Choice of Materials
When it comes down to it, this is your project. Your dream, your baby. Something that you may have been planning for years. Ultimately, even though you may need support and advice along the way, it should be up to you to decide how the final product will look and the choice of materials you wish to achieve this.
Some glazing suppliers may not offer a wide choice of materials, if at all - making the bespoke nature of your vision in fact rather a narrow window of choice. Ideally, you should look for a glazing supplier that offers a comprehensive range of glass for all kinds of applications and installations. You should be offered a choice of various thicknesses, laminations, finishings and coatings. At Cantifix, we even offer advanced glazing technology such as switchable glass and Solstice Glass - the first glazing to harness the health benefits of natural light.
Quality of Products
Of course, ultimately the final look of a project will come down to the quality of the products used. If cheaper products are used, it is unlikely to last for long and may cause problems (and more money) further down the line. It is advisable to invest in a glazing supplier that uses top-of-the-range, quality materials to ensure that the finished product truly stands the test of time.
Here at Cantifix, we offer top-of-the-line systems. We use only the very best quality materials for our products, ensuring a perfect finish every time. No matter what your vision is, we have the skills and resources required to achieve it. Our achievements have attracted the attention of distinguished architects and have earned us a place amongst the leading names in specialist glazing.
For example, we’re one of five Sky-Frame approved installers in England (with only seven in the UK). Sky-Frame is widely regarded as the top-end door system on the market and only their approved installers are allowed to sell and install it.
Check The Warranty
When making an investment, such as new glazing, you want to make sure that you’re prepared for every eventuality - including (worst case scenario) something potentially going wrong with your glass later down the line.
Warranty on products is a form of reassurance: peace of mind that you can be refunded or resolve any issues, should you need it.
Be wary of glazing suppliers that have short warranty times or perhaps don’t even offer it at all. This is an immediate indication that their materials might not be the best quality, or they don’t have experienced contractors fitting it.
If a glazing specialist offers a lifetime warranty, then you can rest assured that they do not envisage anything ever going wrong with your product.
At Cantifix, no matter what kind of project it is, we see all our working relationships as long-term, because we want to return the trust that the client has invested in us when they asked us to work on their project.
Other Things To Look Out For:
Professional indemnity insurance protects businesses who provide services to clients from the legal costs and claims for damages that may arise from any problems arising during the course of business. While any suppliers you have working on a job are likely to have a good relationship with you, a mistake in a project can change working dynamics overnight.
Any good, established glazing specialist will have a PI policy in place, but it’s still important to check that this is the case. You can ask a supplier to explain how theirs works, what they’re covered for, and more, just to be on the safe side.
Other important things to ask about is the level of aftercare you’ll receive with your products - in this instance, glazing specialists who have been in the business for a long time will usually have the best experience when it comes to long-term maintenance, and it’s important to check what your options are with your solution down the line.
Choosing the right supplier is a big decision. If there’s one thing this article demonstrates, it’s that there’s a lot to consider, but while everything listed above is really important, the most valuable tool in the decision-making process is your gut.
Pay attention to how a specialist makes you feel - do they know their stuff, really? Do they make you feel like your project is in safe hands? Do they seem flexible and accommodating, and are they genuinely interested in helping you achieve the project of your dreams, or are they just keen to make a sale?
If you’d like to find out exactly how Cantifix approaches everything we’ve listed here, we’d love to talk. Simply get in touch via our contact form.