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Brackenwood Windows

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    4 Reviews
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      26.07.2012 15:26

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      If you like bad customer service & coughing up more money after installation feel free to use them!

      Disgraceful service bad window seals which look drawn on by a 3 year old,
      After installation front door won't lock and window won't shut which can lead to burglary,
      Called the maintenance guys out 5/6 times
      and today i must have seen the maintenance man 3 times already this year since getting my windows and doors refitted last October.

      Top it off the worst Customer service to date:
      The lady tried to charge me £75 for their mistake and that's after wasting £7000 on them,
      First my front door was unsecured and it's my big front lounge window which can easily fit a 6ft guy in won't shut and the problem isn't even locking it, forcing me to take a day off work to guard my house as my window won't shut, she said she can't even send someone out til two days time.
      I have to work for a living and she expects me to house sit for two days!

      I don't see why i should have to fork out £75 for problems they caused and argued where the customer service, the so called 'manager' kept talking over not letting me to explain or vent out my problem, she threatened to hang up on me several times and this is coming from a 'professional' manager she was unable to communicate with me properly as she had kept stuttering.

      To top it off when she passed the phone to another colleague i can hear her talking behind my back.
      this happened on the 25th July so its fairly recent.

      Avoid this company at all cost or end up with sour grapes and more problems than before

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      03.05.2012 14:49

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      Simply the Worst!! Be careful or they will take your money and run. Agreed work with Brackenwood late 2011 with included several sets of french doors. Pushy sales team who agreed a fast install to 'fit their install schedule'. The date for install came and went and they could still not agree on the actual scope of work. Eventually I was told that the original work agreed could not be done without amendments. Per their contract I asked for a refund. The contract states you can get a refund if they can't do the work as originally agreed. They took the next stage payment and did NO work at all. Several thousand pounds!I have been left out of pocket with absolutely no work completed. Please seriously think twice before using these cowboys!

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      05.06.2011 12:35

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      I had to visit the HQ of Brackenwood near Basingstoke as the quote I received differed from what was quoted when the rep called. Upon speaking to a senior member of staff, he was very aggressive, rude and threatening. Due to this experience I would never deal with Brackenwood as it appears when a problem arises they use 'bully boy' tactics to deal with customers. Very poor and a warning to all.

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      13.03.2007 00:17
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      A local supplier who you feel can be trusted

      Around 12 years ago we moved south from Southport to our current home. The whole exercise was a traumatic experience. I have to admit that I left the house search very much to my wife. I trusted her judgement about the sort of place in which we could comfortably settle for, if not the rest of our lives, for the foreseeable future. The house she finally found, after many inspections, was the sort that just immediately know is right. I felt that too as soon as I saw it.

      The house wasn't old, about 11 years when we moved in and so it was with some surprise that it did not already have double glazed windows and doors. Actually, that wasn't quite true, it did have two sets of patio doors that were double-glazed, as was the back door. I addition, the family room windows had had secondary double glazing fitted.

      We had thought about getting the windows replaced several times, especially during those increasingly less frequent really cold winters. The reason we held off was that there was actually nothing wrong with the windows other than that they were single-glazed. The quality of the wood of the frames was very good with absolutely no signs of rot. Also, they were stained rather than painted, which I really like. Every house we have had has either been like this or else I have done the work myself to strip the windows and stain them.

      Of course, they do take quite a bit of maintenance, especially bearing in mind that we have 14 large windows. Even the best stain (I have been using Sadolin recently) only last just so long despite what it says on the tin. Still, the maintenance usually only consists of a light rub down and a fresh coat of stain. The windows at the back of the house are the ones that need the most frequent attention as they face south and so feel the full force of the sun and heat that seems to be our weather these days.

      However, after 12 years of the annual trek up the ladder I was coming to the opinion that there were better ways to spend my time, especially at my age. At about this time my wife started suggesting that it might be a good idea to have a porch built at the front door, in order to prevent heat loss from the hall. The front door is on the north side of the house and so is naturally colder. It was obviously time to consider double-glazing companies.

      Of course, double-glazing companies are a dime a dozen. Every other unsolicited phone call is from a double-glazing company trying to get you to agree to an appointment with one of their salesmen who is “currently in your area” and “looking for homeowners who will agree to be showhomes for our windows”. We made appointments with couple (Anglian and Everest) so as to get a feel for the sort of deals that were on offer. We even met with a couple of their salesmen but we immediately recognised the same old routine. They all started off with a simply ridiculous offer and then by dint of “special offers” and “discounts for immediate orders” got the price down to the sort of level that anyone with a real understanding of what motivates their potential clients would have started with anyway.

      I was passing through Frimley Green one day and happened to notice a shop that had a display of windows and doors and noticed that the name over the shopfront was Brackenwood Windows. This was not a company of which I had previously heard but I was sufficiently curious to want to find out more. I discovered that they have a website (http://www.brackenwood.com/) and there I learned that they are a local company to us with head offices in Basingstoke.

      Figuring that one more quotation would do any harm we phoned them to ask for one of their representatives to come and see us. The salesman couldn't have been more different to all of the others we had seen. Not pushy, very patient, willing to work out the price of various options and finally, producing a quotation that all the others hadn't matched despite all their discounts. You got the feeling that this was someone you could trust; a trustworthy double-glazing salesman; now there's a novelty.

      We wanted the installation to be completed before Christmas but apart from that there was no particular requirement that we needed to be met. In return for a discount (the only one offered) we were prepared to allow Brackenwood to choose the dates when the work would start.

      But, before we were prepared to sign the order we asked who we could speak to about work they had done for other clients so we could examine the quality of their product and craftsmanship. It turned out that several other householders in our road had all had work done by Brackenwood and I was given the house numbers. The salesman made no effort to persuade us to talk to anyone in particular and left it to us to decide who to interview.

      I took a look at all of the houses but unfortunately, none of them exactly matched our requirements; all of them were done in white uPVC. There was one thing that we certainly weren't going to have and that was white. However, all of the work that had been done looked to be done with professionalism and good quality. I called on one house at random and the houseowner was willing to talk about his experiences with Brackenwood.

      The first thing that gave me confidence was that the houseowner had stated that he would have no qualms about using Brackenwood again. He was happy with the quality of the work that they had done although he admitted that it hadn't all gone entirely without problems. However, he did confirm that all of the mistakes and inadvertent damage had been dealt with without any quibbles. Even relatively minor issues were corrected without question. That sounded good.

      We then visited Brackenwood's Head Office and showrooms in Basingstoke. Here they have on display all sorts of examples of the sorts of installations that they do. You can inspect the various styles of windows, doors and conservatories (to give us ideas for our porch). What we discovered, though, was that they were unable to give us exactly what we wanted. What we were looking for was window frames where the outside was chestnut whilst the inside was light oak. All of the existing inside woodwork in the house is light wood not dark and so we were really looking for a matching finish on the inside.

      Brackenwood are unable to supply this design although we know that there are companies who do. What Brackenwood said they could do is to apply a colour matching what we were looking for by a special process. Whilst this might give us the colour finish for which we were looking, the process leaves the internal surfaces completely smooth and really not looking anything like a wood finish. The base chestnut window frame has a simulated woodgrain texture that would have been lost once recoloured.

      We looked at several pictures of houses with chestnut frames inside and out and many also had light wood internal fittings, such as kitchen unit, just as in our house, and we agreed finally that the difference in colours didn't look out-of-place. Reluctantly though we decided to change our order to specify chestnut frames inside and out. Pity really but the best solution in the final analysis. Still, it did save us some money.

      Our original intention was to have the windows the way the originals were. The larger windows were divided into four panels with the end ones opening casements. The smaller ones were half of this, one fixed panel and one opening. However, as we reviewed the situation it was clear that for some windows, having any opening sections made no sense, for instance, on the upper landing where it was very difficult to get to the window anyway. So, a number we changed to all fixed panels. That saved us a bit more money.

      Lastly, we decided to have a leaded effect, which the originals didn't have. We saw in the Brackenwood showroom a design that we really liked and chose that. So having saved a load of money we then went and blew it all, well, perhaps not quite all.

      Finally the work went ahead. Brackenwood had indicated that they expected the whole project to take three days, including the construction of the porch. I must admit I thought that was ambitious but I assumed that they knew what they were talking about.

      A huge skip appeared on our drive, past which we could just about squeeze the cars. Piles of cement, sand and bricks also arrived. Work started on the porch, which would entail a full one metre depth concrete base plus a one third height brick wall to support the porch windows and new outer door. This work had been contracted out by Brackenwood, as they do with all such work for their conservatories. The guys doing the work indicated that in their opinion the base work on the porch should have been started long before as the recommendation was for it to have 28 days to settle before loading it with the weight of window panels and doors! Not a good start.

      As the work on the porch progressed the weather got worse and it started to pour. Not surprisingly, when the brickies started to lay the bricks they started having problems. The bricks that had been left out in the rain had got saturated and the mortar was turning to paste as the water leaked out of them. Eventually they had to give up and move all of the bricks into the garage for the night to dry out a bit. It was clear now that the three days for the work was not going to be met.

      Meanwhile the work on replacing the windows was pressing ahead. Our house is wood frame where the ground floor is faced in brick and the first floor faced in white uPVC horizontal slats. Inside the walls are all faced with dry lining plasterboard. Downstairs, removing the window frames was a straight-forward matter of unscrewing the opening casements and then sawing through the frames to take them out in bits. Whilst damage to the brickwork downstairs was unlikely, damage to the inner plasterboard was a danger. On the upper floor there was the additional danger of damage to the uPVC facing where it surrounded the window frames.

      In practice, all damage was kept to a minimum. All of the frames came out and the new ones went in with minimal damage to the surrounding fabric. Obviously it was impossible to prevent minor damage since the facings came right up to the frames both outside and in and so the mere act of levering them out of the building inevitably caused some breaking of the plasterboard edges and so on.

      Brackenwood's way of resolving this problem is to use various widths of plastic beading to frame the inside of the new windows, butting up against the new frame, glued onto the plasterboard and window sills. This effectively hides any damage whilst not proving unsightly. The beading is obviously a colour and style match to the windows themselves. Brackenwood use the minimum width necessary to do the job. The glue used to secure the beading is the sort of clear waterproof silicone sealant commonly used in bathrooms and kitchens.

      Outside, on the upper floor, a similar approach is used to hide any damage to the uPVC slats but, of course, white beading is used here, not chestnut. On the ground floor the finishing around the windows was finished with simple silicone sealer, like the type used to secure the beading inside but here used alone. The unfortunate problem was that quite obviously two different shades of sealant were used.

      Brackenwood stated that only one brand of sealant was used and that any difference in shades is the inevitable result of differences in batches. Sadly the differences are noticeable. One batch is a sort of chocolate colour whilst the other is much closer on colour to the chestnut colour of the frames. I haven't yet decided what to do about this. I have to say also that in places the window fitters were a bit “generous” with the sealant. It doesn't look exactly unsightly but I feel that a bit more care could have been taken.

      So, eventually all the work was done. It took a fair bit more than three days though, about double that before everything, including the porch, was completed. It was then that we started discovering all the mistakes. For instance, one, just one, double grazed panel had been made with a silver spacer instead of black! How could that happen? Like two of the panels in the front door had been leaded but the other two hadn't!

      However, give Brackenwood their due, there wasn't a single quibble about anything that we wanted repaired. Not only that but they agreed to us holding back part of the payment until it was. It did take some time and even then they didn't get the repairs right first time. For instance, one casement needed to be replaced because of damage to the outside of the frame. The first time they came to do the work they brought a replacement casement for the wrong side!

      Finally the work is all completed. I must admit that generally I am satisfied with the quality of the windows and the construction of the porch. There are a few things that may need to be revisited but for now we'll see how it goes. We have to wait at least eight weeks for the concrete base in the porch to complete dry out before we can tile it anyway. I'll probably wait until summer before I do anything.

      I have to say that Brackenwood has been fair and honest throughout the project. The windows are guaranteed for 10 years so only time will tell if they continue in the same vein should anything need to be addressed in future. For now I am happy that we chose Brackenwood. The exercise wasn't perfect but then what would be the assurance that any other supplier would have done better?

      UPDATE – November 2007
      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
      So, here we are, nearly a year later, and what's the verdict now? Well, we are still very satisfied with the quality of the windows and of the porch that was a part of the installation. Since they were installed there have been just two problems.

      The first problem was with the internal front door. In the last couple of months we started to notice that it was marking the hall carpet as the door was opened and closed. It appeared that the door had dropped a fraction on its hinges. The bottom edge of the door was always close to the carpet but there was enough of a gap that it didn't touch. No longer.

      The other problem was with the window frame finishing at the outer front door, which is a part of the porch. I had noticed after the installation work had been completed that an amount of sealant had been used between the uprights and the windowsill. After considering this for some time, just to be sure that this really was something with which I was unhappy, I decided to see if I could reduce the unsightly appearance by removing some of the sealant. It became immediately obvious that the reason for the abundance of sealant was to cover up the fact that the finishing panels had been cut too short.

      I reported both of these problems to Brackenwood and even sent them a photo of the problem with the porch. They came out to inspect and agreed that the problem was one that was down to their installers and agreed to correct both problems without charge. The work was completed a couple of weeks later and is now entirely satisfactory.

      Brackenwood had given me assurances that any problems would be corrected without question when we originally placed our order with them and they have been as good as their word. What more can you ask for?

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