There are a whole host of things to consider when choosing new windows, but this should not deter you from going ahead with a home-improvement project that offers many benefits.
Long term decision:
Quality windows and frames installed by approved and experienced professionals offer an interior that is more comfortable to live in, an exterior that adds to the property’s appeal and appearance and gives value-add in terms of property value.
While cost is an obvious consideration, it is important to remember that the windows and frames you decide on should be viewed as a long-term decision.
Many of today’s windows come with 10-year guarantees, but quality windows and frames coupled with installation by experienced, qualified professionals can extend this life for decades.
The style of window chosen should reflect and enhance the period and style of your home. It should also be practical in terms of functionality.
There are three types of materials used as window frames:
- PVCu – This is the most commonly used material. It offers excellent insulation qualities and functions effectively to keep heat in and sound out. High quality, high grade PVCu is a sturdy choice providing strong security. Once installed it is long lasting and requires minimal maintenance. This material has been in use for more than three decades and is the most popular window replacement choice.
- Timber and wood – Anyone looking for classic windows that will certainly add to the charm of a house should consider timber and wooden framed windows. As well as being aesthetically pleasing they prevent interior heat loss, minimise external sound and are functionally efficient. Care is required to ensure these frames are kept in good condition. Periodic treatment to prevent rot, and occasional repainting is recommended, but as long as this type of frame is looked after it can last a lifetime.
- Aluminium – This is the least used material of the three. Homeowners opt for this sturdy frame due to its lightness and flexibility. Because aluminium is easily manipulated it is a good choice for homes with unusual shape windows. It requires little maintenance and comes in at the low-end of window frame prices. One noticeable drawback is its reduced energy efficiency.
The type of glass used is also a factor in terms of overall appearance, heat retention, and external noise reduction.
Although there are three main choices of glazing it is possible to request a specific glass type of your choice. These include decorative and patterned glass, low emissivity glass that allows additional sunlight into the interior, and self-cleaning glass which could be a godsend to many!
- Double glazing: This consists of two panes of glass with space in-between. Benefits of double glazing include heat retention during cold months and insulation against strong sun rays during the warmer months. Outside noise is effectively reduced and condensation build-up is minimised.
- Triple glazing: As the name suggests, 3 panes of glass per window will be installed. Triple glazing offers the lowest U-Value and is therefore the most environmentally friendly glazing option. It is also the most effective in terms of heat loss reduction and those living in cold climates will appreciate its impressive heat insulation effectiveness.
- Secondary glazing: This process provides an additional extra framed glass, often termed as a ‘second window’, to your existing frames. Homeowners whose biggest concern is reducing outside noise will certainly benefit from secondary glazing. Some of these units can reduce sound by up to 90%. Because existing windows do not need replacing this installation is generally less time consuming and costs less than full replacement.
Selecting the right supplier is crucial:
Take time over this decision. Visit several showrooms, look at portfolios of completed projects and check membership of regulatory bodies such as FENSA. Committed installers will provide information and offer suggestions. They will give clear, written quotations and projected timescales for completion.
Of the many things to consider when choosing new windows, the company you entrust with this project is key to satisfaction and peace of mind.