How to select the right windows for your home. Choosing your windows is one of the biggest decisions you have to make when carrying out a new build, renovation or extension. Windows are one of the biggest expenses of a build. Making the correct decision can be overwhelming with all the different types, styles, colours, etc. At JEArchitecture we help our clients with these choices when specifying their windows for their project. Here are a number of different factors we consider to help you make your decision:
What type of building do you have or want, traditional or modern? The windows finish will need to be in keeping with the style of the building.
Experts say that up to 25% of heat is lost through a property’s windows. As the windows will contribute to the overall building performance, you will need to consider performance ratings and Building Regulation requirements for windows.
Are there any planning requirements? If the building is listed or Conservation area, you will need to consider this in the window style.
This includes things such as the glazing requirements. Should the glazing be double-glazed or triple-glazed? Frosted, opague or tinted. Consideration must be given to security features that need to be incorporated, such as locks and access control.
Double or Triple glazing
How to choose between triple and double glazing.
Triple glazing offers great sound insulation, High durability and lifespan, More secure against break-ins, due to the added layer of glazing, Its extremely energy efficient and can help bring down the amount you spend on your energy bill. Its more expensive than double glazing.
Double glazing can be cheaper than triple glazing. It can reduce heat loss, most popular choice for households across the country. Very good at keeping noise out of your home. It less energy efficient than triple glazing and doesn’t last as long as triple galzing.
When deciding which material to use for your windows, it is also important to consider the environment and future. How sustainable is the material? Is it recyclable?
Different styles are casement, sliding, tilt and turn, sash, French, fixed, bay, hopper, hung etc.
You need to be mindful of areas of the property that are “well lived in” to allow for good ventilation. Different window types offer different types of ventilation. Trickle vents are always a good option to add to windows for ventilation.
Know the Orientation of the Sun Around the Property
JEArchitecture can design your project to ensure the correct windows are chosen for the various aspects of the property.
Budget is a key requirement. When calculating costs remember to look at the whole lifespan, as some window types will last longer than others.
Steel windows are a strong and secure option that also look great in a contemporary or period setting. They make a great option for homeowners looking for window frames that are secure, require very little maintenance and won’t need to be replaced for many years. They are, however, an extremely costly option and aren’t as thermally efficient as other types of windows so you will need to manage your budget carefully if these are your preferred choice. They meaning you will get more heat loss with this kind of glazing system than you would with other material choices. Steel is one of the most recycled materials so they are potentially a sustainable material.
Aluminium windows are another good option for modern sleek look. They are cheaper than steel windows and offer a number qualities such as low maintenance, more durable, longer lasting material, good thermal performance, large sizes with thin frames. Aluminium can be very versatile offering a number of different styles such as sliding systems, top-, side- and bottom-hinged windows, and bi-folding options. They are on the upper end of the price range. The slimmer the aluminium frame the more expensive the windows will be. Aluminium windows have high thermal conductivity, so they don’t hold heat very well. They may have the problem of condensation, which is linked to their high thermal conductivity. Moisture can lead to the growth of fungi, leading to health issues, especially for allergy sufferers.
Alu Clad windows consist of an aluminium cladding exterior and a wooden interior. The aluminium exterior provides additional protection to minimise maintenance such as painting or varnishing every 5-10 years with timber windows. The interior consists of timber for both added aesthetics and performance your windows & doors are protected from the harsh elements while your interior maintains a beautiful design making them an attractive option to people. They also offer great thermal qualities. They are more expensive than timber windows and do have height and width restrictions for larger glazing, such as floor to ceiling sliding doors. They are similar in cost to aluminium, but because of the internal timber finish you won’t be able to achieve a slimline frame.
UPVC is the most cost effective option. UPVC is not an insulating material but the better quality windows will have insulation built into the frame. A well-constructed, properly installed UPVC window can be a practical choice budget-wise, while still offering excellent energy efficiency measures through insulated glass and tight construction that reduces air leakage. Frames are lightweight, durable and resistant to pollution. Need little maintenance with only regular cleaning.
UPVC windows frames can become discoloured as a result of exposure to the sun. They can look plain and unstylish, and may not be suitable for listed buildings or those within conservation areas. They are a great option if you are looking for a cheaper option to timber.
Timber is a wonderful and versatile material for making window frames. They can be custom-made to any style making them a great choice for both contemporary and period homes. Here are 2 types of wood:
Softwood suitable for both contemporary and period-style homes. It is popular amongst those wanted timber on a limited budget. This wood can be stained but is usually painted. Douglas fir is very stable and durable softwood. Softwood windows require painting every few years.
Hardwood a slower growing type of wood and therefore has a tighter grain than softwood making them more stable and durable. Oak is the most popular and is often used on traditional-style homes. Hardwood promises a longer lifespan than softwood.
Timber windows have a natural insulating ability and they can be painted in any colour making them a popular choice.
Off-the-shelf styles will be more cost effective than a bespoke style. Typically, these windows are less expensive than Alu-clad, or metal windows but more expensive than UPVC so a good option for those working with a more restricted budget. Issues to bear in mind with timber windows are draughts or rattles if not installed properly and maintained. They need to be maintained to protect the wood. They can rot if left untreated. They are more susceptible to the outside environment, such as the weather, salt in the air can affect timber frames on properties built close to the sea.
To ensure you specify the most suitable style of windows, it is important to consider all of the benefits and limitations, while taking into account the requirements of the specific project. Factors such as the building design, building performance, planning, sustainability and budget. Seeking advice from an architect such as JEArchitecture can helps make the process less stressful.