Deciding on the right windows for your home

How to decide on the right style, material, colour, make and opening system of new windows in your home is a tough decision and can make or break the look of your home.

If you’re building a new home, or even carrying out an extensive refurbishment of an old one, the type of window design you go for can make or break the look of a property. With refurbishment you obviously have the benefit of knowing the design, style and colour of the existing windows you are looking to replace, but with new and improved building regulations in place, your new windows will need to be double glazed which, certainly with period windows, will effect the thickness of glazing bars and frames.

With homes that are listed, the listed buildings officer may not even allow you to upgrade your single glazed windows to double glazing because they are so concerned that the look of the outside of the building will change too much. Personally, I think this is madness when we should be improving the thermal standards of all buildings and when glass technology has improved so much there are ways of having thin double glazing systems. One of my favourite glazing products on the market for replacing glass in period homes is ‘Pilkington Spacia’ glass, which is the world’s first commercial vacuum glazing and is so incredibly thin you can keep the original appearance of a period building while greatly reducing heat loss. For new build homes you have the greatest choice of windows ever available in the UK market. They can be made from timber (great to get that warmer more natural look in a building), aluminium (really high performance windows but the downside is that they often have a thick frame), steel, (my favourite steel windows are Crittall windows which have a great history, are beautifully made with a thin frames and glazing bars) Glass-Reinforced Plastic (GRP is a composite material or fiber-reinforced polymer made of a plastic reinforced by fine fibers made of glass) and then you have the budget cost UPVC window, which should really be the last choice of window in any type of building! There are so many things to consider when choosing your new windows from make, style, colour, thermal performance, frame size, number of glazing bars, even to how they open and what ironmongery you specify, so take your time to get it right.

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