Selecting new or replacement windows can often be an overwhelming experience; there’s so much to choose from. Not only do you need to consider materials and window style but you’ll need to keep in mind building regulations and planning permissions.
Additionally new technology has advanced considerably and a set of windows can make your home considerably more energy efficient; so you’ll need to watch out for these options too.
If this all sounds like a lot to think about, why not take a look at our simple and easy guide to choosing the right windows for your home?
1. Do I Need to Consider Planning Permission/Building Regulations?
Guiding the way our towns, cities, and countryside’s develop planning permission ensures that the use of land and buildings take into account appearance and landscaping. For repairs, maintenance, and minor improvements planning permission is not needed. And the same is said for new windows and doors that are of a similar appearance to those used in the original construction of your house.
Building regulations on the other hand are a set of standards concerning the construction and design of buildings to ensure the health and safety of people in those buildings. These regulations apply to all replacement glazing and must take into consideration guidelines such as thermal performance, safety, air supply, means of escape, and ventilation. If you’re still a little confused we have an entire blog post detailing planning permissions and building regulations; take a look.
2. Choosing the Right Materials
The most commonly used materials for new and replacement window frames are uPVC, aluminium and composite. Each offer their own advantages and your choice here will purely be a result of personal preference.
Unplasticised Poly Vinyl Chloride, or uPVC is perhaps the most widely used residential window framing material in the UK, featuring in 80% of our homes. This ‘fit and forget’ solution is often wrongly perceived as an environmentally unfriendly option and as a result manufacturers are working hard to improve their reputation by using recycled plastic.
Requiring minimal maintenance from a homeowner, uPVC windows are an easy to care for and cost-effective solution. They even promote energy and thermal insulation ensuring that you don’t see a negative impact on your household bills.
Having gained popularity in the 20th century due to its aesthetically pleasing design and slim lines, aluminium frames are an excellent option. Like uPVC these frames are low maintenance and despite their appearance are extremely durable. Aluminium, boasting a high strength to weight ratio, also offers thermal properties available in A, B, and C rated forms.
Gaining popularity composite frames usually consist of a timber frame with an exterior cladding to ensure a durable product with a low-maintenance finish.
Composite frames are an excellent choice for conservation areas, historic houses, and those wishing to add character to a property without the costly and time-consuming disadvantages of timber. The energy efficient frames retain an original timber look, without distorting in wet weather whilst showcasing the benefits of a modern material. You can even choose from a host of authentic timber colours and finishes.
3. Selecting Your Glass
Okay, so the choice is a little more limited when it comes to choosing your glass but it is still an important consideration for both replacement and new windows.
Single-pane glass is certainly outdated and in the majority of situations it is only suitable in very mild climates and potentially outbuildings. When choosing new windows, this isn’t really an option and for those who currently possess homes with single-glazed windows could hugely benefit from a change.
Double-glazing on the other hand creates an effective barrier against both heat and noise. This largely popular option consists of two panels of glass sandwiched between the outer and inner frame where a void between the two panes is filled with Argon gas acting as an insulator. Not only will your energy bills improve but you’ll even notice a reduction in outside noise due to its particularly decent sound proofing qualities.
Secondary-glazing is yet another option for replacement, repairs, and new windows. Like double-glazing this option is particularly suited to flats, houses, and commercial premises requiring both noise and thermal insulation where an extra single glazed window is fitted inside the original. You should consider secondary-glazing when a property style means that more modern replacement windows are inappropriate or in fact not allowed.
Don’t Forget To Consider Energy Efficiency
As you consider what type pf glass is the ideal option for you don’t forget to check the ratings from The British Fenestration Rating Council (BFRC) who run a scheme assessing how well windows retain heat. This is measured on a scale of A to E where the higher the rating the more efficient your glazing promises to be. You’ll also be advised on additional factors including the ability to keep wind out, to resist condensation, and improve sound insulation.
Finally, don’t forget to look out for Low Emissivity (Low-E) which offers an invisible coating of metal oxide on one of the internal panes allowing in light but further reducing heat loss.
4. Pick a Style
Choosing the style of your window not only comes down to personal preference and desired aesthetics but often to the practicality of space.
Casement Windows pivot on hinges which are located at the sides of a window frame. Essentially opening up like a door this style can offer an unobstructed view along with a more contemporary modern look.
Bay and Bow Windows are used in a number of varying architectural settings adding a dramatic extension to your home. Bay designs combine 3 window panes of varying widths to accentuate the view and bring in additional light. Offering similar results bow windows differentiate simply by composing of 3 or more windows joined at equal angles to form a more even curve.
Sliding window style consists of one fixed and one moveable sash that slides open and shut horizontally. This is an excellent choice for windows overlooking difficult to reach areas.
Single Hung windows allow the bottom sash to move open whilst the top sash is fixed. Like sliding windows this is a great option for rooms facing walkways or patios where space is limited.
5. The Final Step: Get in Touch
Having made it to the end of our short guide you’ll either know exactly what you want or require a little bit more help and advice. So either way it’s a perfect time to get in touch with out knowledgeable and experienced team who can help you with repairs, replacements, and new windows. Give us a call at Crystal Clear on 0117 9717 880 for more information on all of our products and services.