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Double Glazing – Styles and Materials

Styles and Materials
The Benefits
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Some general advice

PVC-U Windows & Doors (also referred to as upvc, pvc, pvcu)Although your budget needs to be taken care of when purchasing new windows, it is of great importance to install plenty of opening windows. Imagine it being summer and you’re not able to open your windows. Have a look at the amount of opening windows you have at the moment and try to have a similar amount of opening windows installed.

Make sure you get the best locks you can afford. Ask what comes as a standard with the windows of your choice and then check whether you can upgrade to a better quality locking system. Shoot bolt or SAC bolt locking systems are generally advised for added security and security chains fixed to doors might at to your safety. Also adding options like fire escape hinges will improve the quality of your windows.

If you live in a conservation area always check with your council first before you replace your window. You might have to replace your windows ‘like-for-like’ to preserve the general look of your road. It is also likely they will require you to use timber / hardwood windows rather than PVC-U. If your home is a listed building similar rules will apply.

Which material and what style to choose?

These days there are a lot of designs of windows on the market that it is difficult to decide which one will look good on your home. And which material to go for? The decision will be based on your preferences, taste and pocket. But the council has something to say about it too…

The materials available

Which material and what style to choose?PVC-U Windows & Doors (also referred to as upvc, pvc, pvcu)

PVCu double-glazing is nowadays one of the most popular choices for replacement windows. They are virtually maintenance-free, excellent value and come in various styles and designs. Even wood grain can be imitated and several colours are available. These big advantages have caused a major surge in double-glazing suppliers.

There are a few technical points that can be addressed if you are interested in PVCu windows. Windows can come fully welded or mechanically fixed. Fully welded is usually preferred as there will be no risk of the fixings splitting. Another technical issue is whether the window will be internally or externally beaded. It is generally accepted that internally beaded windows are less easy to break into, making your house more secure.

Make also sure you check whether the frames you choose are steel or aluminium reinforced. This will improve the strength of the window, as PVCu has the tendency to expand in south-facing windows.

Aluminium Windows and DoorsAluminium Windows and Doors

Aluminium windows have been pushed into the background a bit over the last few years because of the surge of PVCu window suppliers. But aluminium has a whole set of advantages of its own. The windows can be made with very slim intersections that are strong and will not twist. It only has around a third of the expansion of PVCu, making it a very rigid construction.

Just like PVCu it is a virtually maintenance free option, but the insulating capacities of aluminium windows are not as good as PVCu. The windows are also more expensive than the PVCu option.

Timber Windows

Timber windows give your home that traditional feel. These windows are usually especially made by a joiner and the costs are therefore usually higher than for PVCu windows. Timber windows however can be painted in every colour under the sun. But the biggest advantage is that virtually any design can be made, which is a great way to improve the look of your home and which is especially of advantage when the look of your home needs to be preserved, for example when you live in a conservation area or own a listed building.

Timber WindowsTimber windows can be made in pine, cedar and different species of hardwood, of which hardwood is the strongest option. Admittedly this type of windows will need more maintenance than the PVCu ones, but nowadays paints and varnishes make sure keeping your timber windows in top condition is easy.

Make sure you choose the best quality timber you can afford and that secure joints are being used. The ‘mortice-and-tenon’ joint is the most popular of joints and don’t be afraid to ask for specifications of a technical nature, as it will make you understand how your windows work.

In order to get the best draught-proof windows, make sure draught-proof strips are being used.

Which style?

It is important to understand the effect different styles of windows can have on your property. The best way to get an idea is to have a wander around your local neighbourhood and look at the different styles that are incorporated in people’s homes. Some houses will for example have white PVCu units, others might have the wood grain effect options, while some might have chosen leaded windows or kept the wooden box sash windows that might have been installed originally. Check it out and make your choice.

There are a few things you need to look out for. Be careful not to overdo it on the leaded window option. Most houses only have leaded windows in the downstairs windows, balancing it out more than having the all-over leaded window treatment. Unless you live in a listed building in which the leaded windows have been put in traditionally, it will not look good.

If you are looking for a specific design, one material might be more suited than the others. For example, sash windows often look better when they are done in timber.

Image Credits: Nuglas, Dial a Conservatory


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