We believe we can help you make the right decisions when it comes to planning for new windows, doors, or a conservatory so that you invest in home improvements that will keep you safe, warm, and happy for many years to come. That’s why we’ve created this comprehensive guide to help you understand everything you’ll need to know.
What you should understand when planning for new windows, doors, or a conservatory
Historically, windows, doors and conservatories were made using timber. As time went on, we saw the introduction of aluminium and uPVC. These are the 3 most popular material choices for windows, doors, and conservatories today and each comes with its own features and benefits. The material you opt for will depend on what your own personal wants and needs are. You can find out more about which material will suit you the most by discussing the options with an installer.
Timber: Timber is innately insulating, sustainable, and offers the traditional charm and beauty of natural wood grain. Although timber offers a multitude of benefits, it is usually the more expensive material choice.
Aluminium: Aluminium is inherently strong, meaning slimmer frames can hold larger panes of glass. This makes aluminium the ideal choice for bifold doors or homeowners looking to create a contemporary aesthetic.
uPVC: uPVC is the UK’s most popular choice of material for windows, doors, and conservatories and it’s not hard to see why either; it’s low maintenance, secure, can be recycled and is usually inexpensive.
Advances in manufacturing technology means that modern windows, doors, and conservatories offer better performance than ever before. Whichever material you choose, your new home improvements will improve security, strength, and energy efficiency in your home.
There are quite a few types of glazing to consider, but we’ve decided to cover the features of the two most popular types of glazing.
The minimum standard for new windows and the most popular choice. Double glazing is one of the most effective ways to improve the insulation of a home, creating a warm and comfortable living environment. In a double-glazed window, two panes of glass are joined by a spacer bar. The gap between the panes traps warm air, slowing the escape of heat from a building. In addition, the best windows introduce an inert gas, such as argon, between the two panes which further limits the movement of cold air.
In the UK, all new buildings must include at least C rated double glazed windows as standard, but many companies are offering double glazing that can achieve an A or even A+ rating.
Triple glazing contains a third pane of glass, creating an extra cavity which traps warm air and reduces heat loss through the sealed unit. Triple glazed windows are better at retaining heat generated within the home.
A question we receive a lot is “Is triple glazing really any better than double glazing?” Triple glazing is more thermally efficient, offering the highest window energy ratings. For some properties, triple glazing isn’t high priority, but it will improve heat retention for colder rooms that are north facing.
There are many options regarding locks, offering varying levels of safety and security. Each manufacturer will have different security options on their windows, doors and conservatories and will be able to walk you through the standard options and the optional security extras.
The more points that can be locked, the more secure your windows and doors will be. This is called a multi-point locking system. There isn’t a standard number of mechanisms, but if you can find a window/door that has eight or more locking points, you have yourself an incredibly secure window and/or door.
Another thing you may want to discuss with an installer is what security certifications their products have, such as being PAS 23/24 accredited from Secured by Design, or a BSI certification.
It’s the job of the double glazing in your windows, doors, and conservatory to retain the heat in your home. Improvements in energy saving technology is arguably one of the most significant developments over the past few years, not just for the environment but for home comfort and money savings, too.
Up to a third of heat in the home is lost through single glazing. By upgrading to energy efficient windows, you can save around 20% in energy use. Thermally efficient windows are at least double glazed, with low emissivity glass and an inert and non-toxic insulating gas like Argon between the panes.
Combined with energy efficient frames, new double-glazed windows can achieve an A+ Window Energy Rating.
Questions you should be asking before going ahead with new windows, doors, or a conservatory
Now that you know what to look for in your new windows, doors, and conservatory, we advise you have a think about your design preferences, the project requirements, and the impact on your home, before actively seeking to buy. To help narrow down your search, we’ve put together the following questions to ask yourself:
Q. Do I really need to replace my windows and/or doors?
Q. What colour scheme will help set my home apart?
A. Modern windows, doors, and conservatories are available in the largest range of colours and you’re not limited by the material you choose. Heritage tones are surging in popularity at the moment, including Chartwell Green, Cream Woodgrain and Anthracite Grey.
If you need more help choosing a colour scheme, ask your installer for advice tailored to your property.
Q. How do I know if an installer is any good?
A. There are many industry renowned federations and bodies who take great efforts to ensure that the best window companies are easily identified. The main ones to look out for are GGF, BFRC, FENSA, Conservatory Association, TGO and BBA.
A long trading history and good reputation are good indicators of a good installer. Focus on the company’s reviews and satisfaction ratings. Ask to see examples of recent work, including customer testimonials and installation pictures, to make sure they are confident with undertaking similar projects to yours.
Q. Should I go for a traditional or contemporary design?
A. Unless your house has a legal obligation to retain its appearance, it’s your choice. Many people choose a traditional design to fit with their home’s appearance, but in some circumstances modern, slim frames can actually enhance the aesthetics of a property.
If you’re totally stuck or need some advice, talk to your installer.
Q. Do I live in a conservation area?
A. You may have come across the term conservation area before. Conservation areas are in place to protect architectural and historical buildings or places of interest and are more common for properties built before the turn of the 20th century. However, it’s always worth checking before going ahead with any home improvements. Homeowners who go ahead without planning permission may be required to pay again for a more sympathetic upgrade.
You can find out if you live in a conservation area by contacting your local planning authority, or local council.
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