When buying new windows, you’ll no doubt lean toward a design that complements the exterior and interior aesthetics of the property. Aside from looking great, though, it’s vital to remember that these windows need to function well in order to meet a number of practical demands.
Here are six things to consider when buying new windows.
The material of the window frames is a good place to start. You’ll need something hardwearing that promises longevity, while also providing adequate insulation to the property. For this, nature has the perfect solution in its timber, a strong, organic product that is able to outlive manufactured uPVC by almost double. Not only does timber look stunning, but its standards far exceed regulatory building standards in Britain.
Traditionally, hardwood was considered the best material to manufacture windows with but advances in technology and manufacturing techniques mean that that is no longer the case.
Engineered timber is a material that lends itself very well to window frames, boasting a far superior performance than solid timber can offer and much more environmentally friendly. The manufacturing process of engineered timber is what makes it so strong – sections of wood are layered together then compressed, bonded, and laminated, with the most durable materials (such as Accoya) on the outer-exposed areas.
The positioning of windows can drastically change both interior and exterior aesthetics. From a planning perspective, beyond deciding upon the way in which the windows will look (and in turn how the entire building will look!), is how they will affect the way in which light enters the space, and whether this lighting is appropriate for the purpose of the room.
Once the arrangement of windows has been confirmed, the design needs to be considered. For maximum impact on a building where windows will all be uniform in size, different styles and features can be applied, such as changes to the finish, glazing bars, leading or glazing.
Particularly for older buildings that require replacement sash and Georgian windows, take notice of the small details as they can ruin an otherwise sympathetic restoration of a historic building’s exterior. We offer a specialist product that features slimline glazing and a slightly deeper glazing bar, giving the appearance of traditional single glazing despite actually being a double glazed unit and having all of the associated benefits of contemporary windows.
Quality glazing is imperative to good window design, and there are numerous contributing factors that will help to define this. It’s common knowledge that double-glazed, or even triple-glazed windows will provide the property owner the potential to reduce their energy bills, significantly so if they are replacing old, single-glazed units.
When considering thermal efficiency, It’s also important to look out for low-emissivity (low-e) glass, as this will dramatically reduce heat transfer by reflecting interior heat back into the room. Another popular option is solar glass, which works to keep heat out during summer months, as well as reducing glare and UV light.
Some windows are made using laminated glass which can reduce noise, making for a popular choice in urban areas, and improve security performance. Another popular option is toughened glass which is around four times stronger than regular glass, and also safer if broken, shattering into cubes of glass as opposed to the sharp, dangerous shards of regular glass.All of Westbury’s glazing units use toughened glass.
Product sustainability is another important consideration when purchasing new windows. An eco-friendly product ensures minimised wastage and a reduced carbon footprint, which is a real boon for adding value to a property. One such material that offers superb sustainability is Accoya®, a fast-growing, readily available wood that provides compelling environmental advantages over sparse, slow-growing hardwoods and non-renewable carbon-intensive materials such as plastics, concrete, and steel.
Despite technically being a softwood, Accoya® is a Class 1 timber meaning it is as durable as wood can be, performing as well, or even better than hardwood in terms of durability. If that’s not convincing enough, Accoya® is also incredibly dimensionally stable, meaning it won’t swell, shrink, twist or warp. It, therefore, preserves its appearance for much longer than other woods, and will require less maintenance over time, which is great news for the property owner.
Windows are one of the most important aspects to consider when it comes to securing a property and can be measured on their security performance by testing them to PAS24 standards.
PAS24 is a nine stage, UKAS accredited, mechanical and physical attack designed to imitate a break-in. Pistons, chains and a sandbag-style wrecking-ball are used to strike, push and pull the window, and following that, a person armed with several tools attempts to force entry.
The PAS24 test, amongst other measures, contributes to Part Q, the security building regulation relating to preventing unauthorised access.Currently Part Q is only applicable to new build homes (or new dwellings where a building has changed its use to residential). However, existing homes have less stringent security measures so windows and doors don’t have to be of the same standard.
All Westbury windows and doors meet new build standards and far exceed the standards required for older homes due to their engineered wood manufacture, robust screws and fastenings, and multi-point locking systems.
6. Tailor made
The final consideration is perhaps the most important – how are your windows made? Is each product a run-of-the-mill job, straight off the shelf, with no real guarantee of performance? Or has it been bespoke made to your project, crafted to the highest quality, encompassing the best features for a proven result?
Bespoke windows may be a more expensive option than those off the shelf, but as with most products, you do get what you pay for. A bespoke item has been made to the specifications of your project, not only in terms of measurement, but also in design and function. This quality really will speak for itself, and is something that mass-produced windows cannot even come close to.
If you’re looking to buy new windows for a building project and you’d like any further advice or suggestions, don’t hesitate to contact us or visit our showroom and workshop to take a closer look at what we do.