There is such a large variety of different windows around that picking the ideal ones can be a tricky task. However, it is vital to get windows that suit you and your home so they’re worth the time and money.
There are two main things that you have to choose when picking new windows: material and style. You should also check whether you have to get planning permission before installing new windows in your property.
Keep reading to learn more about window materials, styles and planning law.
1. Choose the material
uPVC, wood and aluminium are the most common window frame materials. Different materials usually suit different buildings and people.
uPVC tends to be the cheapest window material. It is also low-maintenance, durable and long-lasting. uPVC is a good insulator, so is energy-efficient and will help to reduce your energy bills. It comes in multiple colours and finishes – so white isn’t your only choice.
On the other hand, uPVC does have disadvantages. It can get brittle when it gets old and is not biodegradable, so isn’t particularly environmentally-friendly. uPVC can also appear cheap when compared with other materials and may look out of place in period properties.
Wood is another choice when you’re looking for a frame material. It’s environmentally-friendly, as it can be recycled, and long-lasting. Wood is very energy-efficient, so is good for keeping buildings warm. It looks particularly good in period properties and can often look higher-quality than uPVC.
However, wood has its disadvantages. It can crack, rot or warp out of shape, so needs more maintenance than uPVC. Wood frames also cost more than uPVC frames.
Aluminium is also a popular material. It is long-lasting, like uPVC and aluminium. It is also durable and low maintenance. Many people decide to use aluminium because it is versatile; it comes in many different colours and is suitable for all sizes and shapes of window.
However, aluminium has its downsides. Bad quality aluminium isn’t very energy-efficient, so you need to ensure you get the right type. Aluminium can also be very expensive, so isn’t the best choice if you have a tight budget.
2. Pick your style
There are many different window styles available. What you pick depends on the look you want and how you’re going to use your windows. Some of the most popular styles are:
Casement windows are a very popular style. They hinge on one side and are available in both singles and pairs. Pairs hinge on the sides furthest away from each other and share a frame. You can find casement windows in lots of properties in uPVC, wood and aluminium.
Awning windows open outwards and hinge at the top. They tend to be fairly small and are installed above casement windows. People often get awning windows because, as they are relatively small, you can open them to let air into a room without losing too much heat.
Sash windows are a relatively old window style. They were first used in the late 17th century and are typically found in Georgian and Victorian buildings. Sash windows open at the bottom and slide up horizontally.
3. Check planning law
Before you fit the windows that you want, ensure you check to see if you need to apply for planning permission. If you want to replace your current windows with similar-looking ones, you don’t normally need planning permission. But if your property is listed or on designated land you may need to apply for planning permission. For more information, see our article on window planning permission.